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No One Is Immune

Tiffany Wright

 

As far as I can tell, no one is immune to the Covid 15. Everyone is overeating. Partially, we can blame this on stress eating and boredom. However, there is also a wave of new chefs in their kitchens – for many, a room rarely used for serious cooking. While the current wisdom is to do whatever you have to in order to get by, this is not appropriate advice when it comes to daily eating habits.

Gaining only 10-15 pounds can have a profound effect on your immune system and health, and coupled with lack of sunshine and exercise, you could easily end up in trouble. Additionally, dietary patterns can and do affect your brain chemistry, and these changes can be permanent.

When you eat sugar (and flour, which is the same as sugar in this context), your brain releases some pretty nice feel-good hormones.  Sugar signals the mesolimbic dopamine system to release dopamine, which is a brain chemical that makes you feel happy, safe, and relaxed. This dopamine hit reinforces the behavior and promotes fast learning by feeding your neural dendrites, thus making associations between eating sugar and feeling good. This repeated activation of the reward pathway can lead to tolerance and dependence.

Basically, your brain learns that, when you’re down and blue, if you eat sugar, you will feel better – and you will feel better.

There is little doubt that people are stressed, anxious, and bored and looking to relieve this tension.  Nothing is faster and more easily accessed than food. While we might be low on Lysol disinfecting wipes and paper towels, grocery stores are seeing a surge in the sale of cookies, crackers, potato chips, and candy.

Overindulging in food is not just about gaining fat but also about rewarding those pathways. The longer you reward those pathways, the more likely you will get to a point of no return – addiction. Food addiction, as all addictions, occurs when those reward pathways are hijacked and you can no longer control your behavior. Food addicts get the urge for pretzels and have no ability to control that urge.

Putting aside addiction, what about gaining fat? Being overweight has a serious impact on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and cancer. Excessive weight leads to lower life expectancy.  Children do not get off the hook, either. Overweight children ages 5-10 have a 60 percent increased risk for cardiovascular disease compared to children of normal or below-normal weight.

Because we are pretty sheltered right now, we have total control over our eating and our children’s eating. It is a matter of taking control. First and foremost, if you don't have the food in the house, you aren’t going eat it. You can’t even run to the store, willy-nilly, to get it. 

Most important to making a change is your decision on what you are going to eat: what your meals and snacks are going to be for the next week; creating a menu; and shopping only for those foods. You want to have a balance among protein, carbs, fats, and fruits and vegetables. You can have a baked potato, if you eat it with fish or chicken or steak and a few cups of vegetables.  For a snack, don’t eat a banana without yogurt or a hard-boiled egg. I find the best way to keep cravings at bay is to eat three meals a day and a snack at night. 

Think of your eating during the day as a checklist. Decide what you are going to eat, and check it off as the day progresses. Make sure you have enough food in the right balance, and you won’t, and shouldn’t, eat another bite of anything else.  If you believe one bite doesn’t matter, then remember that every healthy eating plan you ever started was sabotaged by one bite.  One bite does matter.

In order to have a healthy, fit body, you have to learn dieting skills and practice them every day, and with time, eating healthy will become easier.

If you have any questions you can email me at tiffany@SkinnyCoach.com. I lost 100 pounds more than 20 years ago and have been helping men and women for more than a decade.

Mon, August 3 2020 13 Av 5780