Making a Habit of Healthy
Let’s face it, eating healthy is hard.
The concept seems simple, right? All we need to do is eat more fruits and vegetables and cut out fats and sweets. Seems easy so WHY IS IT SO HARD? One word: habits. In a world where we have little energy and even less time, our habits are what makes us, and keeps us unhealthy.
The science behind junk food.
When human life began, we fought for our food in a predator vs. prey scenario. Although we’ve evolved quite a bit since our primitive days, our taste buds don’t understand that it’s been a very long time since we’ve needed to utilize that for survival. Our taste buds are constantly on the search for high calorie, high fat foods but we are no longer going on day long expeditions to hunt for and kill our food. This means that while we are still craving that hunter/gatherer meal, our bodies are no longer hunting and gathering and that is where our excess weight comes into the story. There’s another crazy thing about junk food… it’s addicting. In May of 2010, Nature Neuroscience published a study http://www.nature.com/neuro/press_release/nn0510.html in which rats were fed fast food and the pleasure sensors in their brains responded. The rats became obese and even though electric shock was administered to deter them from eating the junk food, they continued to eat poorly. These effects lasted more than 2 weeks after their meals were changed to a more nutritious diet. This is because food directly affects dopamine (our naturally occurring feel-good drug). If you are curious about how the food industry is involved in this, I suggest reading this article by Michael Moss – 10 Food Secrets You Need to Know http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/56249-10-food-secrets-you-need-to-know.html
All is not lost.
It seems like our own bodies AND science are against us! It is possible to learn to be addicted to healthy food by retraining our brains to enjoy healthy food. This isn’t a simple process but it CAN be done! The human brain can be trained to love healthy food, just as it’s been trained to love junk food. The key to making this change is taking small steps. You can’t go cold turkey (pun intended) on junk food; this is not the way addiction works. You have to make small, healthy changes every day. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, replace that snack with a healthier option. Once your body has adjusted to the change you can begin working on other areas of your diet (i.e. swapping beef out for leaner meats or substituting your cola for juice, tea or water). The more you eat healthy foods, the more your body will love them!
The key to being healthy is changing bad habits. It doesn’t have to be an overnight change because that’s not how it began. Making small habit changes every day can result in a big payoff in the long run! Woods Chiropractic can help you achieve your goals by putting together a wellness plan including nutrition and regular chiropractic visits custom fit to your body and lifestyle!