100 pounds calories Cravings diet emotional eating empty calories food food habits food mistakes Obesity portion sizes portions relationship with food snacking trigger foods weight gain weight loss Weight Watchers

Food Addiction

Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

Related Posts


  1. Lisa

    This is a really great, thought-provoking post. I can see that there’s a strong pleasure response in the body to eating and overeating that floods your brain with dopamine, and that can create a strong desire to do it again to get that response. But that’s kind of the essence of any bad habit – it rewards you in some way, which makes it harder to stop. And receiving pleasure from food isn’t bad if it’s not in excess.

    I think the way to look at it is to ask whether it’s personally helpful to you to frame something as an addiction. I have some binge eating tendencies, but like you I resist calling it an addiction or disordered eating, because then it’s like it’s something that happens to me or something I can’t control, when I see it more as a bad habit or behavior that I can control.

    But I think some people feel more empowered viewing it as an addiction or a disease. Like it’s a way of saying that changing habits or losing weight is really, REALLY hard, and they are not a bad person because it’s hard for them. And that’s true!

    1. hundredtenpounds

      I agree that changing habits are REALLY hard. I do think though that calling the problem an addiction can be detrimental to someone who is trying to lose weight…it gives them an excuse to not work as hard, maybe? They have an “out.” We are ALL responsible for every single thing we put in our mouths. It’s not like someone put a gun to our head and told us to eat an entire pizza!

      1. Lisa

        To play devil’s advocate… no one holds a gun to the heroin addict’s head and makes them shoot up, either. BUT, I totally agree with you that calling overeating an addiction is overblowing it, because food is simply not as chemically addictive as something like heroin or even caffeine. And I agree that it creates a sense of “I can’t help it”, when our own actions are the only thing that can really help!

        Thanks for stopping by my blog, by the way! I have been reading your blog for a while and it’s one of my favorites. Your weight loss and balanced lifestyle is really inspiring, and you always have interesting posts like this one!

        1. hundredtenpounds

          Yes our actions are the cause! If I stop exercising and eat an entire cheesecake for dinner tonight, I will gain weight. There’s no way around it. Long ago I decided that the choices I make matter and I can decide how much I want dessert vs if I want to lose those last 8 pounds.

          Thanks for debating with me! šŸ™‚ And I added your blog to my feed. It’s cool to see another cyclist!

  2. Leah

    I’m with you… it seems like I want to say I’m addicted to food, but to me, that’s just making another excuse on top of so many past excuses to why I don’t do anything to lose the weight. But I do understand where people come from. A lot of those questions I answered yes to, because honestly, food and my weight are CONSTANTLY on my mind. Instead of eating to live, most people live to eat. It takes time, hard work and dedication, but with the right mind set, anyone can change their life. I also say it is hard to get into a right mind set… for me personally, I battle with Bitchzilla (the name of my negative personality lol) EVERYDAY. It’s hard, and sometimes Leah comes out on top… and other times Bitchzilla does. I think, as long as you keep trying, and keep working, you will achieve what you set out to do!

    1. hundredtenpounds

      You make a great point about eating live vs. living to eat. I’ve definitely had a mind shift from living to eat! Now I look at food as fuel for my workouts that my body NEEDS! Of course I splurge and eat things I want to eat too, but it’s about moderation and choices.

  3. Carbzilla

    I do think, for some people, the way they use food can be considered an addiction. At the same time, I believe it can be “cured” or “managed, ” and have seen proof of that many times over.

    I also believe that overeating is one manifestation of a food addiction but not every overweight person is a food addict. I’d even bet there are thin food addicts – overeating just may not be one of their symptoms.

    I certainly don’t think “I have an addiction” is ever a good excuse to not do anything about it. All sorts of addictions can be overcome – there’s plenty of proof of that.

    And, yes, I also totally agree that there are simply bad habits that can be given up (for me I usually need a substitution). Great topic!

  4. Katie @ Health for the Whole Self

    I think there is a definite, important distinction between overeating and bingeing. Many people binge as a way of USING food to numb themselves – that to me is much closer to an addiction than eating a candy bar once a day. While I do not think that bingeing is on the same addictive level as drug or alcohol abuse, I do think that if someone is using it as a means of escape – from life, from emotions, whatever – it is a serious issue. I have no idea what the actual chemical reactions in the brain are, but I do think that calling it an addiction could actually help people – instead of using it as an “excuse,” it emphasizes that the problem is serious enough that the person needs to seek professional help. That’s just my two cents.

    1. hundredtenpounds

      But what is “professional help”? A nutritionist? Personal trainer? Weight Watchers? That’s what I wonder?

      1. Katie @ Health for the Whole Self

        I think that if the issue is overeating, then sure, a nutritionist could be helpful. But if the problem is bingeing – if you are USING food – then seeing a nutritionist or personal trainer won’t be addressing the real issue. So when I say “professional help” I’m referring to counselors, psychologists, talk therapists, etc.

Leave a Reply