Once your favorite cookies (or treats) are in site (or even a clear image in your mind), your brain already begins to squirt out dopamine--this is a neurotransmitter in the brain that's linked in reward-motivated behavior--which then tells us that this indeed is what we need at this moment. The picture above may have already done the trick!
It plays a sweet song of immediate gratification and plays down any chatter of long term consequences.
Heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes are the last thing on your mind.
Your mind (and body) become heavily obsessed on what you are focusing on...and whatever you focus on expands. If it's within sight and it's something you really enjoy, it will be hard to simply forget about it and go on about your day. This is why the "out of sight, out of mind" is so crucial when attempting to clean up your diet.
To add to the element of challenge, when dopamine is released, it also triggers the release of stress hormones that makes us feel anxious. This is why the more we think about the reward we want, the more important it becomes to us. The more we think we have to it NOW!
Ironically, the ultimate rewards we're looking for can elude us every time, but the smallest possibility of payoff and the anxiety of giving up the quest can keep us hooked, even to the point of obsession.
Researchers shows that that the dopamine release triggered by one promise of reward makes us more likely to pursue others. Dream of striking it rich or get a raise at work, and food can become really appetizing.
If we're to succeed with our nutrition and our overall discipline factor, we must learn to distinguish between the false, distracting and addicting rewards we're enticed with every day, and focus on the real rewards that give us true fulfillment in life.
This is not to say that you shouldn't enjoy your favorite treats every now and then. Simply becoming aware of what our bodies are doing physically can give us the tool to combat the need to always give in to the strong cravings.
A simple way to clean your diet right away is to simply write down everything you eat on a daily basis for at least 3 days. That will be enough to encourage you to double think everything before you consume it. Our favorite app is the "Lose it" for tracking foods.
Keep your eye on the prize...but most importantly aim for progress each day with your nutrition. Soon you'll make that 80/20 approach a natural habit in your life.
Speaking of the 80/20 approach, we'll be doing that during the 21 day K-Fit Reboot which starts on Tuesday. You'll have a total of 4 cheat days during the challenge (that's the 20%). The other 17 days we'll be focused on eating as clean as possible; no sugar (including hidden ones), no processed food (if it has more than 5 ingredients), no alcohol.
In addition to our small group workouts at Studio K-Fit, we'll include some workouts you can do on your own as part of the daily goals in order to fully reboot. Email us if you're interested and we'll get you set up.
Committed to your health,