The desire to eat is a hedonistic terminal desire, and a biological imperative driven desire. Few people have the will power to fast for extended periods, and shallow cuts take more will power than deep cuts. By shallow and deep cuts I mean shallow of perhaps 200 calories/day, while deep of perhaps 1000 calories/day. I am not sure how much more will power than cutting is required for fasting, but I expect it is considerable or considerable distraction is undertaken at the same time. I have never been able to fast long, except when I had to drink that stuff for a colonoscope, which the medical profession almost killed me with.
Programs like OA can help for a distraction and may help considerably for some but it does not help other forms of the overeating problems. It is not a single cause. It does seem to help with the maladaptive moral behavior issues, and the relationship based issues, perhaps even stress, which are the issues that are really addressed by the steps. For those of us who know that there is no god, and at best god is a concept that lends itself well to acceptance of a problem, and acceptance of the inability to deal with the problem, and thereby stopping struggling, when the problem is the struggling, it does help on the maturing out of the issue. See Stranton Peele for the full description of this problem. These programs do not help where there is a real physical drive to overeat, and the only solution is going against our nature and our desires on a ongoing basis. We need to accept that the problem is real and physical, and learn to not succumb to that miserable desire.
In reticent time, it has become increasingly difficult to resist the desire and the nouns are disappearing. I never was good at spelling, but I can no longer write much without google to look up words. I expect this is all connected with the onset of dementia, although I have not been diagnosed.
Hedonistic terminal desire, according to William B. Irvine, Desire, are the strongest desires, as these have direct rewards. In addition, all these type of appetite desires feed directly into the "serial" side of our brain, so some of us also struggle to change once we start down that path, because "neurons that fire together wire together", for what ever that is worth. This is the hallmark of addiction.
In most addictions, the desire reduces with abstinence from the substance. With food this is not happen for many, and practical long term, and salad with horrible of just tolerable dressing just does not cut it for long. It is one way to reduce consumption if there is nothing else available. Salads with just tolerable dressing is one way that I have used for weight loss.
The medical and addiction world has nothing to offer food addicts other than "faith in god" bullshit, and some counseling from the "believers". All local AAA meetings and Smart meetings are a bunch of sugar sucking, sugar pushing, alternative to alcohol cravings pushers, and that is not useful to a food addict. The books from Smart do not address the physical desire issue, as abstinence from food is not possible, and its explanation is not really correct, but the suggested plan is the only approach they have.
Meditation has an effect on many things but the effect on physical driven desires are minimal and do not last beyond the end of meditative state. So once we have sufficient food and philological information, what is the solution. Gut bacteria seem OK. This problem started by the time I was 6 years old, and it has never left.
So that leaves me where I are today, desiring to eat without end, and gaining. So what is the solution? Is there one? Does it even matter?