Superstrong Nana Gets a Little Lazy

It’s not what you think. My laziness has to do with keeping up this blog. I am responsible for 3 different blogs, one of which is due once a week for our local paper, The Tallahassee Democrat.

I wrote what I think is a good blog and I decided to repost it here.

It’s Sunday. Thanksgiving was four days ago. It’s time to put down the fork, toss the leftovers and get back to sensible, healthy eating. I write this blog for you, but also for myself.
I would love to tell you that I am one of those trainers whose Thanksgiving dinner consisted of roasted turkey, vegetables and sugar free, fat free pies, but I’m not. I’m normal and yes, I went way, way overboard these past few days. Due to a snafu in my plans of ordering my entire meal online and happily spending my day visiting with family instead of being in the kitchen all day, we ended up with nothing but one Turducken and two pies. That’s what happens when you send your husband out to the grocery store to pick up the meal.
Thank goodness I had the foresight to make stuffing. I threw together some mashed potatoes out of a bag leftover from a week before. That left us with meat, starch and pie. The vegetables I ordered were left deserted at the grocery store as well as the rest of our side dishes.
The only vegetables at our table were the Gerber First Bites green beans that my grand daughter happily gobbled up from the tray of her high chair. Even if I glued the tiny pieces together with maple syrup, it would have given us one green bean a piece.
With a belly full of starch and sugar, I spent the rest of the day on the couch. My carbohydrate coma and lethargy dashed all of my hopes of getting in a good workout. Eating too much of the wrong foods have that effect on me. I know that what I eat and what I put into my body have a direct effect on my energy and my mood. I also know that starches and sugar set me off on a binge much like a drug addict searching for that next high.
My October issue of the IDEA Fitness Journal had an article on food addiction and the effects of sugar on our brain chemistry. Without going into all the science behind these studies, the gist of the article states that hyperpalatables such as sugary, starchy, fatty and salty foods have a direct effect on dopamine; the neurotransmitter that signals when rewards are present, motivates us to seek rewards, promotes exploring and learning about rewards and maintains awareness about reward related cues. It goes on to say that Cocaine and Heroin target and hijack this reward system and so do appetite controlling hormones.
Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institue on Drug Abuse used PET scans and radioactive chemicals that bind to dopamine receptors in 2001 and their research revealed that obese people had fewer dopamine receptors in the brain’s striatum (reward center) and therefore had to eat more to experience the same rewards or “high” as people of average weight.
Studies with rats showed that when they were given free access to typical hyperpalatble foods, their brain structure changes the same as if Cocaine were ingested. Functional MRI studies proved that both obese and lean women who demonstrate addictive behavior around food show the same pattern of neural activity as a chronic drug user: high levels of anticipation and low levels of satisfaction after consumption.
There is hope. The book; The Hunger Fix: The Three Stage Detox and Recovery Plan for Overeating and Food Addiction by Pam Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP goes into detail about how reducing stress, regular exercise and a diet rich in Omega-3s can have a positive effect on our brain chemistry. For more detailed information, I recommend you get the book.
One thing we must do however is to detox. Pick a day and make a decision to stop eating those “foods” that keep you in the cycle of addictive eating. Be prepared with lots of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and lean sources of protein. If you aren’t already; start exercising. Even getting out for walks will have a positive influence on your stress levels and mood. Surround yourself with people who will support you in this endeavor and avoid those who sabotage your efforts.

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