Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article (Here is Part 1). We’re diving deeper into ways to overcome a fast-food addiction based on whether the addictive drive is chemical, behavioral, or both. Let’s pick up right where we left off.
Find & Use Stress-Relieving Alternatives
When you feel the urge to get fast food, there are two options. If sugar addiction: this is a chemical craving and resisting the craving will create stress. If eating disorder: the craving is stress manifesting itself.
The natural solution is to find other ways to manage the stress that you would normally solve with fast food. Try stretching out, eating some light non-greasy carbs, and doing something you enjoy. Take a bath. Paint a birdhouse. Listen to (and maybe dance to) your mood-lifting music.
Take Control of Your Home Eating Environment
In some households, going out for fast food is a lot like ducking out for a cigarette. Even more than the addiction, it’s an excuse to escape a stressful indoor environment at home. While you drive to the place, get your order– maybe even eat in the little restaurant — you are not at home. Fast food also processes into quick carbs that are easy to digest when we’re nervous and physically preparing to run away or fight at any moment. So to break the addiction, you need to be comfortable making food and eating at home.
All mammals need peace to eat in a healthy way. In your own home, take control of the kitchen. Clean and re-organize it if necessary to feel in-control. Decorate the table or set yourself a welcoming favorite place to eat. Make the place feel warm and inviting to you and, if you can, take control of who hangs around in your kitchen when you’re making food choices.
If you live with others who create chaos, consider staking out the desk in your room as your dinner table and making an at-home meal ritual that makes you feel relaxed.
Learn to Tolerate Cravings Like a Muscle Ache
For those addicted to the sugar, as most of the population is, you will get cravings. Even if your addiction is mainly behavioral, we all crave the processed sugars and starch in fast food. When you resist your ritual greasy meal or ice-cream treat, you will feel the loss of that sugar high. Learn to identify that feeling and ride it out like a muscle ache. Use media, fun activities, other foods, and relaxation techniques to distract yourself from the cravings while your addiction to sugar fades to a more population-average level.
Strategize Your Sugar Highs
Let’s also be honest that sugar highs are a part of our modern culture. We don’t expect you to quit sugars or processed starches any more than we’d suggest someone fully quit caffeine. Sometimes, sugar highs are useful and fun – with discretion. You can ease the cravings and even safely enjoy some of your fast-food favorites by using a strategy.
Try sugary tea when you start to crave ice-cream, or eat a salty pickle instead of getting fries.
Pre-Package Your Meals for Easy Eating
Last but not least – make eating easy. When you’re fighting an addiction, making decisions is the hardest part. Maybe you have the willpower to not get fast food. But then you’re hungry and don’t know what to eat and all you can think about is what you crave. Here’s where willpower normally breaks down.
Instead, have prepped meals ready to quickly heat & eat. Make yourself sandwiches or even pre-portioned meals ahead of time. Make a tasty casserole you can easily default to scoops of. Keep a pantry of soups you like for quick calories that don’t require thought or fast-food to sate your hunger.
First Steps Recovery is a drug and alcohol addiction rehab center. Sometimes there are correlations between food addiction and substance use disorders. If you have any questions about the connection or are struggling with substance abuse, we can help! Contact us to talk about your challenges or those of someone you love. We look forward to hearing from you. Call us today! 844-489-0836.