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July 7, 2009 @ 10:27 am

The Nastiness of Food Addiction

Well, this is about the nastiness of my food addiction.  I can’t speak for anyone else’s.

So, I was talking to my therapist yesterday about cravings.  Not the physical kind of cravings that tend to fade somewhat when one begins to avoid excess sugars, but the emotional cravings that have driven my compulsive overeating for my whole adult life and a good part of my pre-adult life.

Therapist asked me what my cravings are like.  I said they are like a child who is constantly pulling at your sleeve or tapping you on the shoulder, saying, “Hey.  Hey.  Hey.  Look at me.  Pay attention to me.  Hey.  Hey.”

We talked about the fact that occasionally I crave very specific things, but that I usually I don’t really know what I’m craving, and that I have, on more occasions than I can count, just gone into the kitchen and eaten whatever I could find, and then something else, and something else, trying to find the thing that will finally satisfy me and make the child quiet.  We talked about how I’m actually aware that whatever it is I need or crave is not really food at all, but that if I eat enough, I’ll feel miserable and I’ll stop and the cravings will subside for awhile.

And, of course, the point would be to figure out what it is I really need or crave, but that’s much easier said . . .

And frankly, I’m tired.  I’m too tired to keep looking for answers.  I really am.


  1. Comment by kerro:

    Tamp, how very brave of you to share on this issue as well. Trust me when I say I know how hard this is.

    Don’t push for answers, let the issue sit and somehow the answers will magically emerge. Or so it goes for me sometimes.

    Take care and be kind to yourself during these difficult times.

    Much love to you.

  2. Comment by strangename:

    Tamp that had to be a hard session. I figured as much with all the hard work you have been doing. Now give yourself a little break…intellectualizing can easily lead to burn out! You take care of yourself…ok! (((Tamp)))

  3. Comment by lifeischange:

    Thanks, Kerro and SN. 🙂

    As you know (and as I will post here tomorrow), I did something kind for myself today.

    SN, the session wasn’t actually hard. It was very productive and gave me a lot to process, which is why I was pretty down for a little while, but now I’m seeing how productive it was. (I was actually going to use the phrase “food for thought” in there somewhere . . . )

  4. Comment by kate1975:

    Hi Tamp,

    I’m sorry that you deal with this. I have many food issues. I grew up with my mother and my older sister both having severe food addictions. So I have that as well and from the time I was very tiny I had a terrific fear of being out of control, eating, and being fat. Now I see how much of what they dealt with was allergy and tolerance related as well as food addiction. Which is an awful lot to deal with. I’m still trying to cope and find a way to be as kind to my body as possible and give it good foods.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


    • Comment by lifeischange:

      Thank you, Kate. Yes, there are so many layers to this, between issues with the types of foods I’ve been eating and the emotional issues that are woven into the mix. You’re right; it is a lot to deal with, for every one of us.

      I’m glad we’re talking about this.

  5. Comment by clickmom:

    As a fellow food addict I understand that craving so well. Someone explained food addiction to me once as a completely physical condition which had nothing to do with my will power or emotional health. If I am eating addictive foods I will crave them like mad. If my diet is clean, I will go about my day with out that addiction tugging at my sleeve demanding to be attended to. Funny to me that you pictured yours as a small child. I picture mine as an army drill sergeant yelling in my ear. “EAT IT! EAT IT!” Anyway, thank you for your honesty.

    • Comment by lifeischange:

      Thank you, clickmom.

      I personally see a distinction between physical cravings and food addiction (in the sense that I’m using the phrase), though they can certainly wreak havoc together!

      There is no doubt that many foods and ingredients do cause cravings and can be individually addictive, but I also believe that “food addiction” in the broader sense of the phrase is an emotional thing, though not everyone who battles cravings is a full-blown food addict.

      Eating healthier and avoiding foods that trigger cravings and other adverse reactions most definitely helps. For me, it helps to “weed out” the physical cravings from the emotional ones and makes it much easier to deal with the issues that need addressing.

      Thank you for sharing. I’m looking forward to checking out your blog. 🙂

  6. Ping from The Food Thing – Part 5: Spiralling out of control « Kerro’s Korner:

    […] days there are cravings, just as my friend Tampalama described: “a child who is constantly pulling at your sleeve or tapping you on the shoulder, […]


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