Well, one of the four basic things that you and I have in common and that you and I absolutely need are: air, water, food and we also need emotional stability.
Emotional stability we can talk about for a long, long time. So today let’s talk about food!
I love food – ain’t food great! I also have a really great relationship with food, and with my body, maintaining a stable happy weight for me for nearly thirty years.
HOW IS THE PROPENSITY TO EATING ‘BAD’ FOOD PSYCHOLOGICAL?
We can go to the gym, we sweat, we’re full on motivated during our workout, determined to burn off some the fat. Then, after all this effort and feeling virtuous, we head home and eat every biscuit in sight! Reward! Biscuits were a reward for many of us in childhood!
We are worried, stressed or upset so we grab several bars of chocolate. We do this because when we were a child and fretful we were likely to be comforted by our parents with something sweet. We believe sweet stuff gives us comfort!
Neuro science tells us that our brains are genetically hard wired to seek emotional security, particularly from affection. As very young infants, one of the important times, for some of us, that we received affection or closeness was when our mother, or father, grandparent held us close and fed us. So, for some, our minds will carry the connection between food and affection or love. Emotional stability!
Our minds and brains store our perceptions and our responses, and so we learn from those early years to associate reward and comfort and emotional closeness with these types of food. These early life patterns of behaviour prevail.
Because of this, it takes psychological and emotional effort to defy our fat and sugar cravings.
As we are growing up through childhood, teens and into adulthood, and we are dealing with worries and problems we discover that fatty foods have a heavy quality to them, after eating these types of foods we feel sluggish and drowsy for a while, and we stop thinking. When we stop thinking we stop worrying and stressing. As a result we learn to believe that fatty foods will ease our worries!
CAN OTHER FACTORS COME INTO IT AS WELL?
Fat has more than twice the calories than any other nutrient. Calories are units of energy, and nature does not like skinny, nature sees fat as a friend!
If we briefly consider our history; several million years ago we humans had small brains, about the size of a chimpanzees. As we developed our skills our brains grew, and our stomachs shrank, but we still needed los of energy (calories) to run, we were hunters. Where did we get our energy to run? From fat.
Research has shown us that Aboriginal hunters eat the fat from the kill first. In our modern society we no longer need to run to live and survive, but nature is still keen on fat.
We can also consider that so many of us can feel stressed in our modern fast paced lives.
Fatty foods stimulate dopamine and nor-adrenalin, this chemical cocktail gives us the feeling of a ‘happy rush’, and we use this feeling as an unsuccessful attempt to resolve our stress.
Now we can find ourselves in a vicious cycle, the greater amounts of fat we eat the more our brain will produce a protein called galanin. What happens next? We’ve really got a problem, because galanin cause us to crave fat.
Sugar increases tryptophan which our body uses to make serotonin. Serotonin is the wonderful chemical which assists us to feel (temporarily!) in an ‘up’ state, more able to cope with stress and unhappiness.
Also, when we are experiencing long periods of stress in life we are producing a massive amount of unused adrenaline; we can then go into adrenal fatigue. This fatigue causes a sugar craving.
HOW CAN WE OVERCOME THIS?
We can realise what a fantastic job our ancient ancestors did for us, they got the energy they needed from fats, they ran, they survived. We are here today because of it, how great is that.
We can understand that the sculptor of our brain and mind is our environment. Our brain and mind depend critically on their wiring and growth from our experiences in our earlier life. The great news is, our brain and mind have the remarkable ability to adapt and to rewire.
How do we do this?
We can know that the fundamental truth about stress is that it comes from our personal perceptions, and our internal communication about an event or situation and our experience. We can choose to change both our perceptions and our internal communication.
I’ll give you a very simple example of what I’m talking about.
Our partner is late getting home. We can have a myriad of perceptions such as:
They are working hard and being really conscientious and loyal to their business.
We communicate internally with a dialogue of pride and make everything cosy and welcoming for them to arrive home.
Or: They have been in an accident. Our internal communications can cripple us with horror and dread. We make images of them lying in a pool of blood. We don’t know what to do, maybe phone their work – phone the hospitals.
Or: They are having an affair. Our internal communication makes those sexy images; we are frozen with fury, or slumped with loss and abandonment.
TIPS TO STOP WORRYING OR STRESSING:
• First we need to really consider and accept that the ‘happy rush’ we’ve been getting from these ‘bad’ foods is temporary and will never resolve our problems. Next:
• Make a decision to change your perceptions, the ones that are not serving you or celebrating your life.
• Start by slowing time in your mind just a little, you can do this by simply telling yourself: Slow down. This is so that you can observe your own unconscious perceptions of any situation that has been worrying or stressing you. Just be observant to begin with.
• Have a note book and write down a list of your worries or stresses. This is relevent because we can often begin to feel overwhelmed by worry, as if we have thousands of worries. Once we begin to separate them out, we usually discover we have only three or six or seven.
• If you have more than one worry, take each at a time separately and begin to objectively ask: what can I do about this ‘one’? And when you go to bed at night ask your dreams to comfortably give you solutions to this ‘one’. One of the main purposes of our dreams is to give us solutions that we have not even thought of before.
My dream is that we will all live happily in our own skin. And I know we can! Let’s get on with it hey. If you know someone who is struggling in their relationship with food please, please tell them about my course/treatment on CD’s and MP 3 download: Don’t Wait to Be the Right Weight
I never once use the word ‘diet’ on my course. I hope I have illustrated today why diets do not work!
Thinking of you warmly