I have suffered from compulsive eating/food addiction for most of my life. I am highly susceptible to addictive substances and have had many addictions in my life including, drug, alcohol and cigarettes to name a few. Whilst I have managed to get clean and sober FOOD has had such a hold over me that it feels nearly impossible to give up. I was following a pretty strict food plan for about 9 months of no sugar, flour, sweetener of any kind, 3 meals daily and weighing and measuring my meals and this worked for a while I lost a fair bit of weight and found I enjoyed the structure and knowing my food was handled but I eventually started to binge and they started off mildly but got worse and worse to the point of thinking I was going to rupture my stomach. I decided to go off the plan I have seen ED therapist (who I honestly believe have no idea about food addiction) and on their suggestion tried to eat intuitively and allow myself all foods and supposedly that would make me not go overboard when I did eat those foods… well a couple of months in and I have regained ALL my weight and am constantly obsessed over food and want to eat all the time. I just can\’t seem to get back to my previous eating habits. So my question is what is your take on fasting for food addicts and is it a good way to help with the compulsiveness of always wanting something in your mouth and also to clear out the sugar and nasties that I have been ingesting because I go through serious withdrawal every time I give them up (Worse than my other drugs of choice but for less amount of time) Kind Regards KM
Hi Fasting for Food Addiction,
I can see that you have learned the hard way that after a stellar period of abstinence, one bite can lead to a binge that never seems to end. It is so discouraging to see the hard work of food sobriety and weight stability get lost to the ravages of food addiction.
Your experience of seeking out help in the ED (eating disorder field) is another sad lesson to us all – the tools for ED disorder are just not suitable for someone who suffers from food addiction. Moderation does not help; instead you must identify and quit the trigger foods – one day at a time – to achieve lasting success.
You ask if fasting can help the food addict. Intermittent fasting has become a fad diet for many people trying to lose weight. While I believe that fasting can be helpful as a medical intervention to manage chronic inflammation (arthritis) or diabetes, it should be done under the care of a medical clinician. Food addict beware! It is not a safe food regime without supervision. It is not the way to lose weight long term.
Fasting for the food addict can do more harm than good. Most of the benefits of fasting can be achieved by simply eating an abstinent food plan and is not usually necessary. Why? Eating abstinent food will lead to weight loss and better health, albeit more slowly. More important, food addicts get triggered by hunger since hunger spikes dopamine, and predisposes people to binge. It sets up a behaviour addiction (restricting and binging) on top of the food addiction already in place. It is not worth the danger it may put you in.
Please watch this podcast with me as I interview Bitten Jonsson (food addict specialist with the DietDoctor.com) on the subject of Intermittent Fasting.