Everyone’s done this. You can’t just eat one Oreo. If I get into a package of Oreos I don’t even know I’ve eaten it until there’s no more left. It’s a terrible problem—I’m glad I spend all my money on chicken so I can’t buy the sugary goodness.
It’s a lot like doing drugs; you create an addiction from deriving pleasure because drugs are fun, dude. We are human after all. As outrageous as my original claim is, food is a drug, and one that you derive pleasure from (same as heroin!) This addiction can be explained with three reasons,
1. You create a behavioral habit with this substance.
If you’ve ever had a friend that smokes a lot of weed, I’m sure you’ve been asked, “Want to smoke?” To them, this is very similar as asking, “Hey, want to go grab a bite to eat?” It’s a social event. You derive pleasure from the entire event; the quality time spent, the conversation while it’s happening, and the actions involved, and of course the pleasure of consuming whatever the drug of choice. And let’s be honest, even if you’ve never done drugs in your life you may have imbibed a few stiff ones. You’re an adult and life is tough, man. It’s all the same.
Food is the same in this regard; most children grow into the habits that the event of food is a social event and one to enjoy. This food not only has the explicit great taste, but increases in perceived taste with its implicit social connotations. It becomes a comfort to you. When the social aspect dies down for whatever reason, be it previous commitments, business, children—food will always be pleasurable. The habits formed through the social events translate to individual consumption. This individual consumption can increase for a couple proven specific reasons, one of which is,
2. You create a biological dependency with this substance.
Ever heard of withdrawal symptoms? This isn’t fiction. People can die from withdrawal effects. Hospitals actually carry illegal drugs and alcohol to potentially administer to a patient whose biological dependency warrants those substances. I can’t make this up: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/manuals/narcotic/appendixa/treatment.htm#opioids
With that said, high-fat and high-sugar dependency is very real. Your hormones acclimate to it. So much so, you can develop a sugar-regulating disease because of your diet (diabetes). You can also develop lung-disease from smoking cigarettes.
I’ll repeat that so it’s clear: you can develop a debilitating disease from consuming food, much like acquiring a debilitating disease from smoking cigarettes.
Ever heard of a cigarette smoker getting ornery when they quit? Gaining weight? Absolutely. Ever heard of a caffeine-addict discussing their crabbiness and headaches when they “missed their morning coffee”? Of course you have! Plus, I’m a caffeine addict. This isn’t a joke; I take a lot of caffeine and it’s absolutely what a psychologist would define as “addiction.” It may end up killing me when I’m un-young. Speaking of psychologists,
3. You create a psychological dependency on this substance.
If you’ve ever seen the movie, “Don’t Be a Menace While Drinking Your Juice in South Central,” you remember the scene when Ashtray (Shawn Wayans) is approached by Dave the Crackhead; it’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s amazing the limits addicts will go to to get their next “fix.” A lot of it is outside their control; they simply don’t have the tools to kick the addiction. Their bodies biologically won’t let them, and their brains will literally not function like a normal human being without it. This pastime has gone from a pleasurable experience-- one with more highs than lows, greater social status implications, and enjoyable outcomes—to one where the addict seeks their vice simply to survive. This is a terrible conundrum. If you don’t believe me, believe Harvard:
Food dependency is a drug addiction.
Once you reach the point that you’ve created an environment in your body that requires this level of dependency, your psychological function will halt, to the point where you can’t physically stop yourself from eating. This isn’t a matter of willpower, nor can you take a prescription to get rid of it. It’s food we’re talking about. The only way to relieve this addiction is to alleviate most withdrawal symptoms. The only way to do that is to ease a transition and make a lifestyle choice. Much like a hospital won’t let you come in and immediately go into withdrawal symptoms, you can’t administer your own care to yourself if you don’t ease out of it. This is a huge reason why fad diets fail. They’re a temporary fix for a long-term problem.
So for all you binge eating Oreos and sucking down Coke like it’s water; I get it. You’re a druggy. You have issues, because druggies have issues.
Keep in mind there are options out there to help you develop healthier habits. It has to be a lifestyle change. No, not one that happens all tomorrow because you’re destined to fail that way.
You can pitch a tent with a canvas and poles, but you have to build a house with thousands of bricks.