Did you know that over 70 percent of the population of the United States is considered overweight or obese? When I realized this I started thinking about all the things that encourage food addiction. If you’ve been told you’re overweight or obese by a medical professional, there are some elements in our environment can be changed for the better to raise awareness and help us stop making the poor food choices that contribute to food addiction.
Advertisements: Regardless of where they come from, they are plentiful. Most of the time you don’t even realize you are the victim of an advertisement.
The Solution: Avoid them at all costs. I know it’s impossible to steer clear of every one of them, but some are within your control. You can limit your exposure to television ads by not watching it. A DVR is great for fast-forwarding through commercials. Out of sight, out of mind. There are far fewer food advertisements on our computers, tablets, and smartphones, so we are safer there. How about a new healthy recipe book for the kitchen? This will help keep your mind in the right place.
Activities: People who are in motion tend to stay in motion and are constantly busy doing things. If you’re bored and sitting around thinking of things to do, you are more likely to contemplate your addiction and end up feeding it. It just happens.
The Solution: Get involved! Time to get off the couch and join the gym, enroll in a Pilates class, sign up for a BYOB painting night, or just take a hike. Anything that involves getting out of the house and being physical or meditative will help you keep your mind off of food.
Friends: You are what you surround yourself with. Unhealthy friends will not be there to support you. They may try, but it’s impossible. If your friends are unhealthy junk food junkies, or not supportive, then you risk a situation of “if you can’t beat them join them.”
The Solution: Surround yourself with healthy, like-minded people. We all need friends who encourage and support us. It’s time to find friends who are doing the same things you are; this is a great way to start building a network of healthy, fun friends. Who knows, you might even meet your next husband or wife getting there.
Food: Let’s face it, food is unavoidable. It is sold everywhere you go, strategically positioned so you have no choice but to see it.
The Solution: First things first, get rid of all of the food in your house that is processed and high in sugar. Next we tackle the grocery store. When I go grocery shopping, I try to stick to the outer aisles of the store. The produce and meat sections are the other two places I spend my time. My number one rule is to never go shopping without a grocery list. Once I check off everything on the list, I pay and head home.
One of my favorite expressions is “out of sight, out of mind.” In this case, it’s something to live by. Soon you will find that you have little or no cravings for those sugary, salty, fatty foods that used to live in your cabinets.
Remember, it takes a good solid 30 days to make or break a habit. Be kind to yourself. You may have a few setbacks along the way. What’s most important is getting back on track and recognizing how healthy you feel when you are making good food choices for you and your family.