Why we crave Sugar in our Diet- Breaking the cycle. Part 2
In Part 1 of this series we discussed the hold that excess sugar and fat in our diet has over us.
How making those ‘easy’ foods our default eating preferences, simply imprints on our brain that this choice of food is what we go to when we feel hungry. It is similar to a well-worn track in the snow; it is easy to find, we have used it before and we know where it leads. To use words from a popular T.V ad campaign – “Let’s go there”!
To alter our feelings toward healthy food and to create a new path in the snow for ourselves, we have to break the cycle of what we choose to eat, when we eat it and of course how much we eat.
There are lots of options for us to attach ourselves to; eat 6 smaller meals a day to keep your metabolism high, low fat, low carb/high protein, 5 and 2 lifestyle diet and many more. I am not here to get into any arguments on any of the above.
What we need to do is to establish a regime that imprints new tracks in the snow.
Our first task is to establish positive reasons why we need a shift in our eating habits. Fear of heart attack, poor skin condition, diabetes etc. has not proven to be ‘strong enough for long enough’ to establish long term habit change in most cases.
What has been effective are the positive reasons for change, be it for a healthier body image, better relationships, improved self-esteem, whatever your positive motivation is, use it !
Reason for change and its effective impact on change was demonstrated at the 2005 Global Medical Forum. Dr.Edward Miller is a cardiologist and he presented his findings of 600,000 people who had severe heart disease, and they were told; change or die. If you don’t change your eating habits and if you do not change your exercise habits, if you don’t reduce your stress levels you won’t survive for another 12 months. Everybody changed for 3 weeks and they followed the group up for 12 months. They found that only 10% of the ‘change or die’ group had changed. Their answer was it was too hard and we would rather feel good now than later and we would rather feel better than live longer. And that is the effect of dopamine and why addiction is so attractive.
Another scientist Dean Ornish from the University of California tried a different approach. He said if you change, everything in your life will improve. He asked what is not going as well as you would like it? He identified the ‘drivers for change’ for the group e.g. better relationships, more change for promotion, better sex or whatever the drivers were. 77% of the group changed. He called it giving people a vision of the joy of a new life.
Now is a good time to write down as many reasons for a change in your food eating habits as you can. When you write down your reasons, one or two will shine bright from the paper (or screen); they will stand out and even excite you at the possibilities a head.
It has been well documented that any change in eating habits is reinforced by exercise and the rate of change (weight loss) is increased, proportionate to the exercise you do.
Now you have your homework, Part 3 will look at implementing change and how A Happier Life can make your change long lasting and healthy food your default eating position.
Also in Part 3, I will tell you how I dropped 16 kgs in 12 months (and kept it off) through imagery and exercise.