For most of us, food addiction is something we fight on a daily basis. One quick example which is very common is when we are definitely full from eating that amazing dinner (lasagna, oven turkey, rice, and beans) at a gathering, but then we reach for those cookies at the side the second we see them. Once we eat one cookie, we realize, that with just that one cookie, came the other 8 cookies after that and now we have finished the whole bag. Now we are nicknamed the ‘cookie monster’. So what happened in our Psychology that gave us the urge to ‘Cookie Monster’ that whole bag in a blink of an eye? I believe we have all been there.
Food Addiction and the Physical Body
For starters let’s see what is happening physically in our body. First of all, notice that the above diet was primarily charged with processed carbohydrates (carbs) rather than whole fats or protein. From a physical perspective:
Carbohydrate rich meals spike insulin levels. When insulin spikes, many may experience feeling kind of dizzy, fatigued, drowsy, sleepy, and unclear thinking. This can makes us feel a brief high (distraction), just like alcohol and drugs can. It does not stop here, starchy carbohydrates helps our brains make serotonin, the feel good neurotransmitter responsible for sleep, mood, and even sex drive, which is also a different type of high (distraction). Thus the reason why when we are feeling kind of down, these are the foods that we will run to, this usually includes: simple sugars, and/or starchy and processed carbohydrates (i.e. Ice cream, pizza, lasagna, hot dogs, hamburgers, and soda).
Although all foods can have a distraction effect on the body and mind, processed carbs take everything to a whole other level. Processed carbohydrates and sugar break down directly into glucose, making them the most readily available source of energy. Glucose is a simple sugar essential to the brain, muscles, and most of our cells. Carbohydrates are crucial to all living creatures. Carbohydrates are also the primary fuel for the Central Nervous System and Brain functioning. So you see, Carbohydrates are important but they can be used to get a ‘high’ and distract us from an unwanted feeling, such as ‘anxiety’ in most cases.
Food Addiction and the Mind
Now that we have a clear picture of how foods can get us on a ‘high’, we can now clearly see how many times we are just eating to block unpleasant feelings. The truth about feelings is they are all beneficial to us, when feelings are bringing us negative symptoms it is merely because we have been distracting from them instead of getting to the root cause; this process only makes the feeling even stronger than before.
In the chart following this paragraph you can clearly see what us humans do when we run into an unwanted feeling such as Stress, Anxiety, Frustration ,and Depression. (By the way those feelings usually come in that same order. You start with the unwanted feeling, then move on to a Distraction which can fall into any of the three distractions categories described (Habit, Coping Skill, and Addiction). The major 2 problems with distractions are: (1) The distractions do not last very long, (2) They do not solve the originating cause of the issue, which in turn then leads to frustration (this feeling means what you are doing is not working, not to be mistaken with anger) then leads you back into the unwanted feeling, but now the unwanted feeling has evolved to be even stronger than before, requiring a stronger distraction, leading to a stronger frustration, and on and on it goes, the cycle continues. Thus the grand explanation of why habits, coping skills, and addictions take time and repetition to become automatic behaviors, making them stronger over time whether good or bad.
The Subconscious Meaning of Feelings
Let’s break down what some common feelings relating to Food Addiction are and what they really mean on a subconscious level. Stress means you are multi-tasking, doing/controlling too many things all at once with a high expectation level. Anxiety is a fear or worry of the future because you feel out of control about the present, so it is a time distortion with the baseline of ‘control’; this is the reason why stress usually provokes anxiety. Anxiety and depression usually comorbid each other, but do so through the linked feeling called frustration. Frustration means what you are currently doing is not working, repeat frustration enough times just like the previous feelings and you will eventually welcome yourself into depression.
