Most of us live in a world where food is readily available at every turn. Calorie intake, obesity, and chronic disease rates are at all time highs. A conscious approach to your food intake gives you power to control your health. Let’s break down some top reasons you can’t help yourself reaching for snacks…
Habit: We are creatures of habit! Your body will come to expect food at the times of day you typically eat. Whether it is the number of meals, amount consumed at each meal, or our snacks in between. Same thing goes for “desserts” or “treats”. If you have a sweet after every single meal, your body comes to expect it. We are often out of synch with what our body actually needs, so make a conscious decision. Re-evaluate how much food you eat and at what times of day. You can override habits with consistent effort.
Hormones: The body (pancreas) releases insulin to help your body use glucose, or blood sugar, after you eat. If you are still eating highly refined carbohydrates and sugars, you are probably dependent on glucose for energy, instead of fat. This corners you into requiring more glucose for energy and you will get cravings for more sugars (or carbs). It’s important to remember that excess, unused glucose will be stored as fat, so think before you eat. Ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”, has been shown not to be directly related to the absence of food but rather increases when your body typically expects food. This means you have more control than you realize! Try to make a conscious effort to expect the ghrelin release and overcome the flash of hunger you are feeling. You have the power to eliminate extra snacking or desserts. Explore it!
Environment: There is a part of our subconscious that protects us, seeking out available energy (food) sources as a survival mechanism. Most of us don’t need the extra processed foods to survive, yet if it is in front of us we will eat it. Having snacks around the house or at work make it very difficult to override this process. If you don’t want to eat ice cream after dinner, don’t buy it. If the cookies are in the cabinet, you’re eventually going to go sniffing around for them. If it’s not there, the temptation disappears (or at least it’s more time consuming to drive to the grocery store!). Make conscious decisions to keep only real food choices available in your environment. Set yourself up for success!