Emotional eating, cravings and impulsive hunger

Emotional eating, food cravings, impulsive hunger, and hunger pains are some of the most powerful ties to eating junk foods that exist. These often overlooked eating triggers can ruin our health and weight. Worse than that, they can make us feel or appear weak. These common drivers of over eating are just as physical as high blood pressure, chronic pain, or a broken bone. Most importantly they have nothing to do with willpower.

Diets fail and exercise falls short in reducing body fat (in traditional models) because they do not address the hormonal and brain chemistry situation that is driving our relationship with specific foods. In essence, when done outside of a bigger plan or effort to address these issues full circle, they become a gimmick, or some new fad program and over time WILL make things worse for most people.

Low calorie, low fat, 5-7 meal a day programs in the long run will terrorize virtually everyone who tries them. Not only do the make us miserable, not only do they not work, they can actually cause us more harm than good. Anyone who has tried a low calorie, low fat diet of almost any kind knows that before long you will be more hungry than ever, think about food all the time, and even if you hit the first drop in weight of the yo-yo diet phenomenon, you eventually will plateau only to then regain your weight as the yo-yo goes back up full swing.

If anyone tells you all you need to do is, “eat less and exercise more,” you are speaking to the wrong person. Most people out there have tried it and the vast majority of health care practitioners and government guidelines still recommend it, but you need to know that these recommendations that are what is in error, not your intentions or efforts most of the time. The premise is simply wrong.

If you address the hormonal/brain chemistry piece first, or at least at the same time as you start an appropriate eating and exercise program (doing the right kind of exercise) you can FREE yourself of your emotional eating, impulse eating, cravings and hunger pains. Once you do this you will also be free from the clutches of all of your “go to” weakness foods. When you approach this equation correctly, one step at a time, you can eliminate binge eating, emotional food crutches, cravings, and overall nagging hunger itself. This my friends, is absolutely LIBERATING. This my friends, is WILL POWER, not some mystical trait some have and most think they do not possess.

It has taken me until now to realize this myself. I too have given into the party lines over the years, spoke to calories, watched fat, and tried to exercise weight issues away for myself and others….and I know now, I was wrong. I am happy to say that we are now on the right track. I did not realize just how powerful those attachments to certain foods can be, how physically addictive they truly and literally are, until I broke free of them. Once you do so your entire reality shifts and you feel like you have will power flowing out of your ears. But the truth is, that state of control and your confident, healthy relationship with food is in us all the time. Just usually hidden by diet myths and masked by gym lore.

Emotional eating, impulse eating, cravings and nagging hunger all start and are perpetuated by your brain chemistry. Food (especially processed and refined food) activates your biological addiction cycle by stimulating your pleasure centers of your brain and activating all of your feel good neurotransmitters. These regions are the same that are hi-jacked by cocaine, heroine, painkillers, and other addictions, except much more powerfully believe it or not. Momma rats once strung out on sugar in experiments will abandon their young to get more sugar, but not when addicted to cocaine. That is how powerful this brain chemistry attachment to food can be.

On the other side of the equation it is important to know that your metabolism is not determined by calories, it is driven by hormones. Hormones tell us if we are truly hungry, thirsty, and signal when we are full. Hormones control fat gain and loss, muscle gain and loss, your energy levels, your metabolic rate, clarity of mind, and your motivation. Not calories. Trying to use a linear equation to balance calories in and calories out as many of us have been told to control our weight or metabolism is useless. Without the fat storing hormones in play you can eat 10,000 calories a day and not gain weight, yet while they are being over stimulated you can gain weight eating 1,000 calories a day…..both a mathematical impossibility if calories really controlled the bodyweight show. They just don’t, and we need to think outside of that old, overly simplistic model.

Now having worked with hundreds of people and reviewed studies and data of thousands on people we know that what most people consider the psychological side of weight issues is not “all in your head” but rather can be as hard wired as any pathway or reflex we have in our body, or more so. So again, although this powerful chemistry stage is set at this moment in your brain, it is NOT all in your head. Follow the order of brain chemistry, hormonal chemistry, then metabolism and you will start to see a change where all other efforts have fallen short. Stay tuned in to this blog and we will have more details and specifics to come.

These are very exciting concepts, very real, and proving to be very successful. There is hope!

Keep at it, there is more out there than many think.

Dr. Don

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