Have you ever noticed that it’s harder to stop eating some foods than others?
Researchers at Rutgers University* are beginning to understand some of the neurological reasons for this – and their research can inform us too.
It seems that fatty foods produce higher levels of dopamine in our brain. This is a neurotransmitter that signals our brain’s reward system to keep on doing whatever we are doing at the moment. Keep on eating that pie or ice cream or pizza or fries…because eating them feels very rewarding!
Until, of course, it doesn’t.
This new research is compelling and can help us in several ways:
1. PLAN AHEAD – When you choose to eat a brain-grabbing-food, intentionally decide ahead of time how much of it you will be glad you’ve eaten. Choosing a reasonable portion before you dig in will be easier than trying to reign yourself in after the munching has begun.
2. CHOOSE FOODS THAT DON’T CREATE A BRAIN BATTLE – You can create a vast, fantastically delicious**, nutrient-rich menu that gives you the vitality and taste you want – without fighting your brain over it.
If you want to stay away from foods that make you want to binge – you can! That’s not returning to restrictive dieting – that’s knowing yourself well. That’s using your inner wisdom.
Once again, we are free to eat anything. There are no illegal foods. And PERMISSION WORKS BOTH WAYS. We have permission to and we have permission not to.
As liberated eaters we are in charge now!
*Click here to see more on the research:http://qz.com/464629/scientists-think-theyve-found-the-reason-youre-overeating/
**Long but fascinating: http://jamesclear.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/why-humans-like-junk-food-steven-witherly.pdf
Does it ever feel like this journey from compulsive eating to relaxed, reasonable eating is just too hard?
We all feel like this way at times! The courage this journey requires is not to be underestimated – AND – there is an unexpected silver-lining that is not to be underestimated either…
The hard stuff is the very stuff that make us strong, that gives us understanding, that enable us to be empathetic to the pain and struggle of others.
Your beautiful wounds, your stumbles, your hard fought victories, your resilience and vulnerability – all make you a deeper, more gracious person than you would’ve been without them.
Thornton Wilder said is well…
“Without your wounds, where would your power be? It is your melancholy that makes your voice tremble into the hearts of men and women. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve.”
As you walk this path, trust yourself to help others along the way. You have earned your voice and you have much to share.
“HELP, I CAN’T STOP EATING LIKE A CRAZY PERSON!!!”
Every time I hear this statement I deeply empathize with the helpless frustration on the other end of the phone. This was my life – me and two-thirds of the western world. So why is it that once we’ve pulled onto the dieting/compulsive/emotional eating superhighway it’s so darn hard to stop and just get off?
There are many reasons – psychological and physiological. Here let’s take a quick look at something that happens in our brain:
The Brain Path – Think of your brain as a forest where trails are worn down by hiking along the same path over and over again – day after day, month after month, year after year. Running through the drive-thru when you feel bored or stressed creates pathways that become wider and deeper as they are repeatedly traveled. With each emotional or mindless eating experience it becomes more and more natural to head in that direction. That well-traveled path eventually becomes a road, and then a highway through your brain. The strong pull to eat becomes our automatic default. It just feels natural to turn onto the Gotta-Eat-Something-Now superhighway.
The good news is that we can build new interstates in our brain! And as we do, the old compulsive eating freeway will grow over with vines and briars and eventually mighty oaks. In time we will almost forget it was even there.
With a clear motivation, some caring support and the right tools – you can have yourself a brand new path started in no time. That brain path will become a road, and eventually a new superhighway taking you exactly where you want to go…
To feeling great!
To having energy!
To pants that fit just right…
and to priceless peace of mind.