Welcome to Drs. Mark and Michele Sherwood based in the USA. They have co-authored Amazon #1 best-selling book, ‘The Quest for Wellness’ and their second book is nearing completion. They have been seen on national TV, been quoted on CNN and are regular contributors to the Huffington Post.

The is the first of my #Love2Eat wellbeing series with the loving wellness couple.

How to Overcome Food Addiction?

Can food addiction be overcome? This is a very poignant question. It is also a very personal one.

The subject of food addiction has been one of much debate. What causes it? What are the roots of the cause?
The Five Roots of Food Addiction….by Drs. Mark and Michele Sherwood 

To answer that question you must begin in our childhood experiences and teaching. I want you to remember these words: pain, consolation, victory, celebration, and sadness.

To fully understand, Let us begin with our earliest memories that began with PAIN.

Do you remember the first time you were injured? Or perhaps the first time you have available and suffered a contusion on your knee? Remember those first occasions when your initial experience of pain was unpleasant and very traumatic. The tears flow, the wales would commence, and the cries, “mama help me,” would begin. Of course, mom or dad would come to the rescue. Consoled, and told everything’s gonna be OK. Additionally, either mom or dad would then offer the sweet treat, to make you “feel better.” The point being here is this; pain, and our initial experience to it, is mediated by a sweet treat. As you can see, the relief of pain is rooted in the inclusion of sweet treats. You can bet that experience is recorded in your in our brain which will be re-introduced all through adulthood.

Next, let’s move to CONSOLATION. Consolation can be best understood with our recollection of our first team sport. Remember your first practice? How much you prepare for that first game? You think you’re going to win every game! But, when you suffer that first loss, the coach, along with all concerned parents, take you to the nearest pizza joint, and console you with pepperoni, sausage, bread, and cheese pizza. Additionally, consolation is introduced with sugar loaded sodas. This experience, of consolation remedy, is also recorded in our inner brain.

Now we get to tackle VICTORY. Sweet victory indeed! We love to win first place. Often times, we get a trophy. We may even have received a medal along with many congratulatory cheers and ovations. But don’t forget, we still have to celebrate the victory properly. You guessed it! We again visit our favourite pizza place. More cheese, sausage, pepperoni, soda, and even ice cream are poured into our systems as we celebrate sweet victory. You may wonder, is this also remembered in my inner brain as an experience that will be repeated? You better believe it. You will remember it in the, and you’re very thoughts will draw you back to your first experiences of celebrating victory.

What about CELEBRATION in general? We live in a society where we celebrate. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, special events, good grades, many achievements. Celebrations are very important indeed. We should celebrate. As you get it by now, literally all of our celebrations are tied to food. They are tied to a specific kind of food, however. These foods, as you probably have deduced by now, are full of sugars, grains, and breads. After all, can you really have a celebration without that cake, cupcakes, or cookies? Our experiences tells us NO. But, in practicality, we know these things are damaging. Is it OK to celebrate? I say yes, of course it is. But, when we always include food as the focal piece, problems are continued. We do remember these experiences well because they are repeated, at least with celebration we hope, often many times in our lives.

It is time to move to SADNESS. Sadness is a fact of life. We will suffer loss, disappointment, and setback. We know those are factual things with which we must deal. These can come in the form of death, disease, traumatic events, or simple accidents. However they come, they are powerful and lasting. Yes, sadness is a part of life. It also offers an opportunity to grow, as we all know. Although we experience sadness, it is often remedied by food. Think about it, someone dies and people bring loads of food over. Many times, it is sugar laden treats designed to make you “feel better.”  These events of sadness, coupled with the inclusion of food, are branded in our brain forever.

PAIN, CONSOLATION, VICTORY, CELEBRATION, and SADNESS are each marked in our brain permanently. All of these experiences are tied to food, emotions, and events. One could make the additional argument that hormones are mobilized in regard to these events as well. These hormones may include dopamine and serotonin, known as feel-good hormones.

Is it any wonder we are addicted to food when all of our emotions have been tied to it?

Breaking addictions can be difficult indeed. Therefore, to properly get a handle upon, and break, any addiction, including food, we must deal with the roots of the problem. In each of these emotions, action is demanded.

Let’s find new ways to deal with these emotions instead of tying them throughout our lives to food and eating.

Here are some suggestions:-

1. Try A little rest, conversation, and healthy food when dealing with pain. This may involve quiet sitting and relaxing, or even lying down. We can try to talk to a friend or counsellor about the issue. Eating good healthy foods will assist us hormonally and improve our immune system to help us get through the hurt.

2.Whether it be consolation or victory, it does not always have to be food which is our go-to. How about a trip, and activity, or even a spa day? Why not take the kids to the waterpark? Or even a ball game? It does not always have to be around food

3. It is important to celebrate. Let’s celebrate the achievement itself by recognizing the accomplishment. This can be done through video or photo. A little food can be present of course, but let’s make it healthy food. Food that gives us the fuel to feed, hopefully, more celebration in the years to come.

4. Sadness is undoubtedly a tough occasion. No one really enjoys it. As stated, we must deal with it. It does not improve our sadness to decrease our health in the mist of it. Sadness is tough enough, let’s create in our bodies the resiliency to deal with sadness and loss. In this area, healthy foods, and even exercise are a must. Spend time around folks who will lift you up and keep you going.

Dealing with the root of food addiction is mandatory to get relief and healing. Refusal to face, and deal with, the roots will result in more frustration and more addiction.

It is time to get to the bottom of food addiction and root it out!

Dr Mark Sherwood, Naturopathic Doctor (ND) and Dr Michele L. Neil-Sherwood, Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) who have a full-time wellness-based medical practice in Tulsa, called the Functional Medical Institute where they adopt a whole person approach, which is outcome based looking at each individual’s unique needs.

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