Have you struggled with your weight, gone off and on diets, or tend to eat past the point of being full? Try changing the way you think about food. Most of us have hardwired our brains to look forward to foods filled with fat, salt and sugar. These types of foods release “feel good” chemicals in the brain’s reward center and over time, we associate the subtle, yet pleasurable, change in mood with eating certain foods and we also become addicted to these foods.
Here are a few steps to help break this cycle:
- Make the connection between healthy foods and pleasure: This connection will build over time by being mindful of the pleasure of eating healthy foods. What also happens is that you are re-training your taste buds. For example, once you begin to reduce salt in your diet, you will not crave salt and as a result, salty foods will taste extremely salty to you. The same applies with sugar and fats. Begin to view your food not just for pleasure, but more as a drug. This will help put food in a proper perspective – food is pleasurable, yes..but it’s main role is to keep us alive and healthy.
- Practice mindful eating: Pay attention to how the foods you eat taste and feel. Really taste your food, feel the texture and enjoy it. By the time you are finished eating, you will have helped the brain get the message you have had enough food. By focusing on what you’re eating, emotions such as boredom, anxiety, anger, frustration and stress will be less likely control how much you eat.
- Eat: Make sure to eat three meals and two snacks each day. This is important as it stabilizes blood sugar preventing the desire to overeat or making poor health choices. When your blood sugar is balanced, you will not suffer hunger and cravings thereby putting you at the mercy of your environment. You are now in charge – not the other way around. Exercise will also help balance blood sugar. The combination is a powerful elixir for optimal health and weight loss.
- Change Your Environment: When the urge to overeat rears its ugly head, distraction is key. Immediately leave the room, take a walk, read a book, call a friend, play with your children, and most effective is to move your body such as taking a walk. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals that affect your outlook and.. it works like a charm. The important thing to remember is to take action when this happens.
Remember: You can control this! Remind yourself of this often, in a positive way and frequently. This will help set the tone and can act as a tool for gaining control.
The key is in understanding why you overeat, knowing your food triggers, your situational triggers, and then take action by changing your response to the foods that you like but are not so healthy for you.
To Your Good Health…………….