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For years, you may have struggled with your problems with food, eating and body weight. You have tried every diet, and they all work for a bit, but sooner or later you “fall apart” or “fall off” and cannot seem to get back on track. The foods that are the most attractive to you are the ones you know you should not eat or the ones you know you cannot stop eating. What’s going on here? You are an intelligent, well educated man or woman, but you cannot seem to get a handle on what is really happening with you and food. Maybe you decide today to skip breakfast, then eat a healthy lunch and dinner. But by dinnertime you are bingeing. Or maybe you make it through the day but as night falls, you start eating and cannot stop. Or maybe it is the jar of M&M’s on your office mate’s desk that tortures you all day long. Or maybe there’s a cake in the break room that you cannot stay away from. What is the real problem? Let’s start with this assessment. Here is a little test I created, modeling a test the physicians use for another illness. I’m not sure if it will work for anyone; It’s not scientifically validated or anything like that, but just answer the questions yes/no/often/sometimes and see how you feel about whether this questionnaire fits you. I suspect about half of America fits part of this test, because we can be physically sensitive to many things, and processed, man-made foods are everywhere. We can also be sensitive to colors, additives, and other residues in our foods. But just for fun, check it out and tell me how it feels.


Physicians and Psychiatrists have a special manual named the DSM-V that they use to decide if a person has a particular illness. They use it for all kinds of illnesses, but I took the test for “substance use dependence” and turned it into food use and gave you a few examples, similar to what people with refined, processed food sensitivities have shared with me.  So here is the “test”. Look at these areas of your life and tell yourself if they apply to you.


  1. Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than the you meant to.

Do you often eat more of certain foods than you intended? Need to finish the bag? Struggle to stop when you know you have had enough?

  1. Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not managing to.

Have you tried twenty ways to change your eating, and not been able to? Or done it for a bit, but gone back to destructive eating?

  1. Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance.

Do you plan when and where you will be able to eat in an unrestrained way? Set up your day so you can eat? Eat so much you need a nap?

  1. Cravings and urges to use the substance

Do you have strong cravings for certain foods, obsess about them, eat them to get the thoughts out of your head?

  1. Not managing to do what you should at work, home or school, because of substance use

Does the cake in the kitchen distract you from your work? Do you avoid or go happily to certain situations because of the food?

  1. Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships

Has your food, eating, or body weight caused problems in your relationships with yourself or your loved ones?

  1. Giving up important social, occupational or recreational activities because of substance use

Have you skipped family or other social events because of the food or your weight?

  1. Using substances again and again, even when it puts the you in danger

Has food or eating ever put you in a difficult, dangerous, or embarrassing situation? Like going through a stop sign or a red light because you were eating and did not notice it?

  1. Continuing to use, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the substance

Do you have a medical condition that is made worse by your continued use of certain foods?

  1. Needing more of the substance to get the effect you want (tolerance)

Have you noticed that three cookies used to be enough, then you needed five or seven, now it’s a whole sleeve?

  1. Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance.

When you stop eating your favorite foods, do you have periods of depression? Anxiety? Irritability? Headaches? Diarrhea? Constipation? Mood swings? Anger?

The doctor’s rules would say two or three yes answers to these questions indicate a mild substance use disorder, four or five symptoms indicate a moderate substance use disorder, and six or more symptoms indicate a severe substance use disorder.

My question is, do you meet these standards? The only person who has to know this is you. You are the one who needs to know what the real problem is.

And I want to be sure you realize that we are talking about a physical allergy here. This is not about your strength of will or strength of character. This is a physical sensitivity to certain refined, processed, and man-made foods. It is often called food addiction, or processed food addiction. This is why diets will only work for short periods, and you cannot keep the weight off. This is why you may struggle and be frustrated by foods, eating, and maintaining your body weight. It is primarily physical, but anything physical will also have mental, emotional, and spiritual effects. The same way a cold can make you tired, depressed, and short tempered, this stuff can prevent you from getting the life you really want.

It’s not your fault. Maybe you inherited it, maybe it’s a food allergy unique to you. It’s not your fault, but we do have to deal with it.  Please don’t get discouraged; you can do this with help. I’m able to show you several ways of getting free of this.

So, stay tuned to the weekly blog, fun and good things are coming.

And leave me a comment; tell me what you think and what you need.

Blessings to you,




12 Responses to WHAT IS THE REAL PROBLEM?????

  1. Anita March 27, 2018 at 11:23 am #

    I have experienced at least 8. Your strong reminder that it’s a physical allergy is just right!

    • H. Theresa Wright March 27, 2018 at 3:48 pm #

      So glad you like it.

  2. Nancy Cioto March 27, 2018 at 12:45 pm #

    WOW! Theresa, this is a powerful questionnaire. Of course, I answered yes and or often to all of them. I am on the road to recovery and I must always remember that I have a severe substance use disorder! Thank you for your blogs and support!!

    • H. Theresa Wright March 27, 2018 at 3:47 pm #

      Nancy, I am glad you are on the road to recovery! Yes, remember this is a physical sensitivity.

  3. Cari Heumann March 27, 2018 at 1:38 pm #

    Theresa, thank you so much for posting this blog. Even after 5 years in recovery, I still need to be reminded of the fact that this is a physical allergy and not my fault or a reflection of my character. It also reminds me that no matter how long I am abstinent, I will always be powerless over this physical allergy (and the mental twist that comes along with it!!). That being said, I am very grateful that there are ways of living in freedom from the nightmare of food addiction. I have much gratitude and appreciation for all of your knowledge, skill, patience, and care that you have given me throughout the years!

    • H. Theresa Wright March 27, 2018 at 3:46 pm #

      You are welcome. So glad you liked it.

  4. Fiona March 27, 2018 at 6:13 pm #

    I. Ticked yes to all of those boxes .. Trying with all my might to gain acceptance that I’m powerless . Relieved to have found your forum Theresa X thank you

    • H. Theresa Wright March 30, 2018 at 7:49 pm #

      Did you read the powerlessness blog? This is hard to do, remember that acceptance is not approval, just acknowledgement of truth as you see it.

  5. Carmen March 29, 2018 at 3:47 pm #

    Thanks for this blog. I’m always trying but no sucsess

    • H. Theresa Wright March 30, 2018 at 7:47 pm #

      I’m sorry you are struggling so. What do you think keeps you from success?

  6. brenda firebaugh September 11, 2022 at 5:50 pm #

    So helpful. Yes, this is not my fault but I do have to deal with it! This makes so much sense now, I have an allergy to certain foods, never knew what was wrong with me.

    • H. Theresa Wright September 11, 2022 at 7:22 pm #

      Wonderful.Now that you know what the problem is, finding the solution is easier. And even though the solution is hard work, the results are worth it! Good Luck!

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