The average person is bombarded with 5000+ brand/advertisements a day and 300-400 of those are ads only according to a report by Media Dynamics, Inc. Out of that I would assume at least a quarter is food advertisement which leads to the brain being triggered to want food. I know I have covered this before but our bodies are geared to want sugar, fat, and salt because they are not very abundant in nature. When we were hunter and gatherers it served a purpose to drive us to find these foods and then consume as much as possible when we did because it might be a long time until we would come across more food.
So when you see advertisements about food we still get those same signaling from our body which is to eat more! If you don’t believe me take a moment to think about your favorite food and notice how you begin to salivate. Your body is now prepping to consume that food and you might notice you become hungry either right now thinking about that food or within the next 5-10 minutes.
It’s this constant input that has turned most people into impulsive eaters, which is eating when you are triggered by something whether it is a situation, activity, time, and/or emotion which then causes you do eat. We have gone from a period where being hungry meant having to input a large amount of energy for our food, whether it was farming or foraging, to now having food at our finger tips. You can pick up a phone and have food come to your now, so you don’t even have to get up except to pay the delivery person which makes food easier to impulsively eat. If you think you might be a compulsive eater, which is a food addict, then you need to consult a professional as it is a different issue and can be more serious problem than impulsive eating
So now we have to shift our mindset from being unaware of the images we see and the food we keep around to recognizing the huge impact these things have on our decisions to grab food and eat even when we are not hungry. So here are a few tips on impulsive eating which can help.
Make sure you know what your triggers are.
Without recognizing the patterns you have taken when it comes to impulsive eating then it can be difficult to correct. If it’s an awkward situation, a time of day, a certain emotion, or specific activity which may also be very stressful or makes you feel peer pressured just make sure you take note and recognize what it is. Write those triggers down and make a plan to make sure it doesn’t continue to be a trigger for you. I recommend keeping good food you will actually eat and enjoy on hand to help correct the common bad habit of grabbing food out of convenience and without purpose.
Rewire your brain to redirect your triggers and cravings
This is a common thing you will hear when trying to overcome a behavior that has a negative effect which is to take up a new activity every time you have the urge to indulge in that behavior. The activity needs to be something which stops you in your tracks and draws your full attention. This could be a physical or non-physical activity. A physical activity might be doing burpees or pushups when you being to indulge or crave in impulsive eating and a non-physical activity could be stopping and acknowledging out loud to yourself what you are doing or writing it down. Whatever you chose make sure it has a big impact on your thought pattern or it will be easy to forget or overlook. This only works if you keep actively doing it until the cravings and pattern begins to withdraw. I don’t want to put a time stamp on how long it will take because each person is different but shoot for at least 6-9 weeks of doing this and then reevaluate to see if it has had some significant impact.
Eat smaller portions/don’t stuff yourself
Eat smaller portions to satisfy your hunger instead of binge eat. The pattern of binge eating will create a cycle of high insulin spikes followed by insulin crashes. This pattern over time creates unregulated insulin control which will increase impulsive eating patterns and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes over time. If you eat smaller portions it will create steady regulated insulin levels and help you lose unwanted weight over time if you make it a part of a healthy lifestyle and not something you do every now and then.
The last two points I want to cover where talked about by my co-host on our podcast LocalALists recently which I thought were really good. The first one was to find a life line in something or someone which you turn to when you feel yourself starting down a path where you will binge or impulsively eat. The second was to not wallow after messing up. We all mess up from time to time and mopping about it doesn’t help the situation at all it just creates a nasty downward spiral. If you want to hear the final tip James had check out our podcast right here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-15-sky-cast-post-workout/id1054854829?i=365773089&mt=2
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