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To Donut Or Not To Donut, That Is The Real Question

Do you have trouble resisting food that you are well aware is not good for you or your body?  This is especially true for me, since I am perpetually on a weightloss diet.  I know what I should be eating and drinking but when my well intentioned co-workers stop by the bakery and pick up the most delicious looking and smelling doughnuts and set them 10 feet from my desk, I find it hard to resist.  I am like Pavlov’s salivating dog when I hear the words…”I brought donuts!”.  Oh, they think they are being nice and that is, of course, their way of showing that they care. But I packed my greek yogurt and have my string cheese “at the ready”  This healthy breakfast was supposed to last me until my workout at noon.

If you do donut: you add approximately 195 calories to your daily total along with 30% of your daily recommended amount of saturated fat.  Saturated fat is definitely not good for your beauty or your body.  It takes approximately 2 miles of walking or running to burn off 195 calories so take these figures into consideration before indulging.

If you do not donut:  If you do not accept their offering of affection,  your coworker might think that you are a snob or anti-social. Not only that, your brain might not be able to move on from the yummy thought.

My choice today is to resist and tell myself, “Get back to work and think of something besides that donut!”

I eventually give in and I just have to have one, or maybe even just a half of one.  I am being polite and friendly after all.

Intellectually, we all know doughnuts are among the foods that you are not supposed to eat.  We are all trying to look our best and get into our best shape.  Spring is coming and we all know there are big rewards from looking good in a bikini and I would rather have those rewards in reality.

Dopamine and OvereatingThere they are, sitting in front of you and smelling delicious.  “Come and eat me”, they say.  Why can’t we resist, that is if you are like me, and what in the world can we do about our misbehavin’ brain?

Yes, that wonderful brain of yours is to blame..and this is also the reason for many other harmful addictions that us lovely humans have, not just food addiction. By giving your body the experience or the anticipation of a pleasure or reward, your brain produces  a chemical in it called dopamine.  Yes, that means even just thinking about the experience of sinking your teeth into that sweet pillow of greasy fried dough is enough to get a bit high.  Of course we want more and we want the real thing and then we “go for it”.  The taste of the sugar or fat on our tongue really gets us off.  We get a dopamine high that lasts a few minutes and then we drift back down to reality.  Then we are left thinking…Why did I cheat on my diet?  I tried to be good.. I really, really, really want to look good in my teeny bikini.

Dopamine is also the reason why you can’t stop with just one doughnut.  At this point it is like a free for all for some of us bingers and there goes all control.  Today’s calorie count is out the freakin window.  Then we decide that we might as well splurge on the pizza for lunch, since all is lost.  Don’t punish yourself if you did enjoy too much of a dopamine high.  Just try not to go overboard the rest of the day.

How do researches know this, you ask?

During a research study scientists at Johns Hopkins University recruited 20 healthy people and tested their brains with a PET scanner so they could observe any changes in their brains.  These subjects were giving tasks and then certain tasks were rewarded.  Dopamine was shown to flood the part of their brains that controls attention in the test subjects when their behavior was rewarded.  The subjects were also shown to be distracted by the reward.   This distraction slowed their attention to complete additional tasks.  This may also explain some attention deficit hyperactivity disorder eating patterns.

“The system that looks for potential rewards is responding even though you know you are not going to get a reward and you are supposed to be focusing on something else,” said author Susan Courtney, a professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins. “One of the really interesting things is that different people responded to it differently. Some people were more distracted than others,” Courtney said. Those who were more distracted experienced a bigger dopamine release in the key part of the brain.

This also explains why some people have a stronger or “more potent” addictive response to food and other substances and why some (usually thinner) people have no problem passing up that donut (or two) at your office meeting.

There currently are medications such as Contrave that control dopmanine.

 Contrave contains bupropion, a dopamine and norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor that may help individuals with eating disorders.  It also contains naltrexone, which has been used to treat addiction to food and other substances.  Contrave is for individuals whose eating patterns is causing obesity.  

Behavioral approaches may also help, such as aversion therapy.  Thinking of a donut and then visualizing or smelling something non-appetizing may help turn you off.  Or getting away from the substance or food may help..out of sight out of mind.  It is hard to ask a coworker to put away their unhealthy foods, but it is worth a try.  

Healthy treat days are also a practice in many work places around the world, unfortunately not mine.  

Tips to try:

Fruit can really help with your sweet tooth.  Drink a glass of water and eat a piece of healthy beautifying fruit and keep your eye on the prize.  That prize being you in your bikini.

Our beauty schedule can help you, if you are looking for a routine to beautify and get in shape.

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