Now THIS clarifies food addiction!


Photography/Art by Yvonne McCarthy

I finally found an article about food addiction written in a way that is easily understood by all.  Below you will find the normal behavior versus the addictive behavior.  Here’s an excerpt from that section:

  •  Dependence on food will be habitual, while addiction to food will be somewhat unpredictable (e.g., a morning cup of coffee versus the sudden, inexplicable drive to eat four servings of cheesecake)
  •  Dependence on food will have few, if any, emotional causes, but addiction to food is provoked by emotions and circumstances that cause feelings of powerlessness (e.g., a treat to get through a trying day at work versus a binge to avoid focusing on painful thoughts
  •  Dependence on food will have few, if any, emotional effects, whereas addiction to food will cause great anxiety if not properly attended to
    (e.g., being cranky due to caffeine deprivation versus feeling panicked because a planned binge is interrupted)
  •  Dependence on food will cause minimal interference in other areas of a person’s life, but addiction to food will disturb every aspect
    (e.g., a love for red wine with dinner versus preferring to eat alone for the sake of overeating)
  •  Dependence on food can be controlled at will, but food addiction appears as an unstoppable force in the person’s life
    (e.g., giving up pizza after noticing slight weight gain versus trying to stick to a healthy eating plan but derailing constantly; having a divided mind that seems to want opposite things)
  •  Dependence on food is pleasurable, but food addiction is a torment
    (e.g., traditional Christmas cookies versus the horror one has that one has eaten the whole box of cookies, coupled with the knowledge that one isn’t done yet)
  •  Dependence on food is casual, whereas food addiction appears to the addicted person to be closely tied to his or her identity
    (e.g., the guilty pleasure of Cheetos versus the shame and feelings of inadequacy that often accompany a binge)

Perhaps one of the most important paragraphs is below: (helpful to read the entire article)

What happened in this scenario demonstrates what, for many people, is the central issue of food addiction. Bingeing allows the food-addicted person to avoid dealing with threatening emotions (such as his or her perceived failure, powerlessness, or inferiority) by replacing them with guilt and shame, which are also threatening, but in a familiar, almost comfortable way. In the mind of the food-addicted person, the pivotal issue is lack of willpower. But in truth, they are using food to defend themselves against the pain in their life. By facilitating this transfer and avoidance of emotions, food has become a drug, and it is at this point that the food-addicted person needs to seek help.


Bingeing has a different meaning for most people.  When I was obese I thought it meant that you ate in the closet in the dark with a whole package of Oreos and a gallon of milk.  Of course I didn’t do that so I didn’t think it applied to my behavior. (umm…denial) Finally I realized that my weekend routine of buying a huge Bucket ‘O Chicken and locking myself in my apartment from Friday evening until going to work on Monday morning was certainly a form of bingeing. The same thing applied to my Quarter Pounder with Cheese obsession. I’m sure the Dallas quarterly earnings  dropped significantly around the time I woke up to my dependence on this junk food.


quarter pounders

Most importantly please, please, please….do not walk the path of shame.  From that same paragraph the very important part of the article… “In the mind of the food-addicted person, the pivotal issue is lack of willpower. But in truth, they are using food to defend themselves against the pain in their life.”  How sad it is that we are just trying to avoid the pain of life by using food.  The problem is that it never works without paying a great price.  Ask for help, educate yourself, and know that freedom from this disease is truly possible.

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6 Comments on “Now THIS clarifies food addiction!”

Excellent post.Thanks for sharing.It let me know that I too have food addiction.Now I’ve to take precautions in this way.Keep updating!!

Unbelievable article. Thank you for sharing. I am at the pre-op stage and I know the mind needs to be fixed too but for 53 years I have been unable to acknowledge or fix it but I am ready to fight the fight now. That is all that matters. I do use food to comfort my pain, which in turn, creates different pain. How unreasonable is that? Your blog has really opened my mind and some doors I didn’t even know how to open. It is a plethora of help for me and am planning my own self study of all of your blogs to help myself. Thank you for putting yourself out there so I can reap the benefits. Words can not really express how grateful I am to you at this time!!!!

Thank you so much. I have written quite a bit about using food to cope or numb feelings we don’t wish to have because I did it for years. I’m grateful that I have at least become aware of why I did it and I take steps daily to continue my education. You might want to check out the post about the “Super Dieters” because it might be helpful as well. Best of luck with your surgery!! I had mine at 47 and I started life at 48. (it took about a year to lose) I’m 59 now and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my life. Big time congrats on your upcoming journey!

Hi I’m having difficulty finding the article, could you send it to my email?

I’m pre-op and after after losing 28llbs Ive hit an incredibly stressful time and I’m having difficulty dealing with this and keeping focused on my weight loss goals

Many thanks


Hi Yvonne…I met you at OH2014…. at one of the workshops or such and again while we were both moving and grooving to the music. You’re a warrior! So loved seeing how beautiful you are and seeing how fabulous you must feel. You’re an inspiration for sure!
Sandra Hess

Hey Sandra! Thank you so much for the kind words! I was so impressed with you! I thought you were incredible….you hung in there with the young ones and my old self just like it was no big deal….dancing for hours! SO glad you found me. I sent you a Facebook request. Hugs, Y

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