Resistance is futile – Fighting chocolate craving ‘just makes you eat more’

A verbatim extract from the article: “Psychologist James Erskine, of the University of Hertfordshire, said “The act of avoidance seems to completely backfire.” We found that if you try not to think about eating chocolate, it tends to lead you to eat more….We now need to find ways to help women change their behaviour rather than telling them not to eat things. Dieticians say the research supports other studies that show eating sensibly – rather than trying to cut out ‘single’ foods – is best for maintaining a healthy weight.”

James Erskine and his researchers have obviously never had an eating disorder. They cannot have craved food to the point of addiction. They cannot know what it is like to try to stick to a diet. How can you eat things that you crave in moderation? Why are smokers told to give up cigarettes totally rather than to have a few each day? Why are alcoholics told not to let one drink pass their mouth rather than to have a glass of wine now and again? Why on earth, therefore, are slimmers advised to eat the food, for which they have addict-like cravings, in moderation?!

The advice in this article, about not cutting out certain foods, is absolute madness. Why don’t we advise the alcoholic to have a glass of wine and a measure of spirits but not a whole bottle of either? Why don’t we say to the smoker don’t give up cigarettes or you will only crave them? This advice would be simply crazy for drink or drug addicts so how, therefore, can it possibly work for the overeater?

The fundamental problem is that food addiction is not seen as a similar problem to any other addiction. It is widely accepted that drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are addictive but it is less widely accepted that food can be addictive (although caffeine is being increasingly recognised as an addictive substance). However, in many ways, the food addict’s problem is worse. An alcoholic can overcome their problem by avoiding alcohol altogether. A nicotine addict must give up cigarettes. A drug addict must stop taking drugs. You, a food addict, cannot stop eating. You have to learn to live with food and to eat in such a way that you don’t overeat and, most importantly, that you don’t have an uncontrollable desire to overeat.

There are strong physical reasons as to why people crave certain foods (my books “Why do you overeat? When all you want is to be slim” and “Stop Counting Calories & Start Losing weight” explain them fully. ) The only way to overcome food addiction and insatiable food cravings is to identify which of these physical conditions is causing your particular food cravings and to overcome this condition. Every single food craved must be avoided until the conditions are brought under control. You will be able to eat chocolate again – but only when your body can tolerate it and when you can eat it in moderation. Until then, this advice is about as dangerous as dieting advice can get!

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