Monika Kuzminskaitė on Food & Eating PsychologyHealth psychologist, with special love for food and eating mattersSome time ago
93: thank you, my meal was a pleasure Eating and experiencing food in general must be pleasant - if we want the whole ingestion and digestion activity to be efficient. Whether you like it or not, this is how the real process works. Please pay extra attention to the further facts if you recognize yourself as one who usually "grabs a bite", never eats but snacks, uses immense force of willpower to eat broccoli (at the same time admitting that there is no worse taste than this, but we need to eat broccoli because it is healthy). Please also pay extra attention if you are parents of children who are not allowed to leave the table until all of the soup is finished (even when they are shaking with disgust and poking a milk film on the soup with the tip of the spoon - I am sorry about the image, but I know that this is not only my personal demon). The more people limit themselves (in the specific contexts of eating) - the lower is their self-clarity, the less they are satisfied with their life and the more neurotic symptoms they experience. Eating pleasure is an important factor to such people. If such person limits himself or herself while eating a lot, but gave high score for eating pleasure, then his or her self-clarity results were poor, and neurotic symptoms - abundant. If eating pleasure is high and level of limiting is low - self-clarity was high and neurotic symptoms were few (1). Eating pleasure may be two-fold: pleasure to feel decreasing level of hunger, or pleasure when a learned response to "it-is-work-day-lunch-time" leads you to the meal (surprisingly, this instinct remains very quiet during the weekends). Second type - watching and consuming a beautifully served and very tasty food in a company of interesting people (which researchers call an epicurean pleasure). People who tend to experience epicurean pleasure, also tend to choose smaller portions, are in general healthier and have a more balanced body mass index (2). Good news - this is not an innate trait, it can be trained and developed, but you need to remember to intentionally notice that pleasure. We usually eat for two reasons - because we want food and because we like food (taste, texture, look is appreciated positively). The fact that we like food (or, to be more precise, the fact that we remember that we tasted it before and that we liked it) is only one of the reasons why we seek food - not the only one, not the main one. Feelings of wanting and liking are ruled by two different regions in the brain. This is why we sometimes eat the food that we don't like, but are conditioned to want (yes, just like Pavlov's dogs, this mechanism works perfectly in our brain as well). We are caught in this situation every time we smell warm cinnamon rolls - we did not plan on eating, we were just after the breakfast, but we still WANT that roll, because brain follows the same path: smell --> eating the roll --> getting some dopamine as reward. I'm sorry, I know that you really want them rolls right now. Exactly this type of eating - when you want it but not when you like it - usually leads to overeating and eating unhealthy food. Now, when so many nudges towards eating surround us - advertising, snacking culture, very available and plentiful food - the reflex to eat is also awakened very often. Besides, not so rare stress also increases urge to eat (3). So clearing your immediate surroundings from food cues might be a very good step forward. In summary - eat only the healthy food that you like (if I'd say "only the food you like", you would act on your impulse to eat only sweets). Clear your environment from food cues, do not keep your food visible, keep clear from the food advertising, do entertain yourself with trips to the food stores. Definitely - eat only when hungry, not when it is time to eat. Eat with pleasures, in the widest sense - with pleasant company and ambience, giving time and attention to the food. Also, do not forget you notice why this food is pleasant for you. 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. Photo: Engin Akyurt from Pixabay #spoonfulofreason #psychology #eating #pleasure ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. The relationship between restrained eating, pleasure associated with eating, and well-being re-visited: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1471015308000986 2. Pleasure as an ally of healthy eating? Contrasting visceral and Epicurean eating pleasure and their association with portion size preferences and wellbeing: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0195666315300143 3. The tempted brain eats: Pleasure and desire circuits in obesity and eating disorders: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2913163/

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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
Another book that I would like to recommend. Not the only one of this kind, I will come back to this later as well. Even though it is not psychology, but this knowledge is still very important. One of the obstacles that does not allow to achieve the desired result is lack of knowledge about how things work. If you stand in front of the door with the key in your hand, but have no clue how to use it - you can spend loads of time just standing there, experiencing despair, anger, blaming the door, the key, yourself or the others. But the door will not open because of this. Accepting this fact, also that knowledge needs to be verified, collected, updated - is the field of psychology. This specific knowledge - on food and eating - currently is developing very rapidly. There are still things that are valid, but a lot of other things that are new, and even contradict the previous "truths" - to avoid fats, to snack, to eat until full and not get hungry by any means, to eat sugars or food in general in order to have energy (whatever that is), to be able to compensate by exercising if you ate more the day before, to be able to "burn" excess food, etc. Now we know more, so we can treat our bodies a lot better and achieve results a lot faster. Bon read. #spoonfulofreading #books #psychology #nutrition
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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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