Fast Food Addiction in Teenagers - Health Tips

Shaun DMello
Shirley Johanna
Article Reviewed by Dietitian Shirley Johanna, M.Sc, M.Phil
Last Updated on Mar 01, 2019
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Health Tips

Here are some tips and strategies that may help you overcome your food addiction:

  • Acknowledge your addiction: The first step to overcoming alcoholism is to accept that you have a problem with alcohol and that you are an alcoholic. The same principle applies to every other form of addiction, food addiction included.
  • Strengthen your resolve and prepare yourself: Giving up an addiction is a tremendous challenge and will cause you significant physical and psychological discomfort. Be prepared for difficulties and you will find it easier to cope with the struggle of withdrawal when it hits you. If your resolve is strong and you manage to hold the fort, the discomfort will pass, as your body will adjust to the changes within a few days or a week.
  • Sleep well: Make sure that you get enough shut-eye because sleep deprivation increases food cravings and it also causes depression, fatigue and other psychological conditions that will weaken your resolve.
  • Healthy snacks: Many of us tend to binge on unhealthy foods in between meals. While lunch and dinner usually comprise of regular home cooked meals, we snack on chips, wafers, nachos, tacos, fries, burgers and other junk food items between meals. Make it a point to ditch such snacks altogether and instead satisfy your food cravings with some healthy alternatives like nuts and pulses. Chickpeas are a great option because they are low in calories and high in protein.
  • Make your house a Ďno junk foodí zone: While youíre making an effort to switch to healthy snacking options, clean out your kitchen and make sure no junk foods enter the house. Itís much easier to resist temptation when itís not right there in front of you. If youíre living alone, this shouldnít be tough, but it can be challenging to get the family on board.
  • Get your family and friends on board: While your friends and family might not need to go on a diet or give up junk food altogether, it would be great if they were supportive and didnít just encourage you to give up such foods, but actually accompanied you on your journey. Having the support of your friends and family can make it a lot easier to overcome addiction. While members of your household donít need to ditch the pizzas and cookie altogether, it would be great if they didnít get that food into the house and didnít order such foods when you eat out.
  • No more sugar: Eliminate all foods that contain sugar from your diet. That includes the biscuits, cookies, pastries, ice-cream, chocolate, fruit juices, sodas and even your morning cup of tea. You can still have unsweetened fresh fruit juices and unsweetened sorbets or chocolates, but only naturally sweet foods, no artificial sweeteners allowed. Refined sugar can trigger food cravings and until youíve overcome your addiction thereís no point in tempting fate.
  • No shame in paper bags: Thereís no shame in carrying food with you in paper bags or containers. Carry healthy snacks and drinks with you when you will be out for extended periods so that youíre not tempted to stop at that drive through or pizza joint on your way home.
  • Scaling down: Quitting cold turkey doesnít work for everyone and many succumb to the temptation and find themselves back at square one. To avoid this vicious cycle, try to restrict your intake of addictive foods gradually. It is absolutely important, however, that you stick to these restrictions and that you continue to cut down gradually. If you normally order a 14-inch inch pizza, for example, limit yourself to an 8-inch pizza.
  • Ask for help: Food addiction, obesity and depression are all part of a vicious cycle and they feed off each other. If you find it hard to cope with your feelings and use food as a source of comfort, visit a counselor or psychologist. Support groups can also offer a lot of help, as others will share similar experiences and provide you with practical information that works.
  • References:

    1. Rada, N.M.Avena, B.G. Hoebel, Daily bingeing on sugar repeatedly releases dopamine in the accumbens shell, Neuroscience, Volume 134, Issue 3, 2005, Pages 737-744, ISSN 0306-4522.

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