Dear Bianca, I think I might be addicted to food. All I can think about day and night is what Im going to eat next, and when there's food in front of me, I can't stop shoveling it in my mouth.
I'm only slightly overweight, but I'm still young, so I know it'll catch up with me in a few years. With the Christmas season in full swing, my problems are worsening. Free cookies and cakes are everywhere!
Can you give me some advice on how to turn my mind away from food?
-- Dreaming of My Next Meal
As a foodie, I think I understand your problem. When you're passionate about food, it's hard not to think about it. But you can turn your desire to eat into something more productive, yet still food-related.
When I was a kid, I ate whatever I could get my hands on -- entire bags of potato chips, sticks of butter, you name it. I quickly became the chubby kid in my class, but when I realized my problem, I started putting more energy into planning meals. By fifth grade, I was counting calories and making daily meal plans using the Food Guide Pyramid.
That may sound obsessive, but it satisfied my need to think about food without involving me shoveling snacks in my mouth. I began eating healthy foods, which eventually led to daily workouts with my mom.
These days, I manage that addiction in the same way. I plan meals by the week, and I pore over healthy cookbooks like some people do novels. I've also continued to work out several days a week.
If you try these suggestions and still can't manage your eating habits, try visiting one of the local support groups, Food Addicts Anonymous or Overeaters Anonymous. Those groups help serious food addicts beat addiction using the Twelve Steps.
Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at firstname.lastname@example.org.