The End To Overeating: Food Is A Drug!
by, 03.02.2010 at 10.45 AM (524 Views)
It's not a matter of if you have it or not; we all do whether you are overweight or not. It's more of a matter of how much of it do you have.
It's our stimuli-response relationship with food. Some of us respond to highly palatable foods more than others.
You're not abnormal, and we're not talking about any eating disorders.
Our reaction to highly salient foods is a biological condition stemming from eons of evolutionary development. You've experienced it...the minute someone mentions that rich New York Cheesecake, the chocolate-chunk mint icecream, the homemade macaroni and cheese, those chewy chocolate chip homemade cookies, the biscuits and gravy at your favorite truck stop.....your brain sees the image, you feel the back of your tongue come alive, and saliva starts to secrete automatically in your mouth.
Obviously, if we don't search for and eat food, we will die, so we need to have a strong response. However, in today's culture, American mostly, many of us eat when we are not hungry which leads to condtioned hyper-eating, and it becomes an awfully bad habit.
In his book, The End of Overeating, Dr. David Kessler discusses the science of the human appetite and why it's hard for many of us to control how much we consume. He explains, in easy to understand laymen terms, the circuitry in our brains and the chemicals that invoke eating when we really don't need or even want to.
Neurons in our brains are highly stimulated by salient, palatable foods and the chemicals produced in the brain have the same rewarding effects as heroine or morphine which drives us to eat more. (page 37).
Yep! You read that right...SAME effects as heroine or morphine, so don't be so hard on yourself when you cave to tempting foods. Food is a drug. However, it's still no excuse to over eat and skip workouts.
After sharing enlightening facts from scientific studies as well as revealing how the food industry exploits our the American love affair with food, Dr. Kessler provides good tools we can all use to say "NO" to food temptations.
Many of us fitness fanatics have good tools already in place, but at times, I admit, I can eat too much when I know I'm not hungry. BUT I like the long distance rewards of working out and eating within my nutritional range.
Dr. Kesslers explains that, "at the heart of conditioned hypereating lies the impulsive nature of the behavior," and he lists excellent applicable strategies to end conditioned hypereating and counteract such impulsives. After recognizing what cues us to make impulsive unwarranted food choices, we need to establish concrete rules that we cannot bend or break. We need a PLANNED RESPONSE. SPECIFIC GOALS are so important to set.
Rules in themselves are hard to follow if we don't have the "why's" as to the reasons we should even bother to follow rules in the first place. Rules and a planned response will get us to those fitness goals we have laid ahead for ourselves. Not having goals is just wildly shooting from the hip, and we will NEVER hit a target if we don't first put one up!
Definitely, this is a very helpful book to stop my bad habits. In a nutshell, some applications Dr. Kessler provides to reverse learned habits of overeating are:
1. Become aware of risky food situations.
2. Break the pattern of stimulus-response to food cues by developing a "road map" to guide you away from risky situations.
3. Have GOALS! Think of the what you really want in the future--your desires of a hard body or whatever--and not about the immediate reward of eating a risky food.
4. Have support--it's not easy. Oh boy, it sure ain't!
Even before reading this book, I discovered that eating for me was/is an instant gratification--it feels good to satisfy my taste buds; it's immediate. We CANNOT UNLEARN that when we eat a favorite food, we feel completely and emotionally fulfilled right then and there. Coupled with good memories from childhood of being rewarded with icecream, cookies, etc, it's no wonder we have such a strong happy connection to certain foods. But then we feel like crap not too long after and ask ourselvs, "Why did I eat that??"
While I'm a workout nut and fanatical about eating very healthy--absolutely no junk--I admit I do overeat and eating too much of anything--apples, blueberries, lean fish--hinders fat loss.
Along with my written goals for each month and keeping a daily food journal, I have recently written down all the "Rewards" of following my personal nutritional plan. I review it when I want to have another serving of sweet potatoes or more tuna fish when I know I'm not hungry. Additionally, I now have a "Rules for a Better Me" list that will allow me to resist caving into overeating cues and allow me to form better habits, thus changing my behavior.
In addition, I have a lot of support from the best coaching service in N. America, and her team of figure and fitness experts as well as my Savage Sisters keep me motivated and feeling energized! This network of support is invaluable to my progress and success. *I LOVE BEING A SAVAGE GIRL!*
Even though I'm passionate about working out and enjoy its long term effects, admittedly, I don't feel the same immediate satisfying feeling as I do when I eat hot flaky rich biscuits and spicy sausage gravy when I'm hungry. While I love it and crave working out, it will never initiate an emotional safisication as soon as eating biscuits and gravy will.
However, in the LONG RUN, I will be rewarded much, much more and feel much more satisfied with a lean, sexy, fit hard body!
Eating a salient food is SHORT LIVED, but achieving a hard sexy admirable body is not when we put forth some effort. This is the KEY to the End of overeating!
We can all change our behavior; it does, indeed, take some practice and, no, it's not easy. As humans, however, we have the innate ability to elevate our consciousness, become aware of our actions, and develop better habits empowering us to achieve fitness success!