Depression is feared by many of us and for good reason; it is the only feeling that includes the symptoms of Suicidal Ideation and Suicidal Intent when reaching maximum levels. Depression is not to be mistaken with sadness; sadness is loss of someone or something dear to you, in other words you are grieving. Depression means: why even try (hopelessness). Depression is also an attempt to reset the non-working emotional cycle that is not making things better. Depression forces you to sit down and do little or nothing compared to your usual routines. The way we get out of depression is when we decide to once again take action, however, most of the time we get out through the same door we came in from which is frustration and then anxiety. If we go through frustration, (just trying the same thing while expecting something different) we will possibly fall back into depression, but every time you repeat and transition into a feeling, the feeling becomes stronger than before, this happens through our survivability mechanisms installed in our DNA and Neuro Adaptation.
This cycle of feelings is not the only existent feeling sequence but it is the most common one we have gathered subjectively through empirical evidence. Other sequences include falling into boredom. Boredom means you no longer feel challenged, repeat boredom enough times and then you will feel frustrated, the number one gateway to depression. Frustration can also wait a little longer before reaching depression by going through anger first. Anger is usually mistaken for frustration but they are not the same. Anger means something unfair is happening to me or someone I care about. Since anger is so explosive and out of control, it will summon its sister called guilt. Guilt means I have caused unfair harm to someone who did not deserve it.
Hypnotherapy and Rebalancing Feelings
What we mean by rebalancing feelings is simply placing stress, anxiety, frustration, and depression where they need to be. Just like our senses, our feelings exist to guide us. For example, notice any time where you have been going through a transition, you will recall going through feeling some anxiety and depression while going through this transition in your life. Say you are transitioning from college to your first new job, or from living alone to now living with your significant other or a roommate, starting a new business, getting married, or being a new parent. All of these are just some examples. Physiologically, we can even recall going back through puberty, notice how much irritable, tired, cranky, short fused and maybe even hopeless you felt back then at times. It is completely normal to feel this way; it is what helped us to guide ourselves into the new path in our transition.
Hypnotherapy helps us to rebalance feelings by traveling Psychological time and discovering where we learned an aggressive negative cognition (mostly ages 2-9) and what following times it was reinforced after its inception. Some examples of negative cognitions may be: I am not safe, I am not strong, I am worthless, I am not in control, and I am not capable, among other cognitions. These cognitions represent the subconscious beliefs that are deeply embedded in our subconscious mind due to many reinforcements done through life after we experienced that cognition initially, (mostly the single digit ages). Even though the ‘you’, on a rational conscious scale (5% of your mind), is not in accordance with the negative belief such as: ‘I can’t relax because something else is about to happen’. You feel the irrational feeling taking over on a subconscious scale (95% of your mind) making you over-worry, over anticipate, over fear, and over exaggerate what negativity may happen. In Hypnotherapy we re-experience where you learned this belief, this is what we call, the Initial Synthesizing Event, and also explore the repeated reinforcements to this same cognition (Subsequent Synthesizing Events).
In Hypnotherapy the process of changing behavioral patterns and rebalancing feelings occurs rapidly, because of the vehicle of Hypnosis. Hypnosis establishes clear communication with the subconscious (95% of our true brain’s capacity). This makes it much more effortless to locate the cause of the problem or imbalance, and restructure imbalances as the individual needs. Psychotherapy can do the same; however, it requires a lot of repetition and time (6 months to 3 years) and even then, the strategies used have a high possibility of not finding the originating negative cognition that started the unbalanced behavior.
Restructuring balance with Psychotherapy will be done by constructing new patterns of thought, emotion, and then finally impacting our behavior (5% of our true brain’s capacity). This will require the individual to be very committed, disciplined, and also not run out of willpower. Willpower runs out on a daily basis despite popular beliefs, and most individuals have more willpower after waking in the morning. Also the less willpower you have, the less of it you make because you will eventually stop believing in yourself, the more you do not complete the things you had previously decided to do.
