If we consider how much time we spend in the company of family, friends, acquaintances or co-workers, it may be worth noting that research shows that we can actually “catch” processed food addiction from our social circles. While processed food addiction is not caught in the same way as an airborne virus, eating behavior patterns are indeed “contagious”.
Have you ever struggled to remain consistent on a new diet plan because you were the only one in the house trying to eat clean? Or perhaps you’ve tried to eat clean while your circle of friends found it unthinkable that you would “deprive” yourself of eating sugary treats with them? Or have you had difficulty avoiding the junk food in the breakroom at work because your co-workers convinced you to take a break from your diet “just for today”?
The above are just 3 of many scenarios where the eating behaviours of our social networks can influence our food choices.
Scientific findings reveal 3 paths for spreading food addiction through social circles.
This understanding also provides good news. It highlights an important aspect of the path to recovery from processed food addiction. If we spend quality time building resonance with a social network that prioritises clean eating and focuses on the daily strategies and tools for recovery, we can conform to clean eating as well.
That’s right! Conformance drive works both ways. We can either conform to addictive behaviour, or to recovery.
In the Addiction Reset Community - ARC, we are using the understanding of this neuroscience to counteract the negative effects of social circles that spread addiction.
“I really like that we take it at my own pace. I have been scared of going too fast. I listen to real people who are in the same situation. I understand them, and they understand me. I finally feel at home because of the depth of understanding. Dr. Ifland did her homework while writing the textbook and she really gets what I’m comfortable doing, and not yet ready to do. She never pushes me. I gently get to a place of being ready to do something easily and then I do it. I’m always trying new activities because I get results. Because I have time to get ready, it’s much easier than any other program I’ve ever been in. I’m happy to stick with this because it’s easy and actually fun. I’ve always done something right because the emphasis is on learning. I’m always learning from everything I do so it’s always well-received. I feel good instead of being made to feel bad like I’m always making mistakes. There are no mistakes in this program, just discovery events.”
I am a busy Mom of 2 young children and have a very stressful job. No matter how often I try, I can’t seem to stay on a clean food meal plan. How can I stop the stress stress-eating?
Stress is associated with overeating because stress brain cells lie close to the addicted brain cells. So when stress cells are activated, they then activate the addicted cells. We're not actually stress-eating, we're addictively eating in response to stress. If you get support to put the addiction into remission and learn new ways to manage your stress, it will be easier to abstain from addictive food and eat clean.
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