13 Signs Your 'Food Issues' Are Way Out Of Control

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woman with signs food is controlling her life

Addiction to food is one of the most misunderstood addictions. Being overweight (even obese) is becoming socially acceptable, yet it's not politically correct to call names or criticize someone's size or eating habits.

Why? Because people know that food addiction is a powerful force in the lives of those who struggle with it. Being addicted to food is the same thing as being controlled by food.

So, how do you know if you just "really like food," or if you have an unhealthy relationship with food?

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Here are 13 unmistakable signs food is controlling your life.

1. Eating usually means over-eating.

You're tempted and overeat, bypassing any logic or common sense, stuffing yourself over and over.

You wouldn't think of spreading a whole bottle of moisturizer on yourself at once. You wouldn't wear three sets of clothes, layering one after the other. You wouldn't take 15 tissues to blow your nose once.

Overeating is pretty much the same thing.

2. You pay any price for a food item or beverage if you want it.

Coffee shops sell a single cookie for $2.75 or more, while an entire cake mix costs less than one cupcake. But no matter, you need your fix now, no matter the cost.

You may end up shelling out hundreds of dollars a month on specific food or beverage items, all because your unhealthy relationship with food is leading you to.

3. You don't pay attention to ingredients.

You knowingly eat foods with ingredients that are harmful to your health, and contain additives and preservatives no one can even pronounce. You may not even care what's in it and just eat it regardless.

This isn't a healthy way to consume food, and you may want to start looking at what you are ingesting into your body.

4. Making 'smart choices' is irrelevant.

You find a way to override any logic if you think it tastes good and you like it. You honestly don't understand how there is even such a thing as a "smart choice" when it comes to food.

Instead, you throw every reason out the window and end up eating unhealthy food, no matter what meal it is.

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5. You never waste food.

If you grew up with very strict food restrictions and a calorie-counting mom, you may end up rebelling against any limitation and refuse to let food go to waste.

You finish your plate, but also anyone else's from the dinner table. You'll even forage the last, unfinished bites right off your children's plates. And it doesn't matter if you are full or not.

6. You constantly self-blame.

Self-blame is a big red flag that you have an issue with food. If your mind goes immediately to hatred towards yourself from the moment food touches your lips, it can lead to a very dangerous place.

You call yourself names, berate yourself, and feel shame because of what you eat. You wouldn't tolerate it if someone else did this, though.

7. You break your word to yourself.

Even when you swear you will never overeat again, deep down you already know you will — and so you do.

It's false promises that get you to the next moment of weakness, but you don't truly stick to that promise. You make that decision, knowing you are going to break it anyway.

8. You psych yourself out.

If a large bag of potato chips is on the counter, as long as it is not opened you will never touch it. If someone else opens it, though, you can't leave it alone until it's all gone.

You begin with just one small bowl, then another, then one more. And then... oh, well, you haven't had chips in a long time, so if you just finish them off now, they won't tempt you anymore.

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9. You rationalize your binges.

You feel completely wasteful if you go to an all-you-can-eat restaurant and have just one plate. You feel deprived by only one plate, feeling silly sitting there while others go back for more. You feel left out and tempted, mired in that familiar inner struggle.

You say, "Should I get some more?" "Will someone notice if I get more?" "The restaurant is only going to throw this food out if it's left there." You justify and make it seem like a sensible choice to have more.

10. You go to great lengths for a fix.

You'll stand in line or sit in your car, inching forward to get a latte, donut, bagel, or breakfast sandwich at a coffee shop, no matter how long it takes. You'll leave early so you have time to get there before work.

You'll wait behind annoying people who are buying for 14 others, but you don't complain or walk out because you need that fix, no matter how long it takes to get it.

11. Your emotions control your eating habits.

We all know that our emotions are closely connected to our food choices. We indulge in birthday cakes to mark joyous occasions and whip up batches of cookies during festive holidays. Food has a magical way of uniting us, and we often link positive feelings with particular treats.

However, it's also common to turn to indulgence when you're feeling down, bored, or anxious. If this happens occasionally, it's no big deal. But when it turns into a routine and leaves you feeling worse rather than better, it could be signaling that food is controlling your life.

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12. You look for the next trendy diet like your life depends on it.

Always jumping on the latest diet trends or trying out new supplements is something your friends can count on you doing. You might be thinking, "The last one was a dud, but this one is the real deal," only to end up disappointed every single time.

You're eager for a lasting change, but it just feels like nothing ever sticks.

13. You give in to your intense cravings.

Cravings can seriously mess with your vibes, especially when you're clueless about how to handle them. These cravings can consume you, hitting you like a ton of bricks, or they can just pop in and out.

Cravings can make you feel like you're hooked on sweets, but it's not really an addiction most of the time. Giving in to these cravings can feel like you're spiraling into a whirlwind of no self-control, and when you give in to not-so-healthy eats, it's like an instant guilt trip — or worse, a shame party.

How to Develop a Healthier Relationship with Food

So, what's the solution to beating a food addiction?

First, begin to eat just to nourish your body, not to soothe your soul.

Then, practice this tip and you'll start seeing differences in a few weeks. Every day, stand in front of the mirror, look closely into your own eyes, and say: "I am in total control of what I eat, when I eat, and how much I eat. I am in control."

Say this multiple times per day. Have fun with it. Point at yourself in the mirror and ask, "Who's in control?" and then laugh.

Diets don't work and all the books available don't give solutions, techniques, or mind exercises to change the negative energy and habits familiar with positive changes. As you master each solution one by one, your weight adjusts almost automatically.

And, of course, never hesitate to reach out to a professional.

For those struggling with their relationship with food, there is help. Contact NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) or call (212) 575-6200 for support.

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Jo-Anne Eadie and Heather Masters are the Directors of The Canadian Hypnosis Conference. Jo-Anne is a licensed, Board Certified Master Consulting Hypnotist, and Heather is a Nutritional Consultant and Energy Worker. Both are radio co-hosts for WOWFactor Media and Power of Freedom Network.​