Food on earth, and our relationship to it, has devolved into a method of alleviating emotional disquiet, qualifying it as an addiction. Addiction is simply the act of doing something outside of one’s self to bring emotional stability within. I know this intimately myself, as I was an addict many years ago.
I did a fast in early December for 9 days, and I got to experience first hand how much I have relied on food to bring me emotional satisfaction. Breaking my fast, I had incredibly powerful experiences when eating food, it was similar to a sexual experience, I felt totally enraptured.
Why are we addicted to food and sugar?
I think this reveals a deep program within the human psyche, which we are all indoctrinated into especially in the ‘first world.’ We’re given sugary foods early in life, and trained to associate this feeling of satisfaction – the sugar high – to being full. This trains us to eat for pleasure instead of health, this thought-form or idea, is supported by society at all levels; advertising, in our schools, and in our family life of traditional foods.
Considering our health is primarily dependent on what we put in our bodies, nearly everyone has developed eating habits which are in conflict with true health. We have mixed up our emotional health with food, and our physical health with drugs and doctors. Most of us don’t even consider that we reach for food for emotional stability, but once we do come to understand this, we can do the ‘shadow work’ of analyzing our desires, and find the true cause; our mental patterns and conditioning.
Our passive lifestyle, watching tv and working behind computers, has the effect of decreasing our dopamine levels, which makes reaching for sugary foods all the more justifiable. Physiologically, we’re not meant to sit indoors all day doing nothing but moving from one room to another. As a result, we develop eating habits to counter this feeling of low energy and motivation; which would normally be provided by a fair level of physical activity.
Sugar consumed has a “cocaine like” effect on our bodies. White sugar is metabolized very quickly, like jet fuel, flooding our body with glucose at toxic levels, releasing Insulin to slowly convert it into fat. For example, if we drink a sugary drink in the morning, soda or coffee, we feel a good buzz, but it quickly fades due to released Insulin. This emergency response from our bodies leaves the Insulin in the system for hours and we fight back by consuming more and more sugar. This results in the ‘mid morning drain’ we feel tired and unmotivated as the sugar is slowly converted to fat. Many of us consume energy drinks, soda and more coffee to get a another buzz, and we continue this cycle throughout the day. All of this drains our emotional vitality, and we develop behavioural patterns that are exactly the same as an addict, chasing the sugar dragon.
Without going too deep into the psychology, this is essentially a social program or form of mind control to make us dependent on food suppliers, as well as the medical industry once major health problems start to set in. Not to mention the major emotional impact it has on us, as we feel depressed and unsatisfied with life in general when eating this way. This is by design, and we can use this awareness to free ourselves with knowledge.
Food Addiction Solution
One saving grace is learning the reverse process of training ourselves to get energy from internal sources; exercise and meditation. I started doing exercise and yoga a few years ago and noticed how much less I craved foods. Glucagon is the hormone which does the opposite of Insulin; it releases sugar into the blood from fat. This happens when we push our bodies to a metabolic point where it needs more energy; during exercise.
I used to work in a call center, and I know first hand the ‘drain’ that comes from being sedentary for hours at a time. I used to do leg squats at my cubicle and go on brisk walks during my break, this in addition to eliminating sugar from my morning routine, gave me a sustained high energy level all day. I actually started to reach for exercise to feel energized instead of food.
The solution then is simple: we need to train ourselves to get energy from exercise, releasing sugar from fat, instead of pumping our bodies with sugar from food. The key is to eliminate sugar from our diet as much as possible, in addition to doing exercises which boost our energy. This can be done with peak exercises, doing 1 to 2 minutes of intense movement that pushes the body to a high metabolic rate, releasing ‘workout high’ hormones, and a stable release of sugar energy from our fat stores. The most crucial part is to make a mental connection, to actually acknowledge this as a better way. When we feel tempted to eat sugar – which will definitely happen in our modern world – recognize that we need an emotional boost, and get that from other sources. Whether exercise, meditation, walking in nature, etc. Now that we can recognize the true source of our food cravings, we can address the real problem, and not treat the symptom.
Our food addiction is not just about physical health, it is caused by a mental pattern, and as such, can only be truly solved by addressing that within ourselves.
Published on Jan 7, 2014
View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-sugar-a…
When you eat something loaded with sugar, your taste buds, your gut and your brain all take notice. This activation of your reward system is not unlike how bodies process addictive substances such as alcohol or nicotine — an overload of sugar spikes dopamine levels and leaves you craving more. Nicole Avena explains why sweets and treats should be enjoyed in moderation.
Lesson by Nicole Avena, animation by STK Films.