You sit down for lunch at your favourite restaurant. When asked to order, you hear yourself say "a burger with chips and that chocolate brownie looks good too, I'll have that with ice cream for dessert."
It's like those words just flew out.
You walked in there thinking you where going to have the salmon with a side of veggies but somehow that is not what came out of your mouth.
You sit for a moment in disbelief of what you just did.
Research shows when it comes to food choices, stress affects our decision-making processes.
“What happened” you wonder. It was as if your brain had an appetite of its own.
Before you start berating yourself, I can tell you I've had the exact same experience, more than once.
So what actually happened? Was it the devil? Can this be controlled?? Are you really doomed to sabotage yourself for the rest of your life??
To ease your concerns, this is a perfectly natural response to stress.
Feeling overwhelmed? Not getting enough sleep? Working yourself to the bone, family pulling you in 20 different directions??
A recent study has revealed the effects that stress has on the decision-making process, particularly when it came to food choices.
Stress impairs communication in the brain between areas that are linked to self-control success (and delayed gratification) while it increased activity in areas of the brain that determine taste sensation.
When this part of your brain is on high alert it goes for something that would deliver immediate gratification - steering you toward something tasty that it could have right now with little regard for any impact that choice may have on the future.
One interesting aspect of the study was invisible stress
That is, the participants that didn’t even think they were stressed were making the same choices as those that knew they were stressed.
Turns out that the drive to choose tasty food now wasn’t just related to perceived stress.
Under stress the brain is on a mission to deliver gratification now, regardless of your best intentions.
Stress increases activity in the areas of the brain that cause you to say, “I want something now” and decreases activity in the areas of the brain that are necessary for saying, “I’m focused on my goals and plans.” In other words, immediate gratification wins out over your long term goals.
If you find yourself saying, “Why did I order that?!” or reaching for chips and ice cream without thought its time to look at how you are managing stress.
How to eat to beat stress
We all know stressful situations are a part of life. How we choose to react to what we perceive to be stressful, is in fact a learn habit.
And the best way to beat a bad habit is replace it with a better one.
Try to transform yourself whist depriving yourself, living on bland, boring food, you will succumb to stress-eating reactions that affect your weight and health. It's also called yo-yo dieting.
The health and weight issues of this type of stress-response eating are severe and accumulative.
1. Understand the best kept Secret about food – Whatever is close by and easy to get to you will eventually eat it. Good or bad.
2. Therefore you need to surround yourself with better choices that are close at hand. That’s why Shar’s kitchen video series is so effective. With a couple of hours you can make up to 48 delicious meals ready to eat. Shar often does this for less than $4 a meal.
3. Reduce the amount of bad choices in near proximity. Now this can be as simple as moving the kids confectionary and treats to the back of the pantry, another draw or even another section of the kitchen that you won’t open 10 times a day.
Other small but great strategies include not purchasing the large tubs of ice cream for your freezer. Get the smaller individual serving for the children and once they gone, that’s it. Better still, take everyone out to the park and buy an ice cream to enjoy outside.
That's why the transformationcookbook.com provides the tools and simple strategies that make fast, tasty, delicious, healthful foods a habit and not a chore.
When you and the family truly enjoy what you eat every day, it makes life much less stressful. Set yourself up for Fast Delicious Success. Let's start with these amazing Hot Cakes.
FOLLOW Dr Paul Cribb PhD.