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Busayo Oderinde: Curbing Food Addictions

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My sister is the inspiration for this article. For the past fourteen going on fifteen years, she has not had ANY carbonated drink. I repeat… ANY carbonated drink. To understand this, it includes, but is not limited to Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Fanta, Lacasera. She doesn’t drink it any of the drinks in this family.

She said while she was in Uni, she realised she was addicted to fizzy drinks especially Coke. A day could not go by without her drinking. She said she didn’t feel good about it. She wasn’t overweight or unhealthy, but she had a problem with her teeth and it led to her making the decision. She started with Coke, then she cut ALL carbonated drinks completely. And that was it, fourteen years after, she still doesn’t drink it, all she takes is juice or water.

Every time it boggles my mind or when I’m enjoying a cold, scratch that, a CHILLED bottle of coke (I am a borderline coke addict, I can’t imagine giving it up), I turn to her with an incredulous expression and ask ‘Don’t you even miss it? And she says every time, ‘not even in the least’.
But you know the irony of the whole thing? She still has a food addiction which I find totally weird. She is addicted to pouring dry foods in her mouth, garri in particular. Weird, right? This one I don’t get and it even turns me off.

Mine is chocolates! I love them. I have a sweet tooth that is legendary. I’m so easy to please when it comes to chocolates, anything with chocolates will do; cookies, chocolate covered this, chocolate filled that, it’s all fine. My ex boo used to look at me in wonder when I finish a whole jumbo box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates in a sitting. Everyone knows of my love for chocolates. If you want to please me, you are already there with chocolates. If I can’t afford the high end chocolates, I go to my neighbourhood mall am to hook me up, thanks to Asia, we have so many cheap imitations of the popular brands in the market.

That got me thinking, is it that easy to give up food you love because it is not doing you good. Is it simply replacing it with another like in her case? Is it just a case of mind over matter? Willpower? Weighing the pros and cons and choosing the healthy option. If it were that easy, everybody would eat healthy and the junk food industry will be out of business.

These high sugar, fat filled, empty calorie foods are now regular features in our lives. The negative effects are apparently not a deterrent. We consume them as much as we can, they are constantly in our faces, and need I talk about the options in Lagos traffic talk less of the average supermarket. Trust me, story for another day.
The question is once you know you are addicted to a particular food that does you no good, what do you do about it? How do you stop? Or do you just replace it with something a little less damaging like in my sister’s case.
Another addiction of mine is chewing ice cubes. People say it’s dangerous for my teeth but I can’t be bothered. It does something for me I can’t explain. Figure I will stop if it gets to that dangerous point. Why do we indulge knowingly in things that do us no good?

There are people who resort to deceiving themselves. I knew a woman who drank a bottle of Pepsi every day. But to make herself feel good, she diluted it with two parts of water. I used to laugh silently and think how does this help? You still have the sugar content in your body. My own cheat is I try and drink a lot of green tea. I hope this counteracts all the sugar from the chocolates.

Another form of deceit is going for low fat, low sugar options. This in my humble opinion is very dangerous. Most of these products are loaded with harmful chemicals like aspartame and acesulfame. These are chemicals that your body sometimes have no idea on how to metabolize. I would take the original coke and walk a few extra miles to burn the sugar than take Coke zero.

So how do we curb food addictions? Research showed me all sorts which I will try and shed more light on. Some are quite logical and others just hilarious.

Exercise
I mean this is a no brainer. Exercise is good for you. It releases endorphins, the feel good hormones and the logic is if you feel good, you will be reluctant to put damaging substances into your mouth.

Good Social Life
Depression, loneliness, heartbreak and self-esteem issues lead to food addiction. Having a good and active social life, having friends who love you or being engaged in rewarding activities curbs the cravings.
Bottom-line, be engaged, do something else.

A Better Alternative
This is also very helpful. For someone with a sweet tooth, anytime I get the craves, I try and eat fruit or mixed nuts. It might not be exactly what I want but at that exact moment, it helps me get my mind off it.

Having a Support System
I think this is really important. A support system helps you when the going gets rough because not everyone has the willpower to stop something. The system is your mirror and shows you the effect your addiction is having on you. In other countries, there are so many support groups you could join to help you end the addiction. For most of us in Nigeria, it’s our friends and family.

Ice Cold Water Therapy
This was a funny one but it is said it is effective. When you have your food urges, what you do is get a bowl of ice cold water and dunk your head into it for about ten to thirty seconds. It is said that this will reset your brain (whatever that means) and kill the crave. Funny.

Meditation
I found out that if you learn to calm your mind and think positive thoughts and all that, you will overcome. This was hilarious. Honestly, anytime I reach for chocolate, I should begin to chant and hum?! But I am not one to judge…whatever floats your boat.

Prayer
Need I say more? We are a religious bunch and readily turn to prayer about to resolve issues in our lives? How many times have you heard someone say ‘I prayed about it and I stopped eating this or that’? I have heard it several times so I believe it works.

But there are people who deceive themselves, have you ever seen the hilarious skit from Yomi Black’s Film Company; where Michelle Dede covered a bottle of alcoholic STAR with the blood of Jesus and believed it was now turned into Orange juice. Trust me, there people out there who are guilty of this. Don’t be one; remember what I said about deceit earlier.

So, what food addictions have you battled with or are battling with? How did you overcome or what’s your on-going strategy? Please feel free to share.

Have a lovely week. Love and Chocolates.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Rocketclips, Inc.

My name is Busayo, a Food Enthusiast, I love love food, its a huge passion for me and I believe Chocolates make the world a happier place. Feel free to contact me via email, [email protected]

20 Comments

  1. pretty

    March 26, 2015 at 3:29 am

    My food cravings usually come late at night. I make sure I ve fruits to curb them. I had to reduce my intake of carbonated drinks when my dad was diagnosed with diabetes. I am still working on a healthy eating habit.

