You are not just "weak" or "lazy". Food can be an ADDICTION.



  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    johunt615 wrote: »
    I will say one definition of an addict that was taught in alanon was:

    Any behavior that one continues to do that is harmful to themselves and/or others. (Its been years so paraphrasing)

    People define this down, though, and it's only part of it. If we took this too literally, nearly everything could be called addictive, as all of us do things we know we probably shouldn't, for short term pleasures, that are not beneficial in the long run. I routinely stay up too late and also routinely procrastinate. Those aren't addictions, they are bad habits or a failure to plan well. Lots of people probably watch TV when they should be doing other things or do risky activities or overspent or are habitually late, etc.

    IMO, overeating for most (including most obese) are in these categories. Yes, being obese is bad for your health, but it's hard to connect that to any individual eating decision, and having a cookie (even if you end up above your TDEE for the day) isn't an action that the human mind understands clearly as being harmful and does anyway--the explanation does not require addiction. If so, then all overweight people would supposedly be addicts and it would mean nothing.

    There are people who probably fall into a category where it is more similar to what we think of as addiction (the kinds of cases I talked about upthread (and that newmeadow mentioned), like compulsive eaters, the morbidly obese who are suffering severe issues or are isolating, etc. I think suggesting that this is what's up with people who simply find some foods really tempting and so eat them even though they may realize that they are probably going to overeat and gain or not lose weight is to ignore questions of severity.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    The middle classes only had plenty of food for well-over 100 years if you define middle class to essentially include that (a more UK kind of definition where it seems to mean a more elite class). If you look at how we think of it in the US, most of the country other than the truly rich or poor, no. And that again ignores that activity matters and the amount of activity most of these people did was necessarily more. Both sets of my grandparents were farming for part of their lives, and if you go back one more generation and on they were all farmers. Their activity and food availability was nothing like mine, even apart from events like the Great Depression and Dust Bowl.

    And in that "carbs" have been blamed for our supposed addictive state, they ate plenty of carbs.
  • chocolate_owl
    chocolate_owl Posts: 1,695 Member
    Do I think individual foods like sugar are addictive? Like cocaine? No. Hell no.

    I *do* think that people can become addicted to the behavior of eating, just like someone can become addicted to the behavior of gambling.

    But individual foods and physical addiction? Nope.

    Excellent point. We should all should keep in mind that on boards or social media in general, we tend to take shortcuts when we write. Heck, we're not writing a master thesis here.

    Therefore when someone says: "I am addicted to sugar" they may meaning "sugar acts like heroin on my body", BUT they may be saying "I am addicted to eating sugar" or something like that. It's just a shortcut that I use myself at times.

    The only way for me to avoid bingeing (as in over 5000+ in one sitting several times a week) is to reduce carbs drastically. Not only I do not binge anymore, but I don't overeat. I have no idea why and how. I wish I knew exactly what is the effect of sugar on my system - brain and all. Even my doctor is not sure, and he admits that there is a lot of controversy in the field, but that the research is ongoing.

    So until science comes with satisfying answers, let's be nice to each other.

    Because you know, Santa is taking notes.

    Saying you're addicted to sugar and addicted to eating sugar is saying the same thing. It's claiming that somehow a specific food has addictive properties, and the science we have available to us right now does not show that sugar (or any other individual food) is addictive. If someone were to say they believe they have an eating addiction and they tend to compulsively overeat sugar, or they find sugar to be hyperpalatable and easy to overeat - those statements align more accurately with the scientific studies currently available. So if we're having a discussion rooted in the science of addiction, choosing one's words and clearly explaining oneself is important.

    As for the bajillion "I'm addicted to sugar!" threads - I have no doubt that many, many people struggle with overeating or binging on sugar-laden items. However, these people 1) conveniently ignore that these foods are combinations of sugar and fat and only blame sugar, and 2) often are "addicted" to something specific like ice cream rather than all sugary treats. This doesn't fit a model for a substance being physically addictive. Behavioral addiction is a possibility, but habits and compulsions that can be modified with a little effort are more likely. There's a big range of behavior between "not addicted" and "addicted," and I don't think it does any good for a whole bunch of people to be self-labeling as addicts when they haven't experienced real addiction. Does this mean we should be mean/rude/dismissive when they ask for help? No, of course not, and most of the posters I see react with kindness and helpful advice.

    As for your specific case, many of the low-carbers on here struggle with similar behaviors, and many of them have IR.... A correlation that I hope science can investigate further. But once again, "carb" is a macronutrient that encompasses individual foods like sugar, and most low-carbers claim to struggle with all carbs, not just sugary ones.
  • Christine_72
    Christine_72 Posts: 16,056 Member
    smantha32 wrote: »
    We used to plop my cat in a stroller when we took the dogs for a walk, he loved it and sat there perfectly, or we'd put a leash on his collar and then hook it up to one of the dogs collars, and he's toddle along next to them.

    He was one a million, unfortunately a huge brown snake killed him :(


    Yeah it was horrific. I just thank God my mum was visiting that day.. I panicked and froze, where as she jumped up, grabbed a shovel and chopped the snakes head clean off :open_mouth: She still cant explain how she did it lol She's petrified of snakes. Adrenalin got her i think!

