When it comes to food, we are often deceived by our own hormonal reactions. This is what we mean, say you go to the grocery store with the intention of stocking up on healthy ingredients, but you are faced with the display of your favorite unhealthy treat right as you walk in the door. Right at that moment, dopamine rushes your body and you experience all the symptoms of a strong craving for that very treat. Do not be deceived, this is your body reacting simply to an instinct and there is nothing logical about it; it is indeed only an emotion. From your body’s point of view, you are enjoying that food before you even touch it.
The way to move past these deceptions is to be prepared for situations where you might encounter temptations. Here is a trick to help you. The part of our brain that registers disgust or unpleasantness also produces hormones that counteract dopamine. Your thoughts can control the outcome. When you are tempted, you might focus on how over priced that treat is or how it might add to your waistline. The key is to associate something that causes you to feel disgust to that unhealthy food. When grocery shopping eat a healthy meal or snack before you go to the store. Shop only with a list of items you need and stick to the list. You might set a budget before you even step out to go to the store.
When you attend parties or social events, you brain goes through the same process of deceiving you into feeling the pleasure of eating something that is not good for you. Again, attach a feeling of disgust to anything you know is unhealthy and watch the cravings dissipate. Steer your conversations away from the subject of food; saying things like, “I know that tastes so good, but I cannot have it.”, is actually counter productive. In this case you are giving up your control to the dopamine.
Before you attend an event, eat a healthy meal or drink a large green smoothie. Make a mental note of the things you will eat and stick to your decisions. Share your goals with someone you trust at the event and have them hold you accountable for what you eat.
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