Sugar lights up the pleasure centers in the brain like the 4th of July. It seems we humans can become addicted to anything that makes us feel good. And, sugar feels GOOD. “Princeton Univeristy and University of Florida researchers have found that sugar-binging rats show signs of opiatelike withdrawal when their sugar is taken away-including chattering teeth, tremoring forepaws and the shakes.” Yikes, sugar sounds like a drug to me!! (NY Times Well 9-23-12)
In 1994 I started groups for women with “food addiction” issues. My goal for the groups was to interrupt the addictive cycle of feeling stressed or upset and then going for food to submerge the feelings rather than consciously feel them. The method introduced was to become aware of the yo-yo cycle of dieting and to develop skills to deal with cravings in new, healthier ways.
We practiced breathing exercises to effectively cope with stress and develop an ability to be more centered. The beginnings of what eventually became the Pause Button formed when women talked about the uncontrollable cravings they would have with their food of choice – cookies, ice cream, salty and crunchy foods. Awareness is the first step of change and this was new information back then. Notice we don’t become addicted to healthy foods like lettuce or carrots. (Free Mp3download of Intentional JOY’s Pause Button Available).
Food Addiction treatment has come a long ways since 1994 and yet obesity is on the rise. The world is more stressful, not less. We have more coming at us, more processed foods available than ever. The pace of life, the rushing to get from here to there makes it really important to stay aware with your feelings, to take 10 BREATHS and to Pause before deciding what you’re going to eat. Dr. Pamela Peeke, author of “The Hunger Fix,” (& Fight Fat After 40 – excellent) says what I did so long ago – “…that meditation and exercise can help engage the brain to overcome food addiction…” And, to replace or find food alternatives that give pleasure but don’t set off the fired up craving response – for example: a fruit smoothie instead of ice cream. ((NY Times Well 9-23-12)