Is Food Your Substance?


Most of us are aware of alcohol, drugs and gambling as mood altering devices, but what about food? Since food is an essential part of living, it is very hard to distinguish it from other addictions. We can not eliminate it completely like we do other substances or activities. How do you know when you have crossed the line from eating for health and enjoyment to eating as a salve to life?

Some questions to ask yourself are: Do I enjoy what I am eating? Can I stop eating it after I have had a reasonable amount? Is my reasonable amount the same as what other people would consider a reasonable amount? Do I continue to eat even though I am full (and it’s not Thanksgiving)? Do I eat because I am bored, stressed, anxious, angry, frustrated, happy etc.? Do I know how to celebrate without eating? Do I use food as a reward; do I believe I deserve the treat? Do I think about food or my weight most of the day? If my favorite foods are in front of me, do I obsess about having one more? Do I eat the entire package until there is nothing left and do I feel disappointed when it’s gone? Do I make midnight emergency trips to the store to get my favorite stuff? Do I feel guilty after I eat? Do I worry if my clothes will fit tomorrow morning? Do I promise to start a diet tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes? Do I plan my last great binge before starting the next diet?

Since we have to eat to live, it is very difficult to distinguish when food has crossed the line from being necessary to being abused. If food and weight are causing you anguish, you are probably trying to have food solve issues for you that food is not capable of solving. So what’s the answer? Or better yet, what’s the question? Do you tell yourself, if I were thin then I would have…? or I would be able to ….?

The question is, why are you eating more than you need? If you didn’t eat the extra food, what would you be doing? How would you be coping with life’s ups and downs? If you already lost the weight and no longer needed to think about it, what goal would you be going for? The key here is not to concentrate on food but to concentrate on what it is you would like to be doing and achieving. As you go for your goals, the reasons you eat will be revealed to you. As an example, you will notice when you go for the candy bar instead of making the sales call or when you decide eating chips is a more immediate need than telling your spouse that when he does X, he makes you angry. There are other ways to deal with these emotions. The automatic habit of turning to food can be broken.

We all need support in this process; if it were easy you would already have been doing it. Becoming aware of when and why you eat and what type of foods you go for is the beginning of taking your control back. You then need to look at what can replace the food. What you can do instead of eating to cope with the situation. You do not need to be food’s victim. You can reclaim your life, your power and your energy. Using food to solve life’s problems did not happen overnight, so reversing this will be a process as well. It takes awareness, willingness and commitment. It also means you need a goal that is bigger than weight loss and food control. Looking at what you want to achieve, what will bring fulfillment and happiness to your life is your real goal. Start by making a contract with yourself and get support to stick to the contract.

Commitment Contract

I, ________________________________, hereby make known my intention to have the following life goals manifest.

1. _______________________________________________

2. _______________________________________________

3. _______________________________________________

4. _______________________________________________

5. _______________________________________________

The reason I want these things are:




To assist the world in creating this in my life, I agree to take the following actions:




I am free to change any item listed above, as I see fit and based on my ever growing and changing life experiences. I agree to implement these plans to the best of my ability. If I choose not to follow through, I understand that I risk having my intentions not manifest. I can only hold myself responsible in this matter.

______________________________________ ____________

(Your Signature) (Date)

______________________________________ ____________

(Witness Signature) (Date)

To receive support and coaching towards the goals you want, contact Ada Gimlan at 347 678-7486 or

Supportive Activities (things to do instead of eating)

Actions that help me when I’m having a hard time:

Talking to or e-mailing my Coach

Call a friend

Going for a walk

Writing in a journal

Punching a pillow

Getting a hug

Taking a bath

Listening to music


Deep breathing exercises

Add your own

Actions that are not helpful:

Eating to soothe feelings

Negative self talk

Regretting the past

Comparing self to others

Add your own

Ada Gimlan is a Weight Loss and Recovery Coach. After years of yo-yo dieting, Ada has lost a significant amount of weight and has kept it off for over 6 years (and counting). She learned that it is not about willpower, but about self discovery, spirituality and reclaiming your own inner wisdom and voice. To learn more go to [] Receive a free Daily Checklist that will keep you moving towards your goals, by signing up for my newsletter [].

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

Losing weight will keep you healthy and have a long life. Cheer Up!

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