Even after all its health disadvantages have been revealed, junk food seems to be as popular as ever. Justifying it by availability and convenience, people are still stuffing themselves with fries, chips, pizzas, burritos, tacos, etc. And no one can argue that it isn’t delicious. Still, we can teach our brain to stop craving fast food, by reversing its addictive power.
How Does Your Brain React to Food?
It has been noted that eating unhealthy food for prolonged periods of time can activate the brain’s reward system for high-calorie meals. The brain memorizes that you have broken your fast with a delicious slice of pizza or a crunchy bag of chips, and reacts positively to fast food in the future. A sort of addiction is formed. However, a recent study by Tufts University has shed new light on the programmability of the brain related to food. It included 13 healthy but obese or overweight men and women – while eight of them were enrolled in a special weight loss program, the remaining five comprised the control group.
What Has the Study Revealed?
While the weight loss group was educated on the selection of healthy snacks and meal spacing, they were also given menus that controlled portions and hunger-reducing recipes, like those providing 25% energy from protein and fat and 50% from low glycemic index carbs. When presented with images of healthy, low-calorie foods after six months, the weight loss group has shown more brain activity in a brain region that is crucial for rewarding, than the control group. In the same way, their brain activity decreased significantly when presented with images of unhealthy, high-fat food.
What is Your Motivation?
Before starting a healthy eating plan, you should determine what you want to achieve. Whether it is weight loss, wearing your clothes better or simply feeling better in your body, it’s important to make it clear and open that box whenever your motivation falters.
Ask for a Medical Opinion
Talking to a doctor about your healthy diet plan is a powerful boost. You will get some expert advice, together with tips that you may find useful throughout your plan.
Write Things Down
Once you’ve come up with a list of reason why you want to eat healthy, write them down. You can expand your list with motivational quotes that may inspire you and help you stay focused on the prize. You can even make it pocket-sized or arrange it into your smartphone’s welcome screen.
Try to Remember How it Feels to Eat Healthy
You must have had a period in your life when you ate healthy foods and felt good about it. You were full of energy, rarely hungry and more mobile. When you reach that moment, try to expand it, and remember what it felt like to walk, run, do sports, date. Let these memories motivate you.
It’s extremely important that you don’t overdo it and make abrupt changes that your brain just won’t compute. Begin with small adjustments to your diet plan and then expand the whole thing. First get rid of sodas and sweets, replacing them with mineral water and fresh fruit. Then you can include high-protein meals and workout supplements that can help you get lean.
Include a Reward
You should set specific milestones along the way, which will help you recollect your progress. It won’t be easy, but if you include motivational rewards along the way, it will be more fun. The reward will also trigger the part of your brain associated with the rewarding processes, relating healthy foods with a reward.
As I’ve sad, many food companies realize that there are people out there who are struggling to build healthy eating habits, so you can find low-calorie versions of your favorite dishes and snacks. Buying those instead of those high in calories won’t feel like cheating.