How to retrain your brain to resist addictive foods

Weight Loss

Stress measurably reduces your brain’s ability to resist addictive foods and those unhealthy, tempting snacks.

To make it easier to choose healthy foods, try three simple steps: Plan your meals in advance; sleep more; try mindfulness.

Studies of how the brain responds to stress have made an amazing discovery: The drive to hit the junk when you are under pressure has its roots in brain pathways that are as real as anything else in your body. Junk food truly does become more attractive to us when we are stressed.

The sight of junk food, when we are stressed, is an obesity-trap. Modern life, however, drives us relentlessly towards its jaws. Big Food uses expert psychologists and marketers to ensure that we are presented with alluring displays of obesity-causing foods, right when our defences are at their lowest – when we’re stressed on a long journey, or travelling home from a hard day at work, or out and about with tired and irritable children.

We’re not going to be able to close down the food industry; neither can we create for ourselves miraculously stress-free lives. However, there are some simple and practical steps you can take that can help to protect you from choosing junk, and back towards health.

Plan your meals

How many times have you woken up and decided – “today is the day I am going to impulse-buy a heap of junk food”?

The chances are – never. When we succumb to eating badly, it is almost always because we have been caught out when hungry, and temptation was there. The good news, though, is that with a bit of planning you can make sure that these occasions happen less often. At The Fast 800, for example, we have focused on meal plans for real people, in the real world. Our recipes are easy to shop for and prepare, and are also designed, whenever possible, to keep in the fridge for a packed lunch the next day.

You’ll be surprised by how little effort it actually takes to plan and prepare healthy food, and how quickly you learn to resist addictive foods. The food industry is going to have to work harder – a lot harder – to catch you out.

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