You’re walking through the grocery store. You have made healthy food choices so far today and are picking up a few thing a for dinner. You see your favorite snack…cookies maybe. “I’ve been good today, I can have one cookie, I’ll save the rest for another snack.” Before you know it, you are in the car and you have gobbled down half the pack. What just happened? You are immediately sick at your stomach. You feel guilty. You have done it again, but why? Certainly you should have more willpower than this? You know this is not healthy. Why did you do this again?
Sound familiar? This is more than any willpower can handle. This is dealing will food cravings. Another beast that willpower cannot overcome. There could be different reasons this is happening to you. In my case I was calorie, nutrient, and carb deprived. Before I began eating healthy, I cut calories to 1200 per day or less and ate minimal carbs. What was happening to me? Well, by the time I reached the store I probably had only had about 600-700 calories for the day and my body was starving for nutrients. Primal instinct is going to take over at some point that willpower cannot fight. Of course your body is going to crave what will give it the quickest energy…high glycemic carbs… in my case…. cookies….yum! This happened repeatedly to me until someone brought it to my attention that my cravings might stop if I began eating more healthy complex carbohydrates. I was scared at first and sure it took me a while to work up to a healthy amount of calories and carbs. As I did the cravings began to decrease. Today I eat a lot of complex carbs and I’m not scared to eat them anymore. No, they are not going to cause me to get fat. I rarely have cravings for sweets and when I do I normally can fix the craving with a piece of toast and honey. On this rare occasion, I can look back at my days calories and carbs and see that my caloric demand probably exceeded my food intake. Most people ask me if I ever eat anything sweet. And… the answer is yes. I do endulge….just not for a craving.
So is willpower a myth? Not completely. I just think that there are some things willpower can’t overcome. Psychology Today reports that people react to food addictions because of the trigger on dopamine in the brain. The creates a sense of pleasure whenever you eat the food just like a drug addiction.
None of this is an excuse for not making healthy and smart food choices. Prior to putting any of this in your mouth. You have the choice to purchase the food. If you don’t buy it or take it when someone offers it to you, you aren’t going to eat it. So, I’m not letting you off that easy. Sorry. I even I have to take responsibility for my grocery trip cookie feast. Yes, there was a reason why I needed those carbs, but I didn’t have to purchase the cookies. I could have purchased something healthier such as an apple or oatmeal.