We all like to treat ourselves to those naughty chocolates, or occasional portion of junk food…however the implications that follow can really be quite damning! Can we have both and have a guilt free conscience? Jo Talbot, Content Editor at http://www.prezzybox.com (@prezzybox) looks a little deeper into the situation for us…
With obesity and its related diseases continuously increasing, we’re forever being told to eat good foods, and judged for craving the bad – no wonder why our brains are pre-disposed to feelings of guilt whilst gorging on that chocolate bar…. But why should we have to live like this? There’s no doubt that our bodies need the right vitamins and minerals, but that isn’t to say we can’t indulge on our favourite treats without hindering our health. Want to know a secret? WE CAN HAVE BOTH! You just need to know how to control your relationship with food – it really is that simple.
By control I don’t mean obsessing over when you can treat yourself. By control I don’t mean logging your foods, counting calories and feeling a twinge of guilt when you fancy a good old British fish and chip dinner. Everybody views food in different ways – whether you’re overweight and on a diet, going to the gym, body building or none of the above, there is a unique way that each and every one of you will view a plate of the same food and by controlling your relationship, you need to let go of it all. That’s sounds like a contradiction, but there’s some interesting science behind it that you may not already know.
Each of the different people I have mentioned above can eat the same food, yet digest it in totally different ways. There is a reason for this – our thought process. Much like the opposite with smiling and laughter, our body cannot distinguish between a genuine stressful situation or an imagined one – each stressor, whether it be guilt, or body shame, will inhibit the function of your digestive system along with other bodily functions – don’t forget, your brain and your thought process is extremely powerful in your health and well-being. There is something that scientists and psychologists call the biopsychosocial model, introducing the notion that all 3 of the biological, psychological and social aspects of your life are interdependent, thus one will affect the other 2 in every single way. Take for example you’re eating a “bad” food. You’re signalling to your brain that you shouldn’t be eating it (psychological input). This consequently adapts the biological mechanism in such a way that it won’tdigest the food completely, as you’re telling your body with your thoughts that it shouldn’t be there. What does this result in?? The guilt will cause increased levels of cortisol (our stress hormone) leading to store more of the un-metabolised food as body fat. Please note, this happens when we eat a healthy meal too – if you’re unhappy, you will inhibit digestion.
So how can we increase feelings of happiness? As noted above, your brain is incapable of distinguishing between a fake or genuine smile. Take a pencil and hold it in between your teeth without it touching your lips. Do it for as long as you like, and before you know it, you’ll feel 10 times better. Alongside this, learn to love what you eat! Refrain from worrying about things not worth worrying about, enjoy your food and smile more. Happy eaters are happy people, so go and eat all the ice-cream you want. Just make sure you enjoy every second of it.
Undergraduate Psychology and Mental Health Student – The Open University.
Institute for the Psychology of Eating by Marc David
59 Seconds by Professor Richard Wiseman