Episode 13. Your Brain and the Modern World of Food Abundance
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The reward centers of your brain are involved in your cravings and hunger. For a dieter in our modern world of food abundance, this is extremely important. The best strategy is to acknowledge this, then deal with it intelligently and calmly. This is all about awareness training—knowing what your specific cravings are, being aware of what your triggers are, learning your own thought patterns.
Brain Reward Center Notes:
- Scott mentioned his rubber band exercise. It’s as simple as this: put a rubber band on your write (like the kind you might find in the grocery store around veggies) and every time you catch yourself with a specific sabotaging thought, snap yourself.
- Again, Mike reverted to examples from dog training and B.F. Skinner’s work.
- Another exercise Scott sometimes (though rarely, only if a client is really adamant that they physically can’t go without it) assigns, is letting a client eat *only* their rewarding food: chocolate, pasta, whatever it may be. This teaches that the food in question isn’t actually that amazing—it just takes on that power when you tease yourself with it.
- You don’t get “rid” of habits. You can in a sense overwrite or modify them, but not erase.
- Scott loves Michael Pollan’s quote, eat food, not too much, mostly plants.
- The food industry is ahead of the game in all of this. They are aware of how your brain chemistry works, and they are using that to sell you more and more products. Again: this is why awareness training is so important.
- The food industry also co-opts count-cultural idea and movements. Think marketing “organic” and things like.
Five Strategies to Deal with Cravings
- Accept it. You still have that animal brain that responds on a very basic instinctual level to food rewards. Accept it, and begin awareness training.
- Meal timing and structure. This doesn’t mean PWO or anything. It means keep structured meal times. It entrains the circadian rhythms of your hunger hormones.
- Get a variety of tastes, textures, and colours. Multiple macronutrients, a variety in your meal plan.
- Have a meal plan. Don’t get lost counting calories. The structure will help with habits for a variety of reasons.
- Control your environment as best you can. Also, identify what your triggers are, then modify the habit loop. If you find yourself getting caught, a cognitive shit.
Links / Resources Mentioned
Check out Scott’s book Beyond Metabolism.
Or, Mike’s Guide to Mastering Your Hunger and Cravings