David Kessler’s new book is a great read on how overeating in America came to be, how the food industry combines fat, salt and sugar in a way to lure you into eating more than you need and how to overcome this phenomenon.
Dr. Kessler coins the term “conditioned hypereating”which describes the abundant amount of food available, the constant food stimuli of salt, sweet, and sugar combinations, and how the brain reacts to these cues. The limbic or memory part of the brain remembers pleasure of all forms, including memories from food.
If you are ever in a stressful or painful situation and eat some type of food that numbs or helps the stress, the brain stores this in the memory. The next time a stressful situation arises the brain prompts you to do whatever you did the last time. If food helped the situation, then the brain will prompt you to eat before you even realize it. Before long, this pattern could lead to many unwanted health and weight issues.
Having a road map is necessary to break the stimulus and response pattern to food. Having a definite guide in place is key to achieving weight loss and health goals. So many people look to weight loss drugs or surgeries as a quick fix solution. Weight loss may occur with these therapies. However, since the cause is not dealt with, the weight will be regained, compounding the problem and having to restart the process all over again. Drugs are not a permanent fix for a weight issue. They may treat the symptom for a while but never get to the root cause.
This year look for the cause of your health and/or weight issues. Find a road map or lifestyle you can start with and stick with for the long run. Retraining the limbic system of your brain is catching yourself once a cue is there and making the decision that your goals are more important than the food in front of you. It is so easy to say “I don?t care.” If you hear yourself saying this, counter with “I will care in an hour and will care even more when I get on the scale or hear the results of my next blood work.” Look to the future earned reward and know it is in sight – and let leave the lure of food cues behind for good.