Highly palatable foods are designed to hijack your brain by lighting up the reward part of the brain like a xmas tree and overwriting the mechanisms that send the signal that enough food has been eaten.
What this means is that a lovely cocktail of feel-good chemicals like dopamine, and serotonin are released into the body sending an awesome feeling of pleasure and everything is all good which will have you reaching for more even though you may not even be hungry.
The poor old rats in the lab would prefer to face being potentially mildly electrocuted for the sake of their highly palatables. For the sake of just one more hit…
This is why I will just have a tiny wafer just one square, one bite rarely works (unless you are more robot and less human-like) and yet we beat ourselves up and say horrible things to ourselves like why can’t I just control what I eat and the quantity of what I eat and then cycle into a free fall of well I’ve done it once so I mays as well keep going.
So, what exactly is a highly palatable food?
I know I don’t really need to go into this but let’s just get it out of the way. These foods are most often processed, sugary or fatty high in carbohydrates and sodium, and may be known as a dessert, or fast food, or sweet or junk food.
The thing is that all of those food companies know this, so they get together in their offices and look all sciency and clever in their white coats and come up with delicious, mouth-watering, can’t stop at one recipe that will hit you right in the reward circuit in the brain where all you will be left doing when on the lounge at night is going back for just another one and then another one and well I may as well…Just finish the packet now and then there is none left. Here we are making ourselves wrong about it when really what we need to do is come up with ways to “upgrade the brains software” where these foods are literally every, single, pun intended not even on the table anymore.
And I am here to tell you that this is entirely possible and well within your reach.
And if you are nodding your head as your listening to this and kind of eating popcorn enthralled at the possibility Nah just joking popcorn is a highly palatable food and of course, you want the large size when you are at the movies that’s what the company created when they were wearing their white coats and looking all sciency.
I will give them credit here it’s pretty delicious and another thing about popcorn at the movies is if you have done it once or twice then guess what your body will be now hypnotised into wanting it whenever the idea of movie night at the cinema is on the calendar.
Have you ever noticed how you start salivating at the thought of popcorn as you pull up at the movie cinema and despite all good intentions of trying to strong-arm yourself into no I’m just getting a water and I will chew gum because that’s what I read helps.
you have no hope in hell until you dig into the nooks and crannies of your automated programs that are running your life.
Remember back in the beginning I mentioned the hijacking of reward part of your brain?
Well this is where this cycle just gets worse. Because it is also the part of the brain that is involved with learning and perceptions. This is where shizz gets primal because back in the day food had to be pleasurable and memorable so that we would remember to go back looking for it so we could survive.
What this means today is that growing up we would overtime make certain associations with foods
e.g. Some foods would also not only keep you feeling full and therefore alive but certain foods actually made you feel better from all of the chemical release when things weren’t going so well…..like when you had a bad day at school which later became a bad day at the office or a fight with siblings or
friends and reaching for the chocolate, or ice-cream or croissant just seemed to take the edge off.
So how do you sneak up on yourself where that tiny little voice in your head actually…. that loud voice in your head that lures you into face planting into your favourite highly palatables just isn’t there anymore?
Come join me on my free masterclass where I will be unpacking for you 5 steps to releasing emotional eating comfort eating stress eating binge eating and insert any other type of disordered eating along with self-sabotage.
These steps have nothing to do with brushing your teeth, or just don’t have them in the house or buy them, or chewing gum, or just say no.
The fifth step will have us using one of my favourite techniques that rewires the brain to stop craving highly plateable foods.
You can probably tell that I love talking about this and that I know within my heart that the key to permanent change is rarely about doing more or cutting stuff out or restricting and dieting and trying to willpower your way through.
P.S. Join me on my FREE Masterclass where together we will go through the 5 key pillars to overcoming emotional eating and self-sabotage.
The 5th pillar is a technique that I use in my private practice to help clients to release unwanted beliefs and behaviours.
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