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What is the pull that bad food has on us?


What is the pull that bad food has on us?

Once you lay the neural circuitry down in your brain, the cue and reward of junk food for example, it is laid down for a lifetime. I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and he said it so simply and profoundly, “I haven’t had a brownie in 4 years, but I know what it tastes like and that it’s going to taste amazing!” The fact of the matter is that all the food and drinks out there that are so bad for you,  taste amazing!

Taste is a powerful stimulus! But while manufacturers and food companies know this, they also know that the more stimulus and cues they can hit you with, the more likely you are to buy their product. Let’s use the example of a packet of sugar. If I gave you a packet of sugar and told you to go to town on it, you’d look at me like I was crazy. But if I were to add some color, add some smell, package it in bright colors, and throw a sexy spokesmodel in the mix, chances are you’re going to at least be tempted to try it!

The business model over the past several years for junk food conglomerates has been to put fat (the bad kind), sugar, and salt on every corner, make it available 24/7, dress it up and make it sexy and then sell it at a fraction of what “real” food costs. They do this because they know the way the human mind works.  The more cues and the more varied the stimulus, the more we obsess about the reward.

So how do we change our mindset so that we don’t give in to the cues that we are constantly seeing and smelling? Will power,  folks. And the support of friends or coaches can work. But for many of us, that is just a temporary fix. Pavlov proved that we are very effective learners when it comes to cues. So in order to battle the cues bombarding us since infancy –  since the first brownie, can of coke or, later in life, first sip of alcohol, we need to lay down new neural circuitry. We need to lay down new cues. For each person it will be something different. If you are looking for a good place to start, though, talk to one of your coaches, talk to someone in the gym that you know has been successful with changing how they eat and what tempts them to enjoy eating healthy.

I’ll briefly tell you what worked for me. What made the biggest difference for me was starting with a 30 day challenge to eat the right way. This way, while I was changing my mindset, I was knee deep in a committed meal plan. Secondly, it almost seems too simple, but I decided to look at food solely as a form of fuel. Good fuel makes me healthier, poor fuel makes me less healthy. I ate around my workouts, pre-workout, post workout, eating for performance. I knew if I ate crap, my workout would be crap. It’s not rocket science, but it is a good start. Good luck out there!

(Adopted from: Black Box Fort Worth; Written By: Nathan Bagby)