I've been reading and waiting for a personal revelation in the food reward discussions. I continue to read Guyenet, Stanton, Roberts, the blogs/controversies etc. to try and understand my affinity for the cheetoe and peanut butter cup—or any hyper-palatable food. Interspersed with my bone broth, meat and veggies I fall off the wagon at least once a week--sometimes days at a time.
My twist is that I’m almost 10 years recovered alcoholic. Awhile back I realized… "I eat like I drank.” I feel a physical/mental/emotional urge. Willpower does not seem to work very well at these times. Stress and anticipation of stress is usually the only drive. My first “alcoholic” style drinking started my senior year of college when I discovered some pulls off the Jim Beam bottle at 7 am made it a lot easier to take my semester final that day. After that I used alcohol like an intravenous drip to “calm me down” for work or whatever—all day long. After 7 years and fatty liver I finally hit bottom.
I've used food the same these past 10 years. If I know I’m going to have a really stressful day at work I’ll calm myself with food. If I stay Paleo I’ll employ the likes of eggs, cheese, bacon and ribeye. This has served me well more than anything else—decreases my cravings. If I go “cafeteria diet” I’ll eat chocolate, cheetoes and whatever. I pay for it the next day with the full blown stomach ache and puffy face.
I got sober in AA and we don’t rationalize the disease. It’s chemical/physical…not emotional or cultural or situational. My Dad is also a recovered alcoholic. My reward pathway must be stimulated by the same dopamine response as the drinking?
We hit bottom as boozers and then forge a deep condition with a higher power that fills the void. I don’t think I’m going to hit bottom with food anytime soon. Right now I’m what we drunks call a dry drunk. I’m trying to manage it without the same steps I use for sobriety. And honestly...I don't think creating a pseudo-12 step program for this is really going to work.
I truly want to conquer this. I'm a year Paleo-mostly low carbish with fermented food and dairy. I’d like to continue losing another 20 pounds or so…but mainly I just want control over myself--and I know there is an answer or combination of strategies from you smart people that may work.
Anybody have any experiences, ideas or suggested plans? Big or little suggestions…every little bit helps.
Your problem is not necessarily dopamine, I recommend supplements that act on GABA. L-Theanine (not to be confused with Threonine) operates on both GABA as well as catecholamines such as Norepinephrine I believe). Its derived from green tea btw.
Raising other neurotransmitters you need more of can naturally cause a decrease in others that may be too high. Everyone is different, so can't really say what will work, but recommend you experiment but also be careful while experimenting.
Also try Natural Calm magnesium supplements as they are known to do as they say (night works best as you might fall asleep).
There may be other good ones but these are the ones that come to mind.
Do stay away from diet drinks or foods containing aspartame/nutrasweet. Half of that sweetener is a precursor for dopamine.
I wonder if you are lacking some vitamin or mineral that makes you go off the wagon and crave other things? Can you list your foods for a few days? Maybe someone can find a nutritional void...