How can you trust yourself to eat intuitively if you’re a food addict?
Context: I’m a San Jose Eating Disorder Therapist so I teach people how to practice intuitive eating for normal eating patterns.
And I get cravings for marijuana.
I’m here to tell you today that it’s possible you think of yourself as:
- A compulsive overeater
- A food addict
- A sugar addict
I’m here to tell you today you may think of yourself as things. That’s okay.
And despite thinking and believing these things about yourself, you can learn to have regular, compulsion-free eating patterns – even if you are a food addict.
What do marijuana and food addiction have anything with to eat intuitively?
Marijuana is a psychologically addicting drug.
And I have struggled with it, for years, big time. It started back in college. I was alone most of the time, locked away in my room avoiding people.
I started smoking weed everyday.
I would smoke after school and after work. I never went to school high or work high, but after I was done being ‘off the clock’ I would smoke.
And during this time I was about 122 lbs. I was malnourished. I wasn’t eating right. I’d go on binges and then stop eating enough food.
(I didn’t know I wasn’t eating enough food, but in hindsight, I now see that I wasn’t eating enough)
Then I learned how to eat intuitively. This knowledge helped me normalize my weight and eating patterns. But I still had weed addiction.
So I learn how to eat intuitively and my life gets a lot better.
But I still am addicted to weed. This was years ago. But I had just finished up living in a meditation center for 13 months back in 2014 and my eating habits are better. But I am still addicted to weed back in those years.
My 2014 self is much more aware of my weed habits though.
For example, I am now aware that I am smoking to cope with negative feelings. But now I am using stress relief strategies to prevent these urges from coming up in the first place.
Before I would always rationalize my smoking. Like by saying “I needed to creative for school”.
But now I am aware of my smoking habits and since I had just learned more about how to eat intuitively …
I decide to apply intuitive eating principles to change my relationship with weed.
And to my great surprise, it works. My weed consumption goes up at first, but then long term my weed consumption goes down.
Now how does this relate to food?
Well, it turns out food addiction and drug addiction are very similar:
So the ‘to eat intuitively’ shall we say lessons I learned in weed, can help you reduce food cravings.
How by learning to eat intuitively you’ll beat food cravings
Here’s the basic formula, which is extremely basic considering this is only a blog post!
I made another post here about how to stop emotional eating. Emotional eating is similar to food cravings, but definitely different. That post you can read here.
Nonetheless, here’s the basic steps:
- Apply intuitive principles to food cravings
- Reduce food cravings
- Start taking care of yourself more, sleep more, manage emotions better, listen to your body much more, etc
- Naturally lose weight as a result of decreased cravings and increased self-care
For another take on steps you can take to reduce compulsive eating read here.
So now I want to share with principles to eat intuitively which can also be applied to overcoming food addiction.
Here we go!
Specifically intuitive eating has a unique approach to dealing with cravings.
You know, those foods you shouldn’t have? Those foods that are taboo?
Those foods that you can’t stop thinking about, that you just crave?
Ice cream, chocolate, nutella, chips, fried chicken, whatever it is.
Dieting would be easy. Heck, dieting would work if you just didn’t get these cravings for these foods.
(don’t worry if you can’t diet. No one can. Tracy Mann at UCLA analyzed every single long term weight loss study and found that basically nobody can successfully diet. And 50% of people actually gain weight because they diet)
And for me, I get those same craving feelings for marijuana. Here’s where things get a bit crazy … See principle #3
And I have applied the principles of intuitive eating to dramatically reduce my cravings for marijuana.
Here’s the lesson:
I let myself mindfully smoke pretty much as much weed as I wanted too … without a deadline to stop … for a month I binged … but then my cravings have stopped
Let me explain real quick:
I am allowing myself to have as much weed as I want.
In fact, just the other day I got back from vacation and wanted weed.
Paradoxically, because I knew I could have weed any time I wanted …
I didn’t want it.
I was able to listen to my gut (not my head) …
And my gut simply didn’t want weed.
Not because I was on some anti-diet of weed.
No, diets don’t work. We know that already!
I’ve tried quitting weed dozens of time and it always comes back.
But when I can smoke weed when I want to, then the desire goes down dramatically.