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‘What is making me eat other than hunger?...

 




Its Spring 2024 and there is a paradox happening right now in the world of weight loss…

 

We have access to so many healthy options now that it has never been easier! (calories must be stated on menus, nearly every garage, supermarket and eatery sell at least some healthy options), yet obesity is at an all-time high. There’s also never been more free information and resources available too to help; social media, government campaigns and health initiatives all striving to help tackle obesity, yet we are still gaining weight year on year as a nation. The diet industry is booming, yet we are all getting bigger in line with the very industry designed to stop this! Where is it all going wrong?

 

It is my belief that although weight gain is a physical symptom, the cause usually originates mentally. I have never met a client who didn’t have an understanding of the process of weight loss and know what they shouldbe doing, but usually people struggle because they are often trying to subconsciously fix something that isn’t actually caused by physical hunger and it is no surprise that this comes at a time where as a nation we have never been busier, more stressed or short of time!

 

There are MANY reasons where we eat and drink which are nothing to do with actual physical hunger and I have listed the 3 most common reasons below;

Addictive Food ~ Certain foods light up pleasure centres in your brain and trigger the release of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, much like other addictive substances do. In people who are more predisposed to addiction, those chemicals can overpower other signals from the brain that tell them they’re full or satisfied, which can lead to a cycle of overeating. Processed foods containing high levels of sugar and salt are typically those which people can experience problems with overeating. Pringles even boasted in their advertising that ‘once you pop you can’t stop’ and the same can be true of opening a packet of biscuits. Have you ever noticed though that whole natural food is never addictive? I like apples, but never in a million years would i sit and binge on handfuls which suggests there is more at play here than just enjoying something or being greedy.

Emotional Consumption ~ In the same way that babies can have trouble self soothing (so may resort to say thumb sucking) a lot of adults also have trouble regulating their emotions. Relaxing with a glass of wine after a stressful day, or having ice cream or chocolate to cheer yourself up is fairly common place, but looking for something to eat/drink to change your emotional state will never work as the problem was never caused by a lack of wine/chocolate in the first place (therefore it wont cure it). At best it will provide very temporary distraction and little boost of feel good chemicals, but sadly these last a few minutes at best and are quickly replaced by anxiety, disappointment and guilt which is even worse.

Triggers ~ A 19th century Russian scientist named Ivan Pavlov established that both humans and animals can form conditioned responses to an external stimulus. In his experiments, Pavlov sounded a bell every time he fed the dog, over time the dog began associating the sound of the bell with food and eventually anytime the dog heard that bell it would stimulate saliva in the dog's mouth. We see ‘bells’ aka conditioned responses to food nowadays in many ways - maybe you were ill once after drinking a certain alcohol, now even the smell turns your stomach... Maybe you and your mum often enjoyed tea and cake for a special occasion, now you may turn to cake to tap into that familiar feeling of comfort or you may have got into the habit of a takeaway on a Friday and feel unsatisfied if you are unable to have one as for you it signals the start of the weekend and relaxing.

So what to do?

The key with these issues is to think about what you really need at that moment and rarely is the problem a lack of calories…

Do you feel stressed? Chances are you need calm and a relaxing environment, maybe a bath, massage, meditation or reading a book could change this.

Do you feel bored? Look at ways you can increase stimulation and find things to do. This can be boredom at that exact moment, or maybe you feel ‘stuck’ in life in general - change here will be key.

Are you frustrated? Eating your feelings will not solve those feelings of frustration you’ll still feel that way after a binge, albeit just a little heavier now..

Lonely ~ Seek connection, maybe get out, call a friend, reconnect with people you’ve lost contact with via social media or book something to look forward to.

Upset ~ A little comfort will help, watching a good film with a cosy blanket and a cuddle with a pet if you have one, burning some essential oils or trying some EFT (tapping) can be really helpful.

Once you have worked out what you are looking for, you can meet that need away from the food and drink which you don’t need and won’t even help...

Thoughts create feelings ~

~ Feelings create behaviour ~

~ Behaviour dictates your life and results ~

So essentially, if we can look at getting our feelings and thoughts into the right mindset then our behaviour will naturally improve too!

 

 A x

 

 

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