The Anti- Food Addiction Diet
There are so many diets out there that claim to get you into the best shape of your life without ever looking back such as Atkins, Ketogenic, Vegan, Mediterranean, South Beach, and Intermittent Fasting among other ones. And in all truth, most of these diets actually work as long as somehow and some way you are adherent at keeping a caloric deficit. That is all, if you have any questions please contact our facility to see the best strategy that will be optimal for you. See you soon!
Getting somewhat serious now, if we keep following every trend, cookie cutter strategy, and marketing hooks out there we will keep yo-yoing back from lean to fat continuously instead of designing a well-tested life style plan that will take you to your goal and ground you enough to stay there all year long. The main goal of this article is to get you to come in to design a customized lifestyle plan only and after we have dealt with the emotional bungee jumping extravaganza that are holding you back from executing the plan with an impeccable decision, commitment, and success.
There are so many coaches and fitness enthusiast going on about one size fits all strategies without taking into account the individual’s activity level, current status in health, metabolic output, and mental health. We were not kidding when we said any diet works; however, if the diet you choose makes you exclude any of the Macro or Micro nutrients, there will be a problem in this process. Not a problem that will hit you right away, but it will come back with a vengeance in the future due to the fact that this will unbalance your hormones, making you prone to probably gaining the weight you lost back, or even exacerbating your starting weight.
Let’s take into example a scenario, where, your best friend Aria in her mid-40s, who used to weight 190lbs, now weighs 115lbs and is looking ripped and chiseled after implementing p90x and the Jenny Craig diet. Aria goes and competes in 3 bikini contests while always scoring to be one of the finalists, and even took some trophies as she is looking great in pictures, and has gotten plenty of likes/impressions in social media. Now she is passionate about sharing her strategies with others and of course shares everything she knows with you. As you converse with Aria you see changes in her behavior as she seems anxious all of time, irritable, depressed and even tells you that in her intimate relationship, her sex drive is low and almost non-existent, while she is only getting 3-5 hours of sleep at night.
So what really happened to Aria? First of all, her issues of anger and resentment from way back in the day were never addressed, but the workout and the intensive distraction of the goal ahead of her had her distracted from facing issues in her social life and her marriage causing her and her family stress and anxiety. This reinforces to her subconscious that her emotional imbalances where never processed or addressed.
Well, in order for Aria to create her caloric deficit she woke up in the morning, had a carrot and an apple for breakfast along with 2 caffeine pills, did her p90x workout and burned about 700 calories, she then got home and had her low carb protein shake before going to work. Aria had a Tuna salad at her lunch break, chicken soup for dinner, and 2 snacks every half hour which included cheese slices, strawberry limeade, and a peach green smoothie (6 meal diet plan), a ballpark of about 1300-1500 calories total. If you look close at this diet you might have been able to identify that it is a low carb ketogenic diet. Although Aria got to her goal weight, she has excluded carbohydrates which are so beneficial in regulating mood, sex drive, energy, releases serotonin to help you sleep, and optimizes hormonal levels.
Since Aria is excessively depleted from carbs she has become even more susceptible, on a hormonal level, to feeling increased stress, anxiety, and depression. Carbs also replenish the glycogen stores depleted during high interval trainings such as HIIT cardio and weight lifting exercises (Aria’s exercise template) for recovery and performance output. 3 months later Aria regains the pounds she previously burned by binge eating to calm the anxiety and depression. She over does it on processed carbs, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Now Aria is 220lbs.
A physiological explanation for this bungee jump is due to Leptin going so low, Leptin is the hormone that controls you hunger, Leptin is primary kept at healthy high levels in long term diets that will be sustainable (Not excluding Macro and Micro Nutrients). As long as Leptin doesn’t drop too low, you will not be as hungry, even on a caloric deficit, but if it reaches too low levels, it will signal the body that you are in a foreign island with no food and that you are about to die. This activates your brain to send strong signals for you to eat like there is no tomorrow. These are the parts of weight loss stories that are off camera, after the weight loss challenge has long ended.
Now in Aria’s case, she excluded Carbs. What happens if you exclude any of the other macro nutrients?
