Feb 09 2020

Food Habits are Especially Hard to Break

Published by at 12:39 pm under probiotic supplements

Habits are difficult to break, especially when it comes to food.
Make sure your eating habits are leading to a destiny of long term health and wellness.

Changing habits can be difficult…sometimes impossible. Especially when it comes to food. We have good intentions and we want to eat better. Our motivations vary. Usually, we want to ‘look better’, or ‘do better’ and lastly we want to feel better. But many “diets” fall flat, and people end up back in the same eating habits as before. Science shows that while we can change what we eat and when we eat for a short period of time, once we experience a moment of weakness, many (not all) of us go right back to our old habits. According to Kari Anderson, DBH, CEDS who is in private practice at myEatingDoctor in Scottsdale, Arizona “…It’s complicated and primal, and it has everything to do with your brain trying to help you survive. Even if the eating changes that you’re trying to make will make you healthier…”1*

While we set out to eat healthful foods during the day, we get off track, most usually in a moment of stress, and then we beat ourselves up for falling off the wagon. How and why is it so hard to stick to our diets? If we can’t do it for ourselves, can’t we do it to ensure our long term health for our loved ones? Why is it so hard? In a moment of weakness and faced with a delicious piece of chocolate cake, french fries or a greasy burger, our future health and our loved ones don’t usually come to mind, just the desire to have what we want. Are we really that weak? According to Andersen, “…Deep within our brain lies a basic quest for survival, located in the reptilian brain. Food is key to our survival and it represents safety. So if someone (even you) starts messing around with your food, all bets are off. That’s because of any threat to your safety, whether real or perceived, evokes fear…”1*

According to health experts, there is more to it. We can tell ourselves we are “bad people with bad habits” and it is easy to beat ourselves up and feel ashamed when we go off our diets. But we shouldn’t be hard on ourselves. According to Andersen, it’s quite simple because it is purely instinctual and emotional. It is especially true for people who have experienced any type of food insecurity in their lives. This could be a result of eating disorders, poverty, growing up in the depression, chronic dieting or having lived with a caregiver that tried to control our food. These experiences cause us to feel threatened when we try to change our eating habits.1*

“…Part of our habits with food have been built within the reward pathways of our mammalian brain…” There is a behavioral hypothesis called Porges Polyvagal Theory that suggests “…relationships and social engagement with others is the primary way that mammals have developed to calm themselves. This natural regulation is accomplished through neurological processes and when relationships go missing, food can often serve a similar function…” She goes on to suggest that, “…Through sensory experiences and the movement of facial muscles, eating neurologically mimics social interaction, providing a feeling of safety and calm…”1*

Because our food habits originate from such a deeply unconscious place in our brain, it is easy to see why it is so hard to stick with it. When we make the conscious decision to start a diet plan or feel the desire to change our food behavior, we are in a calm state. The problem and when we blow it, arises when we become agitated, tired, depressed or stressed. During these times, our need for safety and comfort automatically defaults to our “repitilian or mammailian brain” and our rational brain goes out the window.  But, according to Andersen, through practice, we can change our brains and heal food insecurity. We can rewire food reward pathways and learn to not use food for feeling connection. 1* 

The goal is to not be motivated by “being good” or even “looking good” but by feeling good.This is driven from within and by what is truly important to you. So you’d wonder, wanting to be healthy isn’t enough? “…Knowing when you feel good and wanting to do what’s needed to keep feeling that way is an example of intrinsic or internal motivation. Unfortunately, many people are so disconnected from their bodies,  according to Andersen, that they don’t know when they feel good, or bad…”2*

According to Andersen, the key to this internal motivation comes from connecting to your body and your internal motivation through mindfulness. Being present, in the moment and listening to our bodies, our mood and our mental state. How do certain foods make you feel after you eat them? When we notice that certain foods that we eat, and in particular combinations and at certain times make us either feel good or not good, we can start really listening to our bodies, and then let our bodies tell us what to do. If you eat a donut and while it tastes delicious in the moment makes you feel awful afterward, you can listen to your body enough to know that you don’t want to do that again. Or, if you eat lots of vegetables and lean meat and you wake up the next morning feeling lighter and more energized, you will want to repeat that behavior. 2*

This is so very important because it keys right into the gut. When we feed our microbiome foods that only perpetuate the growth of candida and other bad bacteria, we feel bad. We feel foggy, tired and weighted down. When we replace that with foods that feed the good bacteria, we feel better overall. We feel energized, happier and healthier. But it does take conscious mindfulness to really want to make this a habit. Remember, habits become our destiny, so good habits are important. 2*

When our guts are populated with bad bacteria, it can feel comforting to eat those foods that feed that bacteria because they are hungry, causing us to crave these foods. Beating a junk food habit can be extremely hard for this reason. It can even be uncomfortable and unsatisfying at first. But with regularity and increasing the Probiotics that go into our guts, we can starve out the unfriendly bacteria and replace it with healthy bacteria that make us feel good, boost our immune system which makes us feel healthier. We can do this through a regular regimen of Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ and then eating the right foods that support a healthy microbiome.2*

“…By simply pausing and noticing our awareness of behaviors that make us feel good can create new reward pathways in our brains…” It is inch by inch, rather than a big reward at the end of a long day such as having a big meal or a hot fudge sundae which tastes good in the moment but not in the long run. Learning to reward ourselves in more healthy ways is the key. Instead of making choices out of shame, a need to feel secure or comforted, we start making food choices based on competence, knowledge and conscious choices rather than out of habit or fear.2*

One helpful way to start off on the right foot is to always make the first food you eat each day a healthy one. A vegetable scramble, whole grain toast with avocado, oatmeal with fresh fruit will keep your body on the right track and tell your microbiome what to crave for the rest of the day. If you start your day with high sugar or processed foods, your body will key into that and just crave more as your glucose levels spike, craving more sugar. Even if you aren’t a “breakfast person” just make sure that no matter what time you eat, you eat something that is going to feed your good bacteria and nourish your body as a whole. Remember our actions lead to habits and our habits lead to our destiny. What is your destiny?2*

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

www.bodybiotics.com

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/behernow/201709/why-changing-eating-habits-permanently-is-so-hard
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/behernow/201710/the-secret-changing-eating-behavior-good

 

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