Whenever there are desserts, like doughnuts or cookies, available at work, you know how hard it is to not have some of it. Not only do you have to avoid it once, but also it’s usually there all day! They might be all the way in the kitchen, but it’s hard to stop thinking about them.
That small dessert is so hard to resist, but why? The answer to this has to do with your habit and your mindset.
The reason you can’t stop thinking about that dessert has to do with being hard wired to want it. Dr. David Kessler MD explains how this works in his book, The End of Overeating.
Your brain releases opioids into your blood stream when you ingest tasty foods, especially ones with lots of sugar, fat, or salt. The brain chemical, opioids, will cause feelings of happiness. Opioids can also relieve pain and stress. This chemical reaction is similar to what morphine or heroin cause. It can create such an intense desire that you are unable to stop eating what is causing it.
This describes the reason we keep eating, but what exactly make us reach for that first dessert? If we could just refrain from reaching for it at all.
Dopamine is the answer to this question. Dopamine is a chemical that makes you search for that dessert because it wants the opioid release. The memory of the good taste and feeling cause the dopamine to look for that dessert again, and again. It is dopamines main focus.
This can quickly form a habit, and become extremely hard to break. The way your brain is wired causes you to repeat the action that caused those feelings. Unfortunately you don’t even need to have that dessert in reach for this cycle to start working. Think about it, have you ever made a run to the store because of a craving?
Our Country has high obesity rates. Tasty foods are easily available every hour of the day. This habit we have quickly formed, without even realizing it, is deeply seeded in our brains. Everyday we are presented with options of the unhealthiest of foods, and everyday our brains keep driving us to eat it.
TIME FOR A RESET
There is good news however! This minute you can start to change this. You can change the wiring and power these cravings have over you. With new habits formed, you can easily avoid those desserts.
The key to forming new habits is mindset. Start this process by remembering when you eat that dessert; it only gives you a few minutes of enjoyment. Now what is something that you want more than that dessert? Do you want to fit into those jeans way back in your closet again? Is there a medication you don’t want to be on any longer? Do you want to feel better?
Once you have decided what it is that you want more, follow these steps next time you have a craving.
This step is the hardest, but there is no other way around it. You must not eat those foods. This is not going to be easy in the beginning, but it will become easier over time. This will be hard the next time you are in a group environment and everyone else is having pizza, or cake, or whatever it is you are not. Your dopamine will be working overtime, trying to get you to join in. This is when you need to remember what it is that you want more. Do you want that dessert, or do you want to fit into those jeans again? This will all be will power.
When you succeed by not eating that dessert or pizza, you will have done more for yourself than just stopping. Dr. Kessler calls this, ‘cooling’ the stimulus, in his book. You will have started the process of breaking the habit. When this happens again, it will become easier and easier.
3. NEW REWARDS
Each time you are victorious, you are making a new circuitry pathway. Those new pathways will become stronger then the old pathways each time you stop. When you reach those goals, remember to keep setting new ones and keep remapping your brain the way you want it!
Choose your habits, and remember its mindset!
You can download a copy of this article, Remap Your Cravings, here.