Many people try to watch their weight, and a diet addiction can happen if this desire to look good turns into an obsession with food and body image. A person who is living with a diet addiction tends to equate their self-worth with how they look or the number they see on the scale when they weigh themselves. As a result of these self-esteem issues, the person may become a compulsive eater who binges on food during certain times.
A person living with a diet addiction sees food issues as being "black" or "white." Instead of knowing that there are no "good" or "bad" foods, just choices that are healthier than others. The individual may actually set themselves up for failure when they try to regulate their eating by going on very restrictive diets that don't contain a variety of foods. When they are unable to stick to this style of eating for very long and they have an episode of bingeing on foods, they feel guilty afterward. The person may start eating in secret so that friends, family members, and co-workers don't know what and how much they are eating.
Unfortunately, this sets up a pattern of behavior around food that is very difficult to break. When the person with the diet addiction binges and feels guilty afterward, they may continue to make poor food choices because their self-esteem has taken a hit. They feel that if they were better somehow that they would be able to control their eating habits more effectively.
Ultimately, the way to conquer a diet addiction is to change one's attitude toward food, as opposed to going on a specific diet. With help, a person can conquer their diet addiction and learn not to use food as a way to comfort themselves or relieve stress.