Monika Kuzminskaitė on Food & Eating PsychologyHealth psychologist, with special love for food and eating mattersSome time ago
87: Simply (?) fat While reading an article (1) on this topic (why so many recommendations to the overweight people are formulated as if speaking to a small child), I was actually thinking something completely different. True, the fact that a person weighs more that it is healthy for him or her, is a very complex issue. It never is a matter of eating too much food. It also never is a matter of "just seven days of diet" (they, a well promoted but rather poorly based diet company still e-mail me encouraging me "to take care of myself"). And it cannot be. Because nutrition is not "I weight as much as I ate", which makes counting calories completely useless. At some level it has some truth to it, but the devil is in the details. How much oh the nutrients we will use for energy production (will eat and will actually use for energy or reserves) depends on how healthy we are, whether we take any medications or supplements, what is the mood, how do we sleep, what do we do and with what intensity, what are our genes, do we have any allergies, what is our hormone balance right now and usually, how did we eat not only yesterday, but also years before that. No, that is not it, not yet. It also depends on what is or eating environment, what is our company, what are the dishes, what are other people eating, how important they are to us, whether food is important to us as a person (do we "get a bite" or "we live to eat"), whether the food is nice to look at, smells good, did you taste it before, what did you eat when you were a child, what did your parents eat back then, did they make you clear your plate, did you eat on your own, can you control your behavior in other areas. Still more! What country do you live in, what are the local beauty standards, what is the food culture and traditions, what is the season, how much money do you spend on food, are you making decisions regarding food purchases, or do you depends on someone else for it, do you cook your dinner, do you go to the food store, do you cook well yourself or need to depend on someone else for it, do you trust external information about the value of food, do you hear well your internal signals of hunger and satiety... And I meant it to be concise. Oh well. In summary, the situation is never a simple one. Also, the solution is never simple as well. One way or another, first of all we need to focus on conditions that would allow overweight people to safely (without pressure, shaming, lying about miracle diets, humiliating "preventive" measures) REALLY concentrate on their health, consciously analyze their personal reasons and get to resolving them in a safe environment. It is nothing close to a simple problem. So the worst thing one can do is start suggesting "just stop eating so much". My name is Monika, I am psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, counsel and teach. Article: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/why-treating-fat-people-like-children-wont-work/news-story/8270c0e2a7af1b10f91a7e527ba0f096 Photo: Anrita1705 from Pixabay #spoonfulofreason #psychology #eating #overweight
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Monika Kuzminskaitė on Food & Eating PsychologyHealth psychologist, with special love for food and eating mattersSome time ago
Question "How eating and psychology are related?" will probably remain on repeat for a long time, but I will not give up :) and I am not alone. Eating decisions are "quick decisions" (here you should think of Kahneman's quick and slow thinking), because people are busy with other things, they are constantly in a rush, and healthy nutrition information is very complex and difficult to process. Besides: 🧠 food advertising very often aims to invoke emotional response (more emotions - less rational decisions) 🧠 try some time reading food label in an easy and fun way. Not a chance. What about simple and intuitive way to understand kilocalories, body mass index, portion size? Nope. 🧠 people usually tend to choose present focused decisions (in a fight of cookie now and health later, cookie always starts and wins) 🧠 people also tend to stick to their habits and maintain status quo, and choose the same things over and over again 🧠 in presence of food, it is almost impossible to not think about food and not to want it. At the same time food is available everywhere, in especially in worst situations, like line at the cashier register (hail self-service!), on the screen or in the street cafes. Insights based on psychology and behavioral economics may help us as society he eat better. Food marketing and advertising should be strictly controlled (for example, celebrity or action hero images should not be used on the packaging), package from should display uniform food content and nutritional value information as well as warnings. Healthy alternatives should become default option (full grain pizza, unless you specifically ask for white flour). Probably portion size control should be implemented as well. Additional taxation for unhealthy foods and beverages should be implemented. ----------------------------------------------------- My name is Monika, I am psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, counsel and teach. Book my talk to as more! Article: https://peachlab.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Roberto_Psy-Insights_American-Psychologist-2020.pdf Photo: StockSnap from Pixabay #spoonfulofreason #psychology #food #eating #decisions #policy #behavioraleconomics
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Monika Kuzminskaitė on Food & Eating PsychologyHealth psychologist, with special love for food and eating mattersSome time ago
