Addictive Eating: Are You Powerless Over Food?
The holidays of winter often bring to mind the image of a full table—and a full stomach. We gather with friends and family and feast merrily on pies and potatoes, turkey and ham and all of the fixings that many of us dearly enjoy. There is another side to that pretty picture, however. What if our extra consumption of calories during the winter is fueled not by good cheer and companionship, but by anxiety? And, further, what if it’s not the gathering of loved ones that we most look forward to, but the food that we can’t get out of our minds? Also, while we may welcome gatherings with friends and family, they do bring with them extra stress and preparation. Add to the mix the anxiety caused by a sputtering economy, and many of us might find ourselves reaching for “comfort” food. An anxiety-provoked behavior, such as overeating, is an attempt to cope with that anxiety, but as with most such behaviors, it can become a problem itself. Overeating can become a compulsion and lead to health issues such as diabetes and obesity. This is not to say that you should reflexively turn down that second piece of pumpkin pie, but if you were dreaming of that pie for days, and if, in fact, you care more about that pie than the people around you, then you may have a problem that needs attention. According to Overeaters Anonymous, here are a few other common markers of compulsive eating:

1. Do you eat when you’re not hungry?

2. Do you go on eating binges for no apparent reason?

3. Do you have feelings of guilt and remorse after overeating?

4. Do you look forward with pleasure and anticipation to the time when you can eat alone?

5. Is your weight affecting the way you live your life?

6. Do you resent others telling you to “use a little willpower” to stop overeating?

7. Despite evidence to the contrary, have you continued to assert that you can diet “on your own” whenever you wish?

8. Do you eat to escape from worries or trouble?

9. Does your eating behavior make you or others unhappy?

If you think that you might be overeating compulsively, it is possible to recover. Help is available through the 12-Step programs Overeaters Anonymous and Food Addicts Anonymous, as well as a therapist or counselor. With the help and support of others, you can uncover the reasons behind your compulsive eating, find other strategies for coping with anxiety and get on a food program that can sustain and, even, restore your health. While you may still have those dreams about that second piece of pumpkin pie, you can also live a happy, healthy and fulfilling life without it.

Author's Bio: 

Vicki Rebecca has a successful Hypnosis and Neuro Linguistic Programming practice that includes one to one therapy and teaching in classes, on retreats and online. She trains the core skills of personal and spiritual growth including various means of relaxation and mind mastery as described in her book The Me I Want To Be. This practice is supported by her extensive background in health promotion, fitness training, yoga and meditation practice as well as professional qualifications to trainer level in psychotherapy, advanced clinical hypnosis and Neuro Linguistic Programming.
However, Vicki herself, does not believe for one second that it’s the qualifications, nor the fact that she has trained with the best, that make her a great therapist. That may have given the foundation but it’s the years of experience, willingness to stand in your shoes and the fact that she loves her work that made the difference. Her primary joy and primary genius IS helping people change and grow.
Vicki is available for classes, talks and retreats as well as one to one sessions, you can find out more at