According to David Kessler, author of ‘The End Of Overeating: Taking Control Of Our Insatiable Appetite’, which was published earlier this year, it could be.
According to Kessler, his research shows that more and more of us are unable to resist the combination of salt, sugar and fat in the foods we choose, particularly fast or snack foods, as they give us a natural high. Unfortunately we can become almost ‘hooked’ on our own natural dopamine (one of the feel-good chemicals released from the brain) and because we enjoy the ‘rush’ so much we find it hard to resist the foods that provide it.
Food manufacturers, coffee chains, and fast food outlets know that this happens and food is now designed to be easy to swallow and to give us that ‘rush’. No wonder obesity is on the rise; we are being programmed to select the foods with just the right combination of salt, sugar and fat to give us that high.
The more we eat of these types of foods the more we become conditioned to respond to the need for the rush: almost like being addicted to other types of drugs. Unfortunately, the side affect of this addiction is to become increasingly overweight with all the accompanying health risks of heart disease, diabetes, stroke etc.
One reason why this may happen has been shown by recent research, led by Lukas Van Oudenhove, MD, PhD from Belgium at the University of Leuven. This has shown that when people who are sad eat fatty foods it changes their mood and they reported lower feelings of sadness than other groups in the research. The researchers were able to show this by using MRI scans to track the changes in the test subjects’ brains.
Despite this physiological change, all is not lost; ‘resistance is not futile’ to misquote the Borg (from Star Trek). You can change your relationship with food. You can learn how food can be tasty and satisfying without loading on the salt, sugar and fat. You can learn how to handle uncomfortable or unhappy emotions without turning to the ‘rush’ that these foods provide. In David Kessler’s book he gives some suggestions to help you control your urge to succumb to this type of food. What he suggests is helpful, but sometimes people need a bit more help than just reading a book.
Many of you will be familiar with Paul Mckenna’s ‘I can make you thin’ or other hypnotherapy products by other therapists. Hypnotherapy does work for weight reduction and clients can and do make changes to how they regard food. Some therapists offer cognitive behaviour hypnotherapy, which, as its name suggests, combines elements of cognitive behaviour therapy and hypnosis. This helps people address not only their habits but also the psychological aspects of eating. Just what you need if your brain is being reprogrammed by the food you are eating.
by Anne Morrison © 2011
Anne Morrison, MBSCH, Clinical and Cognitive Behaviour Hypnotherapist, lives in Whitley Bay and works in North Shields. She is also a volunteer therapist at Hospice Care North Northumberland providing support to patients and their relatives. She can be contacted by phone on 0191 300 0933 or via her website www.annemorrison.co.uk.