Hey folks this week we wrap up our series on the 7 Habits that are wrecking your health. If you haven’t already read the first two blog posts go back and read Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE so you understand all the habits to avoid.
This week we are going to take a closer look at some of the common emotional triggers that can damage your health.
Discussed below we will be covering how your emotions are impacting your dietary decisions and how your relationship with the scale is negatively affecting your fat loss goals from a mental standpoint.
6. Your Emotions Are Controlling Your Food Choices
When there is a stressful event or we experience sadness or depression we are drawn to certain kinds of food because they provide temporary comfort from the negative emotion.
Cravings for particular foods are not all caused by the same things in our body. There are actually three different types of cravings that people experience on a regular basis.
3 Types Of Food Cravings
Supportive: The body is trying to fulfill a deficiency. You crave dark chocolate because you are severely deficient in magnesium.
You crave peanut butter because your body is trying to make sure you get an omega 6 fatty acid that is missing in your diet.
Emotional: Trying to find a food to fulfill a feeling ,even if it’s short lived. You get depressed as a result you eat ice cream which elevates your mood for a short period of time.
When you come down from the ice cream high your low is much worse. The surefire way to elevate your mood again is to eat more ice cream. This is a tricky cycle to follow because this is how food addictions are created.
Associative: Associating a food with a memory or experience. Let assume you are very close with your family and used to regularly share meals with them. You liked the food but what you really loved was seeing and spending time with your family.
You get a new job and move out of state away from your family and miss them very badly. Suddenly you find yourself cravings the foods you used to eat with them at family gatherings.
You aren’t actually craving the food, but because of the association the food has with your family whom you miss you crave the food.
Many of the food cravings that people experience are directly tied to how they impact the chemicals in the brain to make the person feel better.
I don’t know anyone who describes feeling powerless or addicted to purple cabbage or broccoli like some people do with sugar and processed carbohydrates.
People choose less than healthy options when they have food cravings, because these foods impact their emotions.
There have been multiple studies that link the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in your body to consumption of junk food. Those with higher levels of cortisol ate more junk food than those with lower cortisol levels.
Another study showed that these negative moods not only lead people to eat the wrong foods but also caused those folks to eat much more of those poor food choices as well.
Do you find yourself eating poor food choices out of because of sadness, anxiety, depression or any other negative mood when you know that you feel no physical hunger ?
Try eating the foods below next time your mood takes a negative turn. These foods will help to boost your mood, and improve your health long term.
Break The Pattern:
Another strategy can be to replace eating food with a habit that also boosts your mood. This Going for a walk, listening to your favorite music or heading to the gym for a workout have all improve a person’s mood.
When it comes to the foods you eat on a daily basis they can negatively or positively impact your mood and energy throughout the day.
There are specific foods that can be especially helpful for boosting mood because they contain the precursors to the brain hormones (neurotransmitters) that control how you feel.
Those two main neurotransmitters that control your mood are serotonin and dopamine. Let’s cover some of the foods that help to boost production of these hormones.
Foods That Boost Serotonin
Cashews, Almonds, Walnuts
Foods That Boost Dopamine
7. Letting the Scale Impact How You Feel
I don’t like scales when it comes to tracking fat loss or reaching goals. A lot of people get up in the morning and step on the scale.
Those people let the number on the scale dictate how they feel about themselves starting at the very beginning of the day.
If the number on the scale higher than expected they person feels depressed, if it’s lower than expected they feel excited.
I hate to see this because the scale is very easy to manipulate, and is never a true gauge for fat loss or health.
Scales don’t tell the whole fat loss story, and can have powerful impacts on a person’s emotions and self esteem, typically those impacts are negative.
3 Big Problems With The Scale
Weight Fluctuates Dramatically
The human body is truly amazing, and very responsive to the signals we send it. We are constantly eating, drinking, going to the bathroom, sweating
Morning and night time weights will also fluctuate because of what you have been eating, drinking, salt and carbohydrate consumption and your hormones.
Weight Alone Doesn’t Reveal The Whole Story!
We all know that muscle weighs more than fat, but in the process of losing “weight” you never want to sacrifice hard earned muscle!
Ignore losing “weight” are interested in losing fat, and scales that give a body fat percentage are very inaccurate.
The goal is to reduce body fat while preserving and even building muscle mass. Weight loss doesn’t answer if we are losing fat, or burning up muscle.
Your Self Worth Is Greater Than A Number On A Scale
Having a goal and wanting to make changes is an amazing part of life, but DO NOT let a number on a scale control how you feel about yourself!
Don’t fall victim to playing the up and down emotions game associated with scale addiction. Look how far you have come, and realize you have EARNED every step along the way.
Everybody is a work in progress and has their own journey in this life. Focus on your journey, and the distance you have traveled since first starting on this path!
Break The Pattern:
Before we cover how to track progress without a scale let me say this: DON’T TRACK ANYTHING DAILY!
Any form of daily tracking can become an addiction, and fosters an unhealthy relationship with your body and food. Once more DON’T TRACK ANYTHING DAILY!
I recommend tracking your progress every 2 weeks. Take these pictures and measurements at the same time, on the same day of the week. A Monday or Friday morning before you eat breakfast are the best options.
Tracking Progress Without A Scale (Non Scale Victories)
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These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained, while keeping you accountable along the way.