Thursday, April 11, 2013
Why is it that we criticize ourselves for just doing what we are hard wired to do? That is, eating to store energy for when food is not available. After all, it is only very recently that humans reached the luxury of food being constantly available. Prior to that, we didn't know where the next meal was coming from, so we had to eat nutrient and calorie dense food when it was available.
This is further compounded by a food industry that has one goal - to get you to eat as much as possible and as often as possible. They strive to scientifically trigger all of your biochemical impulses to induce cravings for salty and sweet products. Think about it, the more processed food you eat, the more you crave. You eat and then you are hungry in an hour. Then, after a splurge, you blame yourself, as though it is unnatural. In point, it is the way your body is hard wired.
Now, I am not saying this is an excuse to eat poorly. We all are striving for better health and most of us are trying to lose weight. So how do we balance our intrinsic nature, with today's processed food industry? I think the answer is probably different for everyone. It does require some diligence and trial and error. Which foods trigger your cravings? What can you not put down until you have emptied the entire bag? If you are starving two hours after breakfast, should you try another type of breakfast? These questions sound pretty straightforward; however I was guilty of constant mid morning starvation, until I rethought my breakfast.
Personally, I gave up refined sugar and flour altogether. I have found substitutions that satisfy me and allow me to avoid the post sugar bounce, which constantly led to binging and starving myself - the guilt about my "weak nature" was never far behind. What is more important is that I have decided to look at the occasional slip or bad day as just that - a moment when I ate foods that appeal to me, but aren't good for my health. I am just not going to continue to beat myself up emotionally for what comes naturally. An occasional unhealthy food choice is not going to break the diet bank anyway - as long as it is a rare occasion. I encourage you to avoid emotionally punishing yourself and focus on your body's biochemical response to food. Log your food choices and note when cravings occur. Experiment and begin to eliminate the foods that trigger a negative response. Take your time and enjoy the journey. You will feel better physically and emotionally as you begin to learn about what your body needs.