  2. Happyface

    March 26, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Busride! Yay!!!

  3. Moesha

    March 26, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Excellent write up. My food cravings comes when am depressed, sad and lonely.
    Thanks for the tips. Wld apply it ASAP.

  4. oy

    March 26, 2015 at 8:59 am

    thanks a lot. this is useful

  5. myssmyss

    March 26, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I try as much as i can to stay away from carbonated drinks…. I take water like my whole life depends on it…. I LOVE rice… I can eat white rice in d mrn, jollof in d afternoon and fried or ‘concusion rice’ at night…… it means i can eat carbohydrate d whole day which is not good for the body at all…. What i do now is to mix it with beans…

  6. Esserocks

    March 26, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Right now am battling with rice and pasta, i couldn’t go a day without rice, noodles or pasta but i need to lose weight and was told to sacrifice that craving which am doing right now. So i eat rice just on Sundays now for the past 3 weeks i hope am able to keep this up tho, its not easy sha ooo. God is my strength

  7. amy

    March 26, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Mine is biscuits…. I love it a lot… So I try wit fruits at nite before going to bed

  8. Friday's Other Child

    March 26, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Good on your sister for cutting out carbonated drinks, but I was surprised to find out recently while watching a programme on TV that some fruit juices, even the 100% pure/freshly squeezed fruit juices can contain just as much sugar as carbonated drinks.

    I’m a huge fan of fresh fruit smoothies (primarily because I struggle to eat most fruit in solid form), but was also surprised to find out that even these might be harmful in the long run to my health. This Guardian article has more information: theguardian.com/society/2013/sep/07/smoothies-fruit-juices-new-health-risk.

    Everything in moderation I guess, but sometimes when we think we are making wise food choices, there are still unintended health consequences.

  9. Moyo

    March 26, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Finally, I am not the only one that likes pouring dry garri in the mouth. It’s like an addiction for me and I do both the yellow and white garri. I also like drinking garri so much that my mum thinks I should see a doctor. Lol. In fact my latest fetish now is to try drinking yellow garri with cold water and sugar. Am I weird ? Dr Craig to the rescue. Of course I have the usual chocolates craving but I can control my fizzy drinks habits, I just drink water.

  10. Jennie

    March 26, 2015 at 11:28 am

    I use to be a huge fan of junk food. You name it…. meatpies,doughnuts, and almost anything made with flour and sugar with a chilled bottle of coke was my addiction. I started to gain weight and moved from 73kg to 85kg and I realized that was a serious problem so I had to cut down seriously. Exercise is very important so i started to work out very often but the cravings still remained so I came up with a new idea. I have something I call my “cheat system” I pick one day of the week( just one day) and just one piece of junk to eat and to be honest this helps me not to quickly quit my dieting and working out and go back to my old ways. Truth is its not been easy but I’m down to 75kg again and I feel good about it. Still working though.

  11. oluchy

    March 26, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I LOVEEEE viji milk {chocolate} and sprite for fast energy, will try and reduce them ooo. My health is important plus will also save money sef.

  12. Anon

    March 26, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    I am a sweet tooth. I have curbed fizzy drinks, yoghurts, cheese, bread, pork, you name it. But i can’t curb the sweet things. What i do is i tend to eat them early. As early as 11 am so i can burn the calories as the day goes on by taking walks and climbing flights of stairs at work instead of taking the lifts. Not an inch gained.

    Friday’s other child – I started making mine. My own home made smoothies and fruit juice. Invest in a smoothie machine and a juicer. Once I am going into the office, I make them the night before and drink them once I get in. That way you aren’t adding anything extra to them. You will also have fun with varieties.

  13. faith

    March 26, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Lol.. my food cravings is garri. . My life is not complete without that sweet taste of soup and garri rolling down my oesophagus.
    I don’t understand chocolates & sodas.. its not in my dictionary.
    I’m a certified bush girl.

    • Shopperoflife

      March 26, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      @faith l get you. A day without Eba is a wasted day!!!

  14. Blessmyheart

    March 26, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    My ‘addictions’ change often. I had a period of pringles addiction, then shortbread, then chocolates, ice cream, fruits and fibre cereal, plantain chips, peanut burger, etc. I go weeks or months eating so much of these items everyday and then my taste changes to something else.

  15. chichi

    March 26, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    chinchin o! my ex used to tease that i was born in a chinchin factory.
    i’ve basically quit, i wont go out and buy it, but if someone in my house buys it, well… the other is groundnut. i wont even lie, that one is in my genes, we are all addicts in my house

  16. slimqueenie

    March 27, 2015 at 11:03 am

    From blue bunny ice cream to all pasteries (except doughnuts, hate those sh$#) then to rice and pastas! the addiction is real! funny enough I have successfully curbed fizzy drinks sha oo like 80%. I try going on carb fasting…..then I try not eating them carbs at all and turning into a villain in the end! chai!
    I am still working on making better choices though, working out is not hard…self discipline over “overeating” is.
    So, I am not alone ehn?!!

  17. Abby Scuito

    March 31, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Dude….its CHOCOLATE!!!!! Girls best friend….come on now lol. Also study shows that “Dark Chocolate” is good for the heart. So yall can indulge in that….but in moderation ooooo

  18. Taiwo Adeyemo

    September 5, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    My addiction is dry crunchy super sour garri. It is so bad that I don’t remember to eat food as I usually sit with a sizeable bowl of dry garri, sometimes with groundnut.
    Sugar, coke, and all those other junk food, I can do without. But my precious garri, I must have it o.

  19. Steve roller

    December 17, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Now

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