It isn’t hard to understand why you treat yourselves with food and in particular chocolate. Food is everywhere. Life is saturated with food cues with adverts on the telly, vending machines, confectionary at the petrol shop. You only have to think back to the advert where the delirious happy women in the bath is sumptuously eating chocolate to understand that our environment is full of cues about what emotions you will experience when you eat chocolate. Chocolate is good for you, 100% beneficial to your health and your life and this blog will explain my reasoning why.
Celebrating with food has been part of the human experience since time began. Religious and seasonal festivals have always been focused on food. It is part of human existence.
Emotional eating is also a part of our culture, eating when you feel vulnerable, sad, lonely, bored, excited and celebratory. Therefore denying yourself this delight is culturally and physically hard, if not impossible. Even if you are able to see the cultural and environmental cues you then have to remove yourself from them, which means denial. Denial and restriction take a large amount of mental ability. Mental strength is required to control your impulses and actions. Whilst willpower is strongest at the beginning of your day it wanes dramatically when you are tired, emotional or runs down at the end of the day, denial is hard to maintain. When you cave in, which is inevitable, this creates a downward spiral of self-loathing when you fail.
Denial creates self-loathing
If you were to interchange the word ‘diet’ with ‘denial’ it will make more sense. Control and penance are the keywords in the diet game and when you lose control, you fail, and then the cycle of self-loathing begins and ultimately you lose self-esteem.
Diets are culturally hard to maintain. You only have to notice yourself sitting apart from the family at the weekend, or avoiding food at Christmas to understand this, how hard you have to work to perform the act of denial.
If you consider the fact that half of the adult population has 4 or 5 different attempts at dieting each year and yet most of the population is overweight, the diet cycle of denial isn’t working.
And yet why it is that you can achieve so much in other areas of your life like your business, career, family. You know you can be successful when you put your mind to something so why is ‘dieting’ such a yoyo game? Armed with the knowledge in my blogs about IF and reduced carbs, you know that nutrition is basically very simple and yet so many get still get confused. Falling back to a diet feels like a prescribed route that is the easiest, quickest solution.
The solution that diets offer is structure, being told what to do. A diet can feel like a slight bossy and yet comfortable headmistress telling you what to do, and when to do it. Follow the rules and you will succeed. In a busy world, that is a mantra that is easy to understand. But what if the ‘headmistress’ is wrong.
Have you ever had the experience of being told the wrong thing?
Don’t miss low calorie means high toxicity
Why denial dieting works….. for a while
Diets and following the rules work for a certain type of person and most women fall into the personality type that loves the rules – most women are obligers.
Gretchen Rubin describes people into the ‘The Four Tendencies’ she explains that women generally fall into the Obligers group, who love to follow the rules. We are pre-programmed to keep the status quo, work hard, keep the peace. You may moan, groan and say how unfair or how unrealistic it is, but you can’t help yourself you are a people pleaser, most women are.
Eventually however, your inner teenage is eventually going to stamp her foot and say “I am not going to take it anymore!” and you fail. Secretly I adore your inner teenager I am on her side 😉 I would never meet her head-on, you have to chat around the subject and get her onside, then she is your most powerful ally.
Don’t miss: The Problem with Low-Fat Diets
With denial comes obsession
When you are denied a food type your focus becomes aware more and more of that food. Food becomes an obsession. Psychologically you focus on the one thing you are not allowed. Denial becomes an obsession and self-control becomes paramount. I don’t know if you have noticed but teenagers aren’t so keen on self-denial they prefer self-expression.
Don’t miss – don’t eat over your emotions express them
Willpower doesn’t work
Diets make you feel great on day one you eat better, you exercise more. Then, a couple of weeks later, it all starts to fall apart broccoli feels less appealing, because you have relied on push energy the energy of willpower to get you through the first few days or weeks, it is unsustainable.
Researches proved that willpower wanes quickly in the ‘Radish Experiment’
Researchers participants were asked to arrive hungry at the lab where they were hit by the smell of freshly baking cookies. They were then given a bowl of radishes and a bowl of chocolate chip cookies.
Participants were invited to either:
- Eat two or three radishes – yum!
- A second group were told to eat two or three cookies
- The control group arrived hungry but weren’t met with any food at all.
They were then required to complete impossible geometry puzzles as they sat there with the food right in front of them. The researchers were interested in how long the participants would persist with difficult questions:
- Those who had eaten the radishes and therefore had had to resist the cookies were not able to persist at those impossible puzzles for very long – about eight minutes before they got frustrated and gave up.
- Those who were allowed to eat the cookies and didn’t have their willpower stressed at all, persisted two, two and a half times longer on average 20 minutes.
Making decisions, monitoring your emotions, like the participants who ate the radishes, tap the same part of the brain that leaves you in a state of willpower depletion.
If your willpower is tested, it runs out quickly.
Willpower is like a battery pack that quickly loses its charge then leaves you in a state of vulnerability
Don’t miss Forget willpower rely on healthy habits
Change that lasts forever takes time, one step at a time. Creating a long-lasting ‘relationship with yourself’. A loving, cherished relationship with yourself which includes celebration which includes chocolate.
Lifestyle changes take longer, but you can live with them. Adaptative change that works with your life, creates confidence and long term transformation change.
I’d love to chat about your transformation change, what do you want to see happen in your life let’s chat, book a time that suits and lets work together how to bring your teenager onside and become the best version of you, it is your time
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A big part of that means that you will have nourishing eating habits that will give you more energy and more motivation as well as the appropriate levels of exercise.
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