The Celebrity Therapist

The Celebrity Therapist

Comfort Food vs. Food Addiction

Sometimes we get a craving for something sweet. We just want
that sugar and we’ve got to have it. And sometimes we crave something salty.
These kinds of cravings can be our body’s way of telling us what it needs:
sugar for energy or salt for electrolytes. Those are actually healthy cravings
and, in moderation, it can be a good thing to listen to them.

We also get emotional
cravings that have nothing to do with our body’s needs. The smell of pizza will
prompt us to crave it, or watching someone eat ice cream makes us want it too.
Food memories can have powerful emotions linked to them, too. When we’re sick,
we might crave the soup Grandma used to make for us when we had a cold; when
we’re sad, we might crave those cookies mom bought to cheer us up. That’s where
the idea of comfort food comes from.

There’s nothing
particularly unhealthy about feeding yourself comfort foods when you need
comforting. But there is such a thing as food addiction. Not all food addicts
are obese (although many are)—food addiction is more about the strength of the
craving and our ability to control it. So, how do you know when you’ve crossed
the line?

Food addicts are obsessed with food; sometimes
with a particular food, sometimes with eating. They can’t control
themselves—which is the nature of a true obsession. They keep eating even when
they experience negative consequences and guilt or bad feelings as a result.
Their need to eat creates a physical craving, even when they’re not hungry. And
they associate a sense of comfort and pleasure with food that they don’t
believe they can get from anything else.

Food addiction, like
all types of addictions, involve adding something to your life that you believe
is missing—something that you think will fill up an emptiness you’ve long been
struggling to fill. The problem is that when you get the food, the alcohol, the
drugs, the sex, the shoes, the car—whatever you’re craving—it’s never enough.
You still need more.

The Law of Sobriety
says you are already perfectly whole, just as you are. All you need to do is
recognize it. When you do, the energy of the universe will fill you up and keep
you satisfied. You won’t need the cookies.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in private practice and on Celebrity Rehab on VH1 with Dr. Drew Pinsky.  She is a renowned speaker and author of The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery.  Set up your 30 minute consultation by contacting sherry at or go to her web site at or

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