Ep 75: How to Deal With Our Conflicts With Food
Emotional Eating & Our Conflicts With Food.
Today we are going to explore food as a conflict. Primarily because it’s a huge ongoing issue that millions and millions of people around the world suffer from and if they did not suffer from this conflict they would essentially have a better quality of life. Of course I am speaking to and about the industrialized nations where the majority are overweight and many dying of food related illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer.
I would like to admit to you my listeners that I suffer a lot from this conflict around food. Yes, it’s true. I have issues just like everyone else. And though I work on them, working on them, does not mean that I have them under control. So, I am speaking from first hand experience.
In exploration, let’s break down this food conflict into two major areas; Emotional and Chemical and these two categories are often interchangeable, in that emotional reasons can create the desire or impulse to eat certain foods and that chemical reasons can also create the desire or impulse to eat certain foods.
Let’s explore some of the reasons that many of us have a conflict with food; The biggest reason is pleasure seeking and there are also other culprits in combination such as boredom, tradition, habit, socialization, and the act of just feeling full. For some, it may be a way to destroy happiness by sabotaging a person’s deepest desires of health or physical beauty or acceptance or even worthiness.
The area of emotional eating and chemical interference assisting its recurrence creates great conflicts and its complexity is vast and of course cannot be contained in one episode of hemingway’s heart, but it can offer some support that you are not alone and offer some steps that you can take to help you. Your struggle and often even a fight with food is not just summed up in the right diet or the right amount of fruits and vegetables. Your conflict with food is unfortunately a conflict that so many of us have each and everyday. We know, we all know that we should eat fresh fruits and vegetables and that processed foods are not healthful and that drinking 8 glasses of clean water is important and vital. We know that smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol have negative consequences. We know. So, why do we struggle with this cycle of destruction? Why are we weak? Why do we rationalize that what we are doing, though it may be bad, maybe we can beat the odds and not get that cancers related to our choices such as dying from a heart attack or from the excessive weight we carry or get a diet related cancer? Why do we continue to eat foods that put on weight when we know that the end result will make us miserable in one way or another?
It’s because we seek pleasure and food like a drug has immediate pleasure wrapped up in it. We receive pleasure the moment our tastebuds are activated and it continues all the while the food crosses over those powerful sensory receptors and then the chemical dopamine is released. You ask what does that mean? I am glad you asked.
In the brain, dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter—a chemical released by neurons (nerve cells) to send signals to other nerve cells. The brain includes several distinct dopamine pathways, one of which plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior. Most types of reward increase the level of dopamine in the brain, and many addictive drugs increase dopamine neuronal activity.
And so, you are not alone and you can see why this issue is so complex and how just dieting and willpower cannot be your only course of action. Understanding cannot prevent you from eating and drinking those foods with negative consequences, but it can give you insight and help you make a plan.
If you suffer from the relationship you have with food: a genuine conflict; understanding it on a deeper level can help you. Understanding that certain foods will reinforce your reward loop cycle. Foods that are laced with high fat, high sugar and high salt, you know the ones that are super delicious those foods are the dopamine giants.
So what can we do? Well, we cannot tackle every obstacle at once, so let’s look at the areas that we could choose to evaluate; those reward foods. If you have many let’s look at what we could do first. Drink water 30 minutes before you usually get hungry or eat. This will should reduce the symptoms that often aid in making choices that have negative consequences.
You can also remove any and all foods from your home that are high fat, high salt and high sugar. If you have family members that are not on board, have a family meeting and let them know what needs to happen for you to be successful.
Then, choose snack foods with fiber. Apples and bananas are excellent. If you eat 1 or 2 large apples, you are less likely to be able to eat vast amounts of the foods that spin you out of control.
Next, vow not to eat fast food or restaurant food. If that is too much of a stretch then reduce the amount of times to only once per week. This will help. Another thing you can do, is break up with a food that is your weakness aka trigger foods for 30 days. You will find that after 30 days success that food will be easier for you to avoid. You can choose to break up with one at a time, so that you do not get overwhelmed.
