Do you find yourself addicted to certain kinds of food? Is one scoop of ice cream not enough? Can you stop at just one brownie? How about those smokehouse almonds – one handful and you’re done? And what about those salty, crunchy french fries – once you taste just one, do you keep going back for more? Have you ever asked yourself why this happens?
The restaurant industry and food manufacturers know something that you don’t know – sugar, salt, and fat are addicting. I’m talking addicting like drugs are addicting. Researchers have found that when you eat sugar, salt, and fat (alone or in any combination) it triggers the pleasure center of your brain, releasing those feel-good chemicals, which of course, make you seek out more. It becomes a vicious cycle: eat —> increase desire —> seek out more —> eat more. The food industry is creating a new generation of junkies – addicted to food.
Check out the following article to read more about this phenomenon: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37500495/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/
So what can you do about it? Well, you’ve done the first thing: arm yourself with knowledge. Now that you know why you’ve been mainlining the kettle corn, it will be easier to stop. Don’t even bring these kinds of salty, fatty, sugary “trigger foods” into your house. Keep your home a safe zone.
Second, don’t let yourself get so hungry that your blood sugar falls and your willpower weakens resulting in a trip to the vending machine or fast-food drive-thru. Fuel your body with clean food every 2-3 hours and you’ll have no problem saying “No” to the happy hour munchies.
Third, cut yourself some slack. We all fall off the wagon at some point. If you find that you just powered through a basket of onion rings, don’t beat yourself up over it. Acknowledge the slip-up and move on. Figure out strategies that you can immediately do to start to undo some of the damage – take a walk, power some water, make sure the rest of that day’s meals are lean and clean.
It’s so important to realize that polishing off a bag of chocolate chip cookies is not a flaw in your character; you are not weak. Those cookies acted like crack on your brain, making you feel so good and wanting more. Understanding this makes it easier to pass next time they’re offered to you.