How is your mindset around healthy eating? Do you feel deprived or restricted not being able to eat all the things? Your mindset can make or break you.
I get it. I love all of the things too! I have a weakness for poutine, chips, and gummy candy 🤤 It’s really easy to fall into that work week mindset – eat really well during the week and let loose during the weekend! I did it. That was my life for years! I’d literally be making a list of all the things I couldn’t eat during the week and then I’d binge on cheat day (Sunday!). I felt like crap for days but those foods are so yummy! But it became less and less as I wanted to feel better all the time.
This came up recently in a conversation and I asked my friend what they were wanting from the food. What feelings are you looking for?
When we eat processed carbohydrates our bodies release dopamine – that’s why we feel so good when we eat it – that can make these foods addictive (similar to drugs!). That’s what makes it so hard to say no. When we are happy we celebrate with food, when we are sad we commiserate with food. When we are bored we snack. We use food to make us feel better. Why?
Why would our bodies have that mechanism built in? If we go back to our hunter-gatherer days finding something that was sweet was a good thing! It means lots of calories and we filled up! Food was not as easy to come by back then so feast or famine was literal 😉 The types of foods we found that were sweet would have been fruits and honey – not the highly processed and sweetened foods of today. (And not even the fruits of today – those have been modified as well!) During the summer and early fall when these sweet foods were abundant we ate our fill! Yes, we would have packed on a few pounds, but those pounds were our bodies fuel for the winter when food was scarce. We had to have the ability to store food when it was abundant (as fat) and tap into that when it was scarce (fasting). So the mechanism to feel good when eating sweet things was a survival mechanism – but it’s not necessary anymore.
Our food supply is so full of processed foods and they all contain sugar – it’s hard to find any processed item without sugar.
So how do you stop it? How do you stop eating the things you know aren’t nutritious for your body even though your brain is yelling at you that you’ll feel better if you eat the thing?Change your mindset. Don’t tell yourself you can’t have something – tell yourself you’re choosing to have something that is good for your body, something that won’t leave you in a carb coma, something that will provide you with energy so you can make the most of your weekend, know that you are choosing to not use food to make you feel a certain way. Look forward to all the delicious foods that are nourishing for your body. Find restaurants that can make food for you that is good for you! It’s not easy. It’s daily work and being surrounded by these foods make it so much harder. But you’re worth it. You’re worth not stuffing yourself full of processed cheap food. You’re worth taking the time to prepare a healthy meal. You are worth it.
Also question what feeling you are chasing with food. Are you bored? Go for a walk. Looking to feel good? Pick an activity that makes you feel good. Make a cup of tea (this is something I do a lot!). Be honest with yourself – you know when you’re legitimately hungry and wanting something and when you’re eating your feelings.
Before you put the food in your mouth stop and think. Am I eating for a feeling? Am I eating because I feel restricted? Let’s be honest – I’m never going to say ‘I’ll never eat poutine/chips/candy again’. But I’ll do it with awareness around why I’m making the choice.