Become aware of foods that you crave. If it’s high fat a small portion of nuts can help this trigger. Also, avocado is another way to reduce the craving of high fat foods that are easy to consume in large portions. What do I mean by that? Well, you are not going to eat 10 avocados, but you might eat an entire bag of Doritos or a half gallon of ice cream. So, you want to eat the foods that contain the fat and or sugar but have fiber to slow the delivery system down and reduce the out of control behaviors.
What does it mean to crave salt? What I have heard is that salt craving an be one of two things; your body is used to high levels of salt so you are essentially addicted and second, your are mineral deficient, hence you need to increase leafy greens and fresh herbs. So, if you are craving salty foods, eat a large servings of steamed spinach. Then see how you feel. Celery also has natural sodium.
Okay, so once you understand which foods are your weakness and you remove them and you have had the supportive talk with family and friends. What do we do next? Start listening to podcasts and audiobooks that have supportive messages. Also, see if you can get a good friend or family member to be your buddy system. Someone you can call when you are feeling like self sabotage or rationalization.
What else can you do?If you know you are going to dinner with friends, eat before you go. I know! I know that sounds crazy. But, if you eat a few bananas or apples before you go, you won’t be as likely to eat foods that are high fat and high salt because you won’t be triggered by low blood sugar.
Now, I have been speaking about foods, but this is true for high calorie drinks as well. Anything but water is on the list to break up with, even bottled juices. If you are juicing vegetables that’s a different story. But fruit juices are spike blood sugars and are signaled by the reward loop too.
Another area is “HABITS”, these are repeated behaviors over time that become mindless. Like energy drinks, a glass of wine after work, coffee in the morning, breakfast at breakfast time, lunch at lunch time, dinner at dinner time especially when you are not hungry.
Then there are those foods we culturally have been eating for decades, like pizza, hamburgers, tacos, spaghetti, stir fry, lasagna and fried chicken, these foods have been woven into our subconscious and we believe somehow that we are obligated to eat these foods.
Tradition and habit are often the very creatures that lead to heart attack after heart attack, generation after generation. How many times have we heard, hereditary is the cause, when in fact it’s because family after family ate the same foods and drank the same drinks.
So, how do we manage this conflict when it is so deeply ingrained in our lives? We need to be the leader not the follower. I have heard many many times, I could never give up cheese. That is like saying, I could never give up Heroin. Yes, you can, but it will not be easy. Ultimately, any food or drink excessively high in fat, sugar, or salt is going to challenge you. But, knowing that these foods- yes, give pleasure for short very short periods of time and that you can eliminate or reduce them and be aware of what is happening, this makes a huge differences in your success on managing your relationship with food.
So, before I go today, I wanted to share a few people that are making news on youtube.com and around the world. First, John David Glaude known as Obese to Beast… a 22 year old young man who lost 160 pounds through diet and exercise changes and is actively sharing his journey. His life has completely changed. I encourage you to take a peek at his incredible transformation. Next, Andrew Taylor ( I actually said his wrong last name on the podcast) but you can find him at Spudfit.com
Andrew is actually the man who inspired today’s episode, because he recognized that it was his relationship with food, using it as a reward that was his problem to overcome if he wanted to create a life. Andrew decided to eat only potatoes for an entire year. In doing so, he has lost 114 pounds and believes that he has indeed changed his relationship with food. I encourage that you check him out as well. You can also listen to his interview on Richroll.com
And finally, James Aspey and you can find him at jamesaspey.com.au James’ story is truly amazing and inspirational. James story also has to do with his relationship to food inspired by his diagnosis with cancer and had been given a few weeks to live. James was able to transform his life and health through food and he was able to discover so much more.
Please check out each person, you will be inspired!
The message that I want to leave you with today, is that if you are someone that wants to change but does not know how, please start reading everyone that has had a similar story or any story that can motivate you to try to incorporate a few tips that can ultimately change your life, so that quality can be experienced each and every day.
My name is Robyne Hemingway and you are listening to Hemingway’s Heart.
Thank you for caring about your life!