Is It Habit Or Addiction?

How to know the difference between an unhelpful eating habit or an addiction.

By Maggie Wilde – The Potentialist

I’m often asked by readers and clients whether the unhelpful eating pattern they’re challenged by is a habit or an addiction. Either way, most clients find it hard at first to overcome these patterns without taking three very important factors into account.

1. Whether their motivation to change (their ‘Why’) is strong enough
2. Whether they have the skills to switch off the brain wiring causing the urge or craving
3. Whether they have created a supportive environment have the help they need as the change takes place

To help you address the quandary of whether the unhelpful eating patterns are an addiction that has physiological impact, or whether it’s all simply an unhelpful habit (e.g. an urge or craving caused by repetitive stimulation of a neural pathway at certain times of the day), I’ve provided two short videos that outline the differences.

Hopefully by understanding this a little, it will help you distinguish between the two and give you a few tips to start making the change you choose.

If in doubt.. you can of course always ask for help by emailing

The Habitual Eater

The Automated Addictive Eater

To understand the difference is step 1
To choose to do something about changing either pattern is step 2
To ask for help if you need it is step 3
To focus on your ‘why’ is a step you need to focus on daily… multiple times per day.

Remember, your brain doesn’t understand the difference between real and imagined. Whatever your attention is focused on, your brain accepts as happening right here and right now (just like if you experience ‘leaky’ eyes when watching a sad movie – you know logically it’s not real, but your brain still stimulates a sad reaction).

So by continuing to focus on what you want to achieve instead…your ‘why’ change…your brain can be ‘tricked’ into believing you’ve already got it. Whether your goal is better health, vitality, a slimmer you, more energy and motivation, new jeans, a sun-kissed body in a swimming costume… or joyfully choosing the healthiest option and the smaller portion because it makes you feel great…

It doesn’t matter what motivates you, we’re all different. The thing that matters is that you focus on that ‘why’ regularly and ‘trick’ your brain into developing a new healthier habit until that behavior becomes so deeply rewired that it becomes your new default brain wiring (new habit).

Until you become the kind of person who automatically reaches for the healthy options… because you want to, no longer because you have to…

Unleashing Your Potential

Maggie Wilde – The Potentialist