By Ken Swann (November 28, 2014)

It has always been difficult for me to eat properly. Perhaps that’s because I really like to eat things that aren’t good for me. All kinds of things like cake, pie, chips, chocolate, candy, etc, etc, etc. And it’s always been like this for as long as I can remember.

What I used to really like to do was come home from work and immediately eat 1 or 2 pieces of cake followed by maybe some red licorice or candy until I felt like I was going to be sick. This little food frenzy would substitute for lunch and dinner more often than I am willing to admit, and if I came home with a box of fudgsicle, you can be sure they’d be gone before I went to bed that night.

It never seemed to be a problem when I was skinny, which I was for most of my life, but when I got a little older, and quit smoking, my eating began to have a different effect. My stomach was bigger now than it had ever been before, and I swore that every bit of sugar I ate was going directly to my gut and I just didn’t have a solution that seemed to work.

A story featured November 15, 2014 by Tara Deschamps (Toronto Star) entitled “Addiction argument opens door for food regulation, critics warn” talked about the new book by Dr. Vera Tarman and her hopes to change the stigma around overeating.

The author of “Food Junkies”, a book exploring food addictions, says plenty of medical professionals deny that food addiction exists because it does not come with withdrawal, but after battling with the disease herself Dr. Tarman believes food addiction is a reality that needs addressing now.

The diagnostic and statistical Manual of Mental Disorders say that for something to be considered an addiction one or more of the following factors must be present, loss of control, over use, continued use despite knowledge of harmful consequences, compulsion to use, craving, tolerance and withdrawal, Dr. Tarman says food addiction meets the requirements.

In “Food Junkies” Dr. Tarman says she’s exercised, used diet pills, spent thousands of dollars on Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, has tried weight loss herbs and ingested diuretics, laxatives and other substances to try and fight food addiction. Our eating has been out of control, we’ve often taken in enough calories in an hour to fuel a 200- pound male for days, she says in the “Food Junkies” preface, we have repeatedly tried and failed to tame our appetites and hopes her book can change the stigma around overeating.

Critics believe that if food addiction is recognized as an addiction it will open the doors for people trying to regulate food and put limits on the quantities you can buy.

So how did I contain my problem of overeating and eating the things I shouldn’t? The solution that worked well with me is to simply not have those foods in the house. Fact is if it’s there then I’m going to eat it, and if it’s not then I won’t. These days if you were to come over to my place for a visit the only foods you would find are fruit, nuts, cereal, and various things used for making lunches and dinners. No cake, no pie, no chips or candy allowed.

Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself about your eating habits. Have you ever wanted to stop eating something and found that you just couldn’t? Do you eat differently in private than you do with other people? Or have you ever felt shame or guilt from what you’ve eaten?

If so then maybe you, like me, may need to reassess what’s going on, make some changes, or maybe see a doctor in order to guide ourselves to that healthier lifestyle that we all seem to seek and want.