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Stopping Eating Versus Stopping Drinking Alcohol

Abstract: Why can´t I stop eating, just like an alcoholic can stop drinking?

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Stopping Eating Versus Stopping Drinking Alcohol

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Question(s): 
Written by: Gunborg Palme, certified psychologist and certified psychotherapist, teacher and tutor in psychotherapy.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 13 Aug 2008.

Why can't I stop eating, just like an alcoholic can stop drinking?

Answer:

The difference between alcoholism and food abuse is not so great.

The alcoholic cannot stop drinking water, since that would kill him. But he must give up alcohol unless he wants to die from alcoholism.

The compulsive overeater must stop overeating and eating unhealthy food, but should not stop eating healthy food.

The alcoholic drinks alcohol because it reduces anxiety and gives a kick. Water doesn't do this. You drink it to satisfy the body's need for fluid. When you are not thirsty anymore, you don't want more water. In a similar way, the food addict stuffs himself with fat and sugar in order to diminish physical or emotional feelings of discomfort; wholesome food does not give the same kind of kick. When you are satisfied, it is no longer fun to eat.

The reason for drinking should be to give the body the fluid it needs. The reason for eating is to give the body the nourishment it needs.

Alcoholics need to adapt their lives to overcoming alcoholism, e.g., by not having any alcohol at home and not visiting restaurants and parties where alcohol is available, etc. In the same way, those who abuse food should only have wholesome food at home. They should try to get friends who are also happy with this and also want to avoid junk food. Do not shop for junk food, i e food with lots of sugar and fat, or food which otherwise causes an unhealthy craving for too much food. Do not have any such food at home. Find friends who agree with, or at least accept, your healthy eating ideas.

Just as alcoholics need to avoid people who drink, a person who is trying to overcome unhealthy food habits should avoid friends who eat unhealthy junk food.

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