Here at Plantable, we spend a great deal of our focus on food. After all, we do focus our efforts on making delicious, satiating, enjoyable meals. Science tells us that our food choices are dictated by a series of perceived food preferences, hormonal stimuli such as ghrelin (hunger) or leptin (satiety - less hunger), cortisol (stress) as well as neural receptors that govern our mood and emotional state. What we decide to eat can be complicated and is often driven by a host of factors.
After a stressful day at work, coming home late, hungry and a little cranky, we can find ourselves making food choices we later come to regret. Snacking incessantly on cheese and crackers, ordering that Chinese take out you promised yourself you wouldn't do again or tucking into that unnecessary bowl of ice cream. Or, after an uncomfortable discussion with your boss or significant other, seeking out a bag of candy or other stuff that we know we are just going to wish we hadn't done. Why do we do it? Stress, anxiety and fatigue can all act as triggers for "emotional eating" which facilitates making food decisions we later come to regret.
Breaking Up with Bad Habits
Many of our eating habits have been formed and reinforced over multiple years. These habits can be either positive or negative. If we decide we want to change a habit, as Charles Duhigg explains in The Power of Habit, we first need to recognize the trigger, whether it is just a long-term habit (2:30pm cookie jar trip?) or a more emotional one. The trigger precedes the action ("I am now walking over to the pantry to grab a cookie") in search of the reward. It is not by chance that we typically seek out a food item that brings with it a true dopamine hit (that's the neurological short-term reward), stimulated by sugar, and piqued even more when we add salt & fat (cookie, anyone?). So, how to break this cycle? Saying endless no's is really hard. Instead, recognize the trigger, embrace a reward, but change the action so that the reward is a different one. Not a cookie, but maybe an cold apple or orange from the fridge. Maybe it's not even food, but it's a chance to pick up the phone to call a friend or finish that sudoku puzzle you started earlier today.
How Can Plantable Help?
At Plantable we focus on bringing you the ease and simplicity of delicious, highly-nutritious meals. When we feed our body and brain with the good stuff, it is easier to decide to say no to the crap we ultimately regret eating. But we also recognize that it's hard to break habits, especially when they are fully engrained and have an emotional overlay. That's where our coaches come in, to give the extra support needed to make changes for good. Whether you need someone to hold you accountable or just be there to listen, we've got your back.