Before we begin: This weekend, I got to meet a few firefighters and work alongside soldiers from all different backgrounds and specialties, including medical personnel and engineers. You are all true heroes. If you guys are reading this, I am so thankful for your service every day. YOU are the reason why I do this.
So let’s jump in…
Have you ever sat down for a meal, started eating and didn’t stop till you were sitting there, pants unbuttoned, wondering why you didn’t stop eating till you felt awful? You’re not alone.
This week, I will teach you why we overeat, the triggers that cause overeating, and how to stop yourself.
Dopamine, it’s what keeps you coming back for more.
Think about your favorite “guilty pleasure” food. A food you love to eat but you know is bad for you.
Now, think about the feeling you get when you know you’re going to eat this food. You probably get excited. You look forward to eating it.
What about when you actually eat that food. Bliss, right?
That blissful feeling is caused by a release of dopamine. That’s the “pleasure, feel good” hormone. When you eat concentrated foods, such as flour and sugar, dopamine is released, giving you a short-term reward. Much like a drug addiction.
Actually, that’s exactly what it is…an addiction.
This is no way intended to minimize the significance of having a drug addiction, but it is meant to highlight the seriousness of food addiction.
When you stop eating flour and sugar, you will go through withdrawal! If you go through withdrawal from eating certain foods, that speaks volumes to the potency and toxicity of these substances.
A recap: Glucose, Fructose and Insulin
I spoke about this in the blog Sugar is Fattening, but to recap:
- Eating processed carbs and/or sugar leads to an increase in glucose and fructose which causes insulin to spike.
- Insulin’s job is to open up the cells so our body can use blood sugar for fuel.
- When we eat concentrated foods we get a huge glucose surge leading to a surge in insulin.
- This leads to insulin resistance and lets the glucose hang around in the bloodstream, causing a vicious cycle.
- Too much glucose in the blood wreaks havoc on the body, but so does too much insulin.
- Too much insulin blocks an important signal from getting to our brain: the message that we are full and have had enough to eat – leading to OVEREATING.
Leptin and Ghrelin, important hormones that control hunger.
Leptin is the hormone that produces satiety, the feeling that we are full.
Ghrelin is the hormone that tells our brain when we are hungry.
Ghrelin is released when the stomach is empty and shuts off when the stomach is stretched or full. When we eat highly concentrated foods, they are absorbed too rapidly which doesn’t trigger that really important ghrelin off switch, so ghrelin continues to be produced by the stomach. You continue to feel hungry.
At the same time, our insulin is spiking in response to the glucose and actually blocking the leptin, the satiety hormone, from reaching our brain, keeping us from feeling full.
Some people have been told that eating smaller frequent meals throughout the day is better. Wrong! Eating small frequent meals keeps the stomach less distended which keeps the ghrelin following. This leads to hunger throughout most of the day which ultimately leads to overeating.
That’s why it’s so unsustainable to eat this way. Not to mention, who has time to be constantly eating throughout the day? Two or three meals a day is more than enough food to keep you energized and full.
Instead, exercise portion control with the few meals you do have during the day and be careful not to trigger the wrong hormones by choosing foods that are not highly concentrated and overly processed, like flour and sugar.
Keep your stress in check, keep your Cortisol in check.
When your body is under stress it can lead to an increase in your cortisol levels. Increased cortisol causes an increase in blood glucose in anticipation of the fight or flight response if your body needs an abundance of energy. Your body revs up to make sure that you have enough energy to “fight or flight” so your hunger signals are stimulated.
So, what can you do?
– Limit or eliminate flour and sugar
– Eat 2-3 meals daily without snacking
– Sleep 7-8 hours per night, this also helps to regulate cortisol levels
– Keep your stress under control by managing your thoughts and managing your situations
You are going to have thoughts holding you back from doing these things, these are called limiting beliefs.
What limiting beliefs are holding you back from getting the results that you want?
What change can you make today towards progress?
You got this, I’m here supporting you and rooting for you!
*I am a physician, but I am not your physician. Be sure to discuss changes in your health and eating habits with your doctor. There are certain medical conditions and medications that will indicate the way you eat.*
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