- Not enough protein– you are not supporting the body with enough blood to regulate glucose so the body will make you crave the next best thing, Sugar. Sugar will create so much insulin that for many, even at an aggressive caloric deficit, will find themselves in a fat loss plateau faster than a speeding ticket. Sugar fries your hormones to a critical state very fast, making you inflammatory, dehydrating you, and affecting Testosterone/Estrogen.
- Not Enough Fats– If you thought Carbs regulated hormones, think again the number one regulator of testosterone and estrogen is whole fats such as: avocados, nuts, and animal fat byproducts.
- Carbohydrates are is crucial to all living creatures. Carbohydrates are also the primary fuel for the Central Nervous System and Brain functioning. Also optimizes Hormonal Levels. Also releases serotonin, the feel good hormone, regulating sex drive, helping you smile more, and making you sleepy at bedtime.
We will not cover Micro Nutrient deficiency, google can tell you the rest, however, Vitamin D directly impacts your hormonal levels along with your immune system. We highly recommend you and your Physician keep a close eye on Vitamin D.
How Revibe Therapy Treats Food Addiction
- We first assess our clients via the Revibe Therapy Comprehensive Assessment sent to their Email. Gathering demographic details, previous Weight loss attempts and imbalances of the present.
- We then discuss the previously gathered information face to face answering any questions you may have regarding feelings, behavior, hypnotherapy and such.
- We use Hypnotherapy to rebalance your feelings and emotions. Severing the link of using food as an emotional distraction.
- Breakdown of a food template that seems sustainable for the current individual. The Hypnotist and Client will tweak the diet until it is made sustainable. The diet, on a physical standpoint determines 90% of your weight loss progress. This diet will include all Macro-Micro Nutrients while gearing you to be insulin sensitive. In most cases this needs your physician’s approval.
- Recommendation and breakdown of anaerobic and aerobic activity to aid weight loss (mere 10% of weight loss). Although weight loss primary thrives with a caloric deficit via food. There is no question that a good anaerobic and aerobic activity protocol will keep/get you healthy and also amplify your aesthetics, body tone, and physique structure. In most cases this needs your physician’s approval.
- Homework’s are given via behavioral goals and mp3 recordings to help your subconscious gear up in between sessions and also make your environment a temple that will aid your goal, despite not being in control of everything.
Final Food Addiction Takeaways
Food addiction is a real problem that affects many people worldwide. It leads to weight gain, self-esteem issues, and health problems. The causes of food addiction are mostly emotional in nature, meaning medicine is not a long-term solution. In order to break a food addiction, you must attack the emotional causes.
Weight gain is one of the main effects of food addiction. It can be extremely dangerous to your health, and hurt your confidence, leading to stress on the body, spirit, and mind. High stress levels cause the body to release cortisol, which is often referred to as “the stress hormone”. Increased cortisol causes higher insulin levels, making you crave fatty foods and/or sugary foods. This leads to a cycle that feeds your addiction.
To break the cycle, and lose weight, you need to be able to address the problem holistically. Hypnotherapy does just that. Studies have shown that people who use hypnotherapy to lose weight, lose double compared to those who just diet. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8698945) Not only can hypnotherapy help in weight loss, it can also help you improve your eating habits, by addressing your food addiction, and help you create a more positive body image.
Hypnotherapy builds the self-control you need to fight food addiction and lose weight. Most people lack the willpower to diet, especially if they live with fluctuating stress levels and turn to food as their comfort. Emotional eaters are ideal candidates for hypnotherapy. Through therapy, you can “retrain” your mind and body to crave beneficial foods instead of the foods that contribute to your weight gain. You can also work through common emotional connections to overeating, such as stress, anxiety, and trauma.
At Revibe Therapy we approach your weight loss goals in a holistic way. Along with weight loss, you can expect improved health, focus, confidence, body image, and diet. This ensures that results are long term.
If you would like to know more about our services or have any questions, feel free to contact us.