    Sorry to veer off topic again, she just deserves a shout out for her bravery :smiley:
  • cerise_noir
    cerise_noir Posts: 5,468 Member
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    newmeadow wrote: »
    My nephew is a drug addict. He's doing 5 years in state prison for robbery to support his addiction. How's is that like eating too many Milky Way bars?

    It's like this.

    People who eat too much food destroy themselves and isolate themselves in exchange for the pleasure that suicidal eating gives them.

    They eat themselves into a miserable state of existence to the point where they can no longer live independently. They move to nursing homes. They go to hospitals and have their toes and limbs surgically removed due to gangrene onset from diabetic complications. They continue to eat bags of Milky Ways kept at their bedside at the hospital, post surgery, brought in by friends and family members because they get on the phone and beg and cry for candy, cookies, and chips. They steal food from roommates when they go on secretive binges and destroy friendships this way. They isolate with food and ignore their young children for hours at a time. They can't play with their kids. It's difficult for them to be intimate with their spouse. It often becomes impossible as the weight piles on, along with the destructive eating. They spend impossible amounts of money on food, money that could and should go to a down payment on a house or a car. They become increasingly socially and financially marginalized as the suicidal eating continues. They become unable to work anymore. You get the picture.

    They do not viciously and violently intimidate people to get food. They do not physically assault people and worse, to get food. They do not steal the identities of family members and then open credit cards with $5,000 credit limits and then systematically withdraw that cash from ATMs to get food. (I'm not saying your nephew did any of these things. But this is common behavior for intensely addicted, long term drug users in general.) Aside from stealing food from roommates, suicidal eaters generally don't steal.

    I'd spend social time with an end-stage morbidly obese individual any day. They can always visit my home and will be welcomed with open arms. I will visit their homes, overlook the unsanitary conditions if necessary, for the pleasure of talking with them and helping them any way I can. Which usually just involves being a friend to them, not preaching to them or offering unsolicited advice.

    I will not be in the same room with a criminal drug addict or have anything to do with such an individual. I don't have the same concerns about suicidal eaters despite the fact they are both compelled to do destructive things in the pursuit of pleasure.

    But no, no. Never call suicidal eaters "addicts" on MFP. Because they just aren't. Only the esteemed meth heads, whiskey drinkers and heroin users can be addicts. People who eat themselves to death, and isolated misery before death occurs, are just lacking in self control. They are worthy of nothing more than kitty gifs and inside jokes. Even from the very people who were once 100+ pounds overweight themselves, here at MFP. Go figure.

    I'm not sure what's more offensive...
    Your stereotyping of obese people as being unsanitary, your judgmental hostility towards those suffering from drug addiction (no empathy? They're trapped in a prison of their own making, ya know...) or your accusation that those of us who deny the myth of food as an addictive substance (while allowing for the possibility of eating as an addictive behavior) would mock or belittle the plight of those suffering from obesity and self destructive behavior.

    Your rant, madam, is misdirected.

    Absolutely agree. Not all those who have an addiction problem are criminals, and not all those who are obese are unsanitary.
  • smantha32
    smantha32 Posts: 6,993 Member
    smantha32 wrote: »
    We used to plop my cat in a stroller when we took the dogs for a walk, he loved it and sat there perfectly, or we'd put a leash on his collar and then hook it up to one of the dogs collars, and he's toddle along next to them.

    He was one a million, unfortunately a huge brown snake killed him :(


    Yeah it was horrific. I just thank God my mum was visiting that day.. I panicked and froze, where as she jumped up, grabbed a shovel and chopped the snakes head clean off :open_mouth: She still cant explain how she did it lol She's petrified of snakes. Adrenalin got her i think!

    Sorry to veer off topic again, she just deserves a shout out for her bravery :smiley:

    My mom killed a copperhead once. Moms rock when it counts. :)

  • AngelinaB_
    AngelinaB_ Posts: 563 Member
    nutmegoreo wrote: »
    Honestly, one of the worst things I did to myself was labeling foods as good and bad and believing I was addicted to it. Because once I gave in and ate something "bad," I was a failure, and I was bad. It became an endless loop of guilt and punishment. Once I accepted that I could have any food I wanted, I was able to better proportion it. Once I gave myself permission to stop kicking myself, I was able to rationally look at what food choices made sense for my goals, and what could become more of a weekly treat. I did have to work at learning to moderate certain foods (ice cream was a big one). I stumbled many times along the way. But recognizing that I had control over the food, not the other way around, I felt so much more empowered. The behaviours are difficult to change, but recognizing and accepting that I was not addicted to food was one of the best moments in so far as changing my relationship with food.

    OP, your friend's friends are jerks. That has nothing to do with food addiction, and everything to do with them being jerks. Your friend has some work to do in healing his reaction to foods, but he can do it.

    I agree with this. Feel the same way in my experience. It's more behaviour which is very hard to change.
  • AngelinaB_
    AngelinaB_ Posts: 563 Member
    edited November 2016
    I went on to an "overeating anonymous" once years ago and the majority if not all the people who were there were drug addicts. They couldn't eat sugar because they couldn't stop, etc... I felt misplaced in that group, and never came back. Maybe food is addictive for some but in my case I think is more behaviour. Not nice to bring pizza to the guy/ gal who lost 200 lbs and don't want to eat them tho. but better if he/ she learns how to eat it and not destroy his/ her accomplishment. I have alcoholic friends. I always feel terrible drinking in front of them but at the same time they don't want people not to do it.