What do we know about how the human brain forms addiction? It’s clear that the more we do something, the deeper the pathways created in our brain. Those “neural pathways” become automated habits and eventually addictions. Just like toweling off after a shower is now automatic and likely done the same time each way, your brain will do everything it can to make all of the choices in your life simpler to preserve energy. So how can you cut your addictions off at the source?
1. Don’t give up! If you truly want to become healthier, you can 🙂
2. Find healthy swaps for high sugar, salt and fat foods (processed / preservative laden foods.) For example, instead of having potato chips, eat something with avocado. Have fresh berries instead of candy!
3. Acknowledge each time you feel the pleasure circuits trigger in your brain and body after eating something high in salt, sugar or fat. The more aware of your physical responses to phoods, the easier it will become to make a new choice.
4. Learn the art of “future pacing”. Imagine how you will feel after eating the potato chip, the candy bar or the fried piece of chicken. Recent studies on the human brain have shown that most people who have cravings actually get more pleasure in their minds than they do after following through and eating what they craved. Knowing this is empowering, choose differently!
5. Have your “swap it out” list prepared and keep the foods you want to eat around you at all times. If you usually carry M&M’s in your purse, swap that out for a healthier chocolate bar that’s dairy free and made from real cacao. If you normally crave french fries, consider bringing a few pieces of fruit along with you because your body is likely craving carbohydrates.