Very good timing on the topic - on Wednesday I will be giving a speech in Login 2021 conference on the very similar topic: https://login.lt/agenda/?&day=26# 92: Everything is connected: stress, eating and sleep This time I read a thesis from University of South Dakota (1). REad and kept nodding - yes, yes - you are what you eat, you will reap what you sow... Everything is connected to everything else - psychology and behavior, eating and digestion hormones, neuroscience and science of sleep. Let's get straight to the meat of it: - The more stress people feel, the more often they eat not because of hunger, but to relax - Women tend to use food for comfort more often. Also comfort food is a common relaxation method for people who work for more than 40 hours a week and people who lack sleep. - If someone meets physical activity recommendations (at least on the recommended level), they are significantly less likely to eat for comfort - The more someone believes that he or she is experiencing high levels of stress (believes, but not necessarily does experience stress) - the more likely someone is to eat uncontrollably (does not notice eating, does not stop eating when full, eats in a company, etc.) - People who sleep well, but experience high levels of stress, are still likely to eat uncontrollably - People who apply cognitive rules to their eating are more successful at maintaining their low body index as the time passes. - Physical activity, stretching workouts and yoga routines were both successful weight loss programs. But people who chose yoga, were not eating uncontrollably compared to the stretching group. So while physical activity did it's job well in both groups, yoga also helped to deal with emotional eating triggers. Let's tie it all together. Lack of sleep leads tired people to use food as compensation. Lack of physical activity leads to food as relaxation method (also when people are anxious about poor work results which may result from lack of sleep and related fatigue). When tired mind fails to find good reasons to stick to the eating plan, people eat mindlessly, eat more, work slower and work longer - instead of getting more sleep and being more productive. Everything is connected to everything else. WIshing you good night sleep, experiencing true hunger and have a good walk - instead of trying to fix just one corner of this triangle. That should do it :) My name is Monika, I am psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, counsel and teach. ------------------------------------------------------------------ 1. Relationship of Stress, Sleep, Physical Activity, and Food Insecurity on Eating Behaviors and Obesity: http://openprairie.sdstate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2879&context=etd Photo: Andrew Martin from Pixabay #spoonfulofreason #psychology #system #stress #sleep #activity #food
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Monika Kuzminskaitė on Food & Eating PsychologyHealth psychologist, with special love for food and eating mattersSome time ago
73: Barriers to the healthy nutrition As I am back to the city, I am also back in the flow of messages encouraging me to "let yourself go", "to treat myself", "to go for the sweet sin"... Without too much effort it is easy to see that healthy eating is seen as trouble while almost-non-food items that are also lots-of-pleasure products are shown as a guaranteed benefit. Almost like cocaine, but it is not popular to be advertised and definitely not legal to be distributed. How have we come to this - things that are good are difficult, and not a pleasure? I have looked at some qualitative research hoping to find what are the reasons as told by the people themselves. Men in United Kingdom say they avoid to choose healthy food because they have a cynical attitude towards government's messages on healthy eating, besides, healthy food does not taste well and is not satisfying. Authors believe this is related to the need of men to be independent and strong (which may mean they do not agree with government and to avoid deprivation (1) Australian children and their parents state that the primary barrier to the healthy nutrition is contradicting messages sent to the children - what advertising says and what parents say are two different things, you need to void fats, and fats are necessary, salt is both harmful and beneficial, TV has both useful and harmful shows (2) Adolescents in Ireland say that they do not choose healthy food, because they do not get the expected physical and psychological reward when eating healthy food, (mis)understanding of what is food and what is healthy eating, contradicting social pressures regarding food, and basic misunderstanding of what healthy nutrition is. Interestingly enough, healthy eating concept is masked behind pressure to eat unhealthy food and pressure to be thinner (3) UK adolescents say that they do not choose healthy food because of poor food quality in the school, also very accessible, relatively cheap and personally more tasty fast food. Supporting factors are family support, accessible healthy food, wish to care about the body image and a power of will (4) Speaking about the healthy elementary school children nutrition, their parents say that among barriers they see food provided in school, opinion of the peers (some foods are not "cool"), poor example shown by brothers and sisters, also parents and grandparents that are not living together. Parents did not see their own example as important. Parents believe that children have unchangeable tastes which shape the diet of their children. Finally, parents believe (researchers say - incorrectly) that healthy food must be prepared at home, fresh, organic, and because of all that - hardly accessible (5) Older British men say that they do not follow healthy diet because they lack skills to cook and they lack wish to change their life habits (6) There are many more research papers. But conclusion for me is quite sad. We are used to cook and eat in certain way, and unhealthy one, we have a habit of thinking that we must get the food quickly, and that time spent on cooking is time wasted (even if we are learning to cook healthy food - this is still considered the waste). We simply ignore any long term healthy eating consequences and keep luring ourselves with an instant pleasure, even if we will blame ourselves afterwards, daily. What is your reason to "treat yourself" with unhealthy food? ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Barriers to healthy eating amongst men: A qualitative analysis: http://www.660607.co.za/.../Course.../Mens%20eating.pdf 2. Healthy eating, activity and obesity prevention: a qualitative study of parent and child perceptions in Australia: https://academic.oup.com/.../Healthy-eating-activity-and... 3. Adolescents' views of food and eating: Identifying barriers to healthy eating: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/bitstream/2438/6577/2/Fulltext.pdf? 4. Young people and healthy eating: a systematic review of research on barriers and facilitators: https://academic.oup.com/her/article/21/2/239/671343 5. Promoting healthy diet and exercise patterns amongst primary school children: a qualitative investigation of parental perspectives: http://s3.amazonaws.com/.../Promoting_healthy_diet_and... 6. Old and alone: barriers to healthy eating in older men living on their own: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/.../HughesBennettetal2004.pdf Photo: andreas160578 from Pixabay My name is Monika, I am psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, counsel and teach. #spoonfulofreason #psychology #food #barriers #nutrition #eating
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