So far this holiday season we have discussed several items covering making better options (remember…bad, better, best choices) in exercise, nutrition and stress management choices.
BUT–what about all of those treats that keep showing up on my doorstep? Why is it that people give food during the holidays? To put it simply, food comforts. In Psychology Today, Dr. Heshmat suggests 5 Reasons We Crave Comfort Food. Essentially, we are seeking pleasure, memories, and fitting in. There are neural pathways…. some state these habits as triggers that say, “let’s do that again.” Serotonin, commonly known as the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter plays a role, as does dopamine–which initiates pleasure, motivation, and focus. Our body gets accustomed to the rush of dopamine (produced by eating energy dense sugary and fatty foods) and seeks a higher dose. Neuroplasticity is rewiring the pathways. So, how do you do it? Recognize and reduce your intake. You can also reset completely with fasting.
- Pause before you eat to recognize if you are filling an emotional or physical hunger.
- Try fasting for 12-18 hours on a regular basis–that can be daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonally.
- Drink water.
- Eat HEALTHY foods that increase dopamine but also have fiber to regulate the sugar and fat intake.
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Chocolate! Make it dark….and try the chocolate meditation below.
Be the example for better or best choices in your giving and be a healthy trend setter! Give gifts of relaxation, such as bath salts. Gifts of time and reflection such as journals with beautiful prompts. Flavorful and healthy treats such as chocolate covered strawberries or this healthy Caramel Corn. Another favorite tip, try this chocolate meditation!