November 17, 2011

This is your brain on carbs

There's one huge hurdle when it comes to changing our eating patterns to lose weight and regain our health.

We got this way because we are addicted to fattening substances.

We have to kick our addiction.

That's the core of obesity, eating disorders, being unable to pass a bakery, and trying to get over a failed relationship with applications of premium ice cream or plates of spaghetti.

Carbohydrates have a drug-like effect.
Why do we do it? Because our brain doesn't see treats.

It sees brain-drug.

Carbohydrates have known, studied, and cumulative effects on our mood-controlling brain chemicals.

When we feel bad, we know carby food makes us feel good... if only for a moment.

The funny thing about "addiction" is that it doesn't have to be a psychoactive substance because that is what our brain supplies.

Gambling, shopping, hoarding, and anger are also addicting behaviors because they reliably give the brain what it wants... the rush of relief from its current, less-pleasurable, state.

Since we have variations in our internal wiring, some people can use recreational drugs and easily stop; and some can't. Some people don't find stress relief in food, but in alcohol. Others remain social drinkers, or non-drinkers, their whole lives, but will blow their life-savings at the track during a time of crisis.

All of these things are present in many lives, but only in some do they become a problem. So the issue is not in the substance; we have, in human history, tried to ban certain things and behaviors in an attempt to stop them completely, only to find we have made the problem worse.

If we are one of the people who turn to treats as stress-relief, we have to eliminate them from our lives and find other, better, ways to handle stress. The good news is, once we break the feedback cycle... we can remove the desire to have these foods.

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