The average Australian eats too much junk and not enough good food. If we replaced all the junk with half as much fruit, vegetables and wholegrains and drank water instead of soft drinks we would be back on track.
Hunger is no guide for how much to eat when you eat junk food because junk food never seems to satisfy for long yet the average take-away has the calories of 2 meals.
If you are inactive, your appestat doesn’t seem to work well either. The part of your brain believed to regulate hunger and satiety seems to need some vigorous movement to get it going.
This is sounding like an ‘eat less and move more’ scenario (which it is) and brings us to the question of why do so few people manage to make appropriate changes to their lifestyle?
The answer is complex and the bottom line is humans aren’t perfect. We can’t be set like a machine and hum like clockwork. Our ‘free will’ gets in our own way. But is it free will or compulsion that makes us reach for chocolate, chips and take-away’s instead of nothing, fruit or a healthy home cooked meal that can take the same amount of time to prepare as securing the take away.
When we choose to eat junk food from a craving, it’s no choice at all.
There is a whole science behind choice. Why and how we make decisions. I don’t pretend to be an expert in it, simply want to point out that much of what we think is choice and free will is compulsion and entrapment.
Tune into your body and feel how much it enjoys eating junkfood. The pleasure is all in the head.
A simple fact we should not over look is that our ancestors snacked less, ate smaller portions (recall grandmas plates, bowls, cups and glasses) were more active and slimmer. We have their genes. So when you decide to go healthy and ask yourself: what can I have instead of ……..(fill in the blank, junk food) the answer will sometimes be ‘nothing’.
If you have a gastric band or sleeve, there will be little physical need to snack more than once per day. Twice if you get up really early or go to bed really late. We can condition our body like Pavlov’s dog to expect snacks and then we think we need them.
A good snack is fruit or dairy but not dairy laced with sugar. Half a cheese whole grain sandwich (the same cals as cheese and 6 rice crackers) or Greek style yogurt and berries for example or a decaf skim cappuccino.
Good food is more appealing the less junk food you eat and junk food is less appealing the more good food you eat. Test it out. Your body is wise but your mind can be fooled.
Sometimes at the core of complex problems such as obesity are simple steps that can pave the way for change: snack less.
Don’t be fooled by the clever marketing strategies of junk food and soft drink companies. They don’t usually have your health and wellbeing in mind. Neither do customer service operators at the Petrol Station that prompt you to buy confectionary.