Let's go on a journey together.
Day 30 of 30.
No. Not day one, as mentally I started this months ago, if not years ago. I started thinking about losing weight with having to join a slimming club. I thought about how so many people are over weight, how easily accessible and tasty our food is - how it's all too easy. I once heard a comment by someone in the know that most eating disorders - and that comes all the way down to being overweight, are psychological - that it's not necessarily about the food - though obviously the food we eat has a huge impact on this - but how we feel about food.
Let's review what we do know. The brain is not as fine tuned as we would like to think. Those darn thoughts and beliefs keep getting in the way. Our super-logic and cleverness gets over-ridden by complex biological needs and by chemical reactions, and then our poor self-regulating brain gets bambozelled by our clever logic and reasoning. You don't have to look for too long in a good bookshop for a whoIe host of great books telling us about how wrong our thinking is about most things. Often we are like a stem of corn in a cornfield being blown gently by the breeze (clever marketing) and other times we're driving the combine harvester (behaviour change).
So, what does this mean? This means that our brains find the combination of fat and sugar completely intoxicating and irrisitable. We know the dopamine released (the pleasure and reward chemical) creates an addictive cycle and pattern of behaviour for most people. It is easy to resist so far and then the brain, triggered by an outside influence goes into overdrive and we begin our pleasure seeking/drug seeking behaviour - my drug of choice usually being chocolate. Just quit the chocolate right? No, wrong. If it was easy for us to stop our self-pleasuring addictive behaviours then we wouldn't need drug treatment services - and by the way, you probably wouldn't drink alcohol either.
What else do we know? We know we eat with our eyes and not our stomachs. Our stomachs stretch to accommodate how much we shovel in on a regular basis. Simple capacity and demand situation - demand always shifts to meet the new capacity you've created. This might be why retirees find themselves to be busier than they were when they worked! We eat our sugar-fat combos so quickly our brain does not have enough to time to recieve the message that we are stomach is full before we have finished what we're eating, by the way - your brain is in overdrive squirting out domaine - it tastes so damn good and you really just can't get enough to of it........
So, some foods are quite simply addictive. Again, you don’t have to look too far to see all the media coverage about sugar and how much sugar is in stuff and how bad it is for us. However, still we seek it out, we want more, so the obliging food industry puts more in and so the cycle continues. Their sugar laden products are even to be found in the pages of those glossy slimming magazines - only in diet version of course. The problem with that is that you are still hooked on the sugar. And now we spiral into that awful domain of self-punishing doing without or ‘being good’ that goes hand in hand with diet organisations. If I can just deprive myself of this I will look like a super-model. Oh look, I deprived myself and I still don’t (meanwhile the brain is being overwhelmed with clever marketing and product placement) - really, you just can’t win.
So, now we have a rough idea of what we’re up against, what’s the solution?
First of all, awareness is a huge part of it. If you can accept any of the above then hopefully you’ll feel less guilty or to blame as you may have done before reading this. You may also be able to be more aware of all the clever tricks marketers and the food industry use to get to you to buy and then eat their products - so that will help. Now, you just need to know what to do with those craving and what to eat instead.
I should point out at this point that I’m not pointing my finger at the food industry and yelling ‘IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!’ Yes, they play a part. They have really clever people doing lots of experiments to find out what will increase the likelihood of someone buying their product. However, the bit where it comes off the shelf, into your basket and eventually ends up in your mouth - that bit's up to you!
In my next post I will tell you about soggy dog walks and talk about bit more about what we should be eating.