Food Addiction or something else?

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The age old question that many trainers get. . ."how do I get rid of my mid-section?". . .the age old trainer's answer. . ."daily exercise and monitoring your food intake".  Then the next statement usually sounds like this. . ."OK, so I workout 4+ times a week and I get great training tips from you but what ELSE can I do?".   That's when we want to throw our hands in the air and scream.  LOL!

No one wants to hear that food is the reason for their weight gain.  It has to be something else, right?  I am here to tell you, no.  Exercise and what you fuel your body with goes hand in hand. The body is very complex and when fed properly, it runs at it's best.   You may be caring a "fat gene" but you don't have to live with it.

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Food addiction is still a debatable topic with researchers in the health care and fitness industry.  Because an addiction is defined as a strong and harmful repeated action, many people believe that when you put the word food in front of addiction it  can be categorized just like sex, drug and alcohol addiction.  Well, not really.

As a trainer I see food addiction as a "title" to put the blame on something else.  A way to not take ownership of what you are doing to your body.  Having said that, I am sure there may be one or two cases that will argue my theory but not every obese American (over 35% of Americans) has an addiction.

After assessing a many of my clients, understanding what they are eating and why, it always comes back to something that has happened in their life. Usually an emotional event has put them in what I call "stress mode"  and the only thing that helps them feel better is a nice glass of wine and a cake. . .the entire cake.  

For some, being physically abused can definitely cause a person to overeat.  They believe that if they are overweight and less attractive, the abuse will stop.  Others have had a great loss in their life and the only way to cope is to immediately satisfy their taste buds.  Depression can definitely be a key factor in overeating and something you may not think about is your HABIT with food.  If you eat lunch everyday at 12:30PM, there may be times that you are not even hungry but by habit, you eat a meal anyway.  You get busy with a project and forget to eat. . .later, FOOD BINGE, BABY!  We all have something that triggers our taste buds.   

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It's not hard to add on the pounds and enjoy that extra cookie but it's SO DIFFICULT to get rid it later.  Understand it starts with what's going on in your head.  If you are an average American women, you think about your body image 8 times a day and 80% of us don't like our body image. That's what sparks our thoughts on food and if we are going to be good or indulge. 

 I am definitely not here to make you feel bad about eating food.  Like everyone else, I love food!  What I want you to be aware of is how amazing your body is and how you should take ownership of having "unhealthy eating habits".  Learn what is going on in your head that makes you want to overeat, what triggers it? Are you stressed out, have you lost someone in your life, are you depressed, bored OR on too many medications? Talk to your doctor and therapist.  

My mother recently got rave reviews from her doctor's visit last week.  Her blood pressure was normal, no signs of high cholesterol and her weight was under control. My mom is 65 years old and the age group that currently has the highest number of obese women are women over the age of 60.  

My mom was tired of taking pills to regulate her blood pressure and cholesterol levels. She started to walk more, cut out a lot of red meats and she spiked up her fruit and vegetable intake.  Oh and if you know my mom she ALWAYS has a 16oz bottle of water in her hand.  Bumping up her activity and eating better. . .she is living proof that healthy eating and exercise work!

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  • Exercise daily 30-60 minutes a day.  
  • Eat more fruits and vegetable with every major meal of the day.
  • Snack in between meals and make sure it's good stuff like nuts and dried fruit.   This will help you maintain smaller portions of food during each meal.
  • 8 glasses of water a day does the body goooood!  I swear by this because my mother did and my skin/hair agree!
  • Consult with your doctor before stopping any medication.  Don't take the risk! Have a discussion with your doctor or health care provider to make sure you are doing the right thing.  
  • Find a trainer who will motivate you to stick to a good workout program.  Your trainer should be able to customize a workout JUST FOR YOU.  It will be hard work but it will pay off.
  • Keep the mind busy by reading your favorite books, doing crossword puzzles and training your brain to stay positive (don't focus on the negative).  No matter what your situation, you can own what goes on in your head.
  • If anything, find the underlining issue for overeating.  Talk to a counselor, therapist or close (trustworthy and positive) friend; someone who is willing to fight the good fight with you.  

OK. . .I am done talking about food.  Good luck and if you have any questions or comments, let me know! Happy Eating.