Sunday, February 27

Cutting off the Reward Center

Did you know that the activity in the reward center of the brains of obese people is exactly the same as cocaine addicts?  I’ll say it again just in case that question didn’t sink in: when I am eating, my brain activity is the same as someone who is taking cocaine.
You’ll want to share this link I was reading with anyone who says people can’t be addicted to certain foods.
So what does this mean for us who struggle with our weight and our compulsion to eat?  Science is beginning to prove that high sugar, high fat and high salt foods have addictive qualities for certain people.  This means that some of us will have to be more vigilant than others in trying to control our eating habits.
A few of the most important things to remember:
Build in repetition of your new habits.  You have to create and repeat a new routine for yourself.  This won’t always help you overcome temptation in the moment, but it will give you a firmly planted daily routine to fall back on when you do give into temptation.
Get your blood moving.  Exercise by itself raises the dopamine that your body releases.  Exercise won’t give you the same rush that a piece of cake would, but it could give you enough of that feel-good feeling that you’re able to resist in the moment.
Find non-food rewards.  I caught myself for a while rewarding my good eating habits with the promise of bad eating moments.  To my brain, I was only reinforcing the hold that those highly palatable foods had over me.  Find big and small ways to reward yourself non-calorically, and reward yourself often.  This also means finding new ways to deal with stress.  You need to find ways to relax that won’t lead you straight back to the foods you used to turn to.
Have you found any good ways to stop the pull that food has over you?  Do you feel like there is nothing that could stop it?  How do you see this happening to you each day?

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