5 “Little Demons” that Pack on Belly Fat
Nobody smokes cigarettes because they didn’t get the memo about lung cancer.
And nobody eats junk food because they didn’t get the memo about sugar.
No, we continue to eat foods that pack on the belly fat, because we can’t resist them.
And that’s by design.
You see, there are powerful forces that are seemingly outside of our control that conspire to make us fat, sick, tired and even depressed.
These “little demons” wreak havoc on our ability to control cravings, combat urges and avoid temptation. The result is expanded waistlines, failed diets, and drained energy.
But there is a series of simple steps you can take to send these little demons scurrying and take back control of your life and your waistline.
Let me explain.
Little Demon #1: Addictive Food…
Big Food has learned how to layer their products with just the right, scientifically determined amounts of salt, fat and sugar to produce what they call “super-palatable” food – or what you and I would simply call “addictive.”
Brain studies have shown these foods are as addictive as drugs, alcohol and gambling. It’s no accident that “you can’t eat just one.”
For example, your brain remembers the sensation of eating a CinnaBon; next time you smell one, your neurons secrete a brain chemical called dopamine which virtually insures that you won’t stop till you eat one.
So next time you feel yourself being magnetically pulled to eat a particular food, know that there is some mad food scientist smiling somewhere, eager to line his pockets at your expense, so turn the other way and don’t give him the satisfaction!
Little Demon #2: Food Labeling Tricks…
Manufacturers have to list first the ingredients used in greatest amounts.
So, when they don’t want you to know the main ingredient is sugar, they deceive you by using a dozen different forms of sugar so they can list each one further down. Sneaky huh?
For example, all of the following are sugar in disguise: agave nectar, barley malt syrup, dehydrated cane juice, dextrose, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, raw sugar, turbinado sugar, sucrose, and maltodextrin.
You can avoid succumbing to food labeling tricks by, well, avoiding foods that have labels in the first place!
Shop around the perimeter of your grocery story and eat fresh, whole, real foods focusing on leafy green vegetables and grass-fed, pasture-raised or organic meats.
Little Demon #3: The Troll in your Brain…
The reward pathways in our brains are powerful motivators, and they will trick your conscious mind every single time.
Whenever you hear yourself saying, “Aw, just one won’t kill me”, “I just don’t have time to cook” or “I can start my diet tomorrow”, you can be sure that’s the big fat ugly “troll” in your brain, doing the bidding of your dopamine reward system.
These voices can sabotage your willpower, but there is a way to turn the table: next time you hear this voice, think of it as coming from someone – or something else, like a troll.
By externalizing this voice, you’ll realize something “else” is trying to manipulate you and you can train yourself to ignore these voices.
Little Demon #4: Chronic Stress…
Chronic stress may begin in your brain – but it ends up packing on fat, especially around your belly.
When you’re stressed, one way your body responds is by churning out a big dose of cortisol.
Cortisol “instructs” the body to preserve fat around the middle, stimulates insulin – the primary hormone responsible for storing the food you eat as fat – and it also breaks down muscle, slowing your metabolic rate and making fat storage certain.
And cortisol sends a signal to the brain to “refuel” for an emergency, usually with foods highest in fat, salt, and sugar. The result? You walk around stressed and starving and you’ll eat anything in sight, particularly the stuff that makes you fat and sick.
Because it’s so hard to resist temptation when you are stressed, the #1 way to combat the effects of stress is to take an inventory of your life and minimize stress as much as possible. Also consider doing some form of active relaxation, whether meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or something similar.
Little Demon #5: Cheap Food Available 24×7…
The previous 4 little demons wouldn’t make much of a difference if the food that makes us fat and sick weren’t available.
But it is. Everywhere. And that’s little demon #5.
Hunting and gathering? Fooey. Just go to the nearest drive through or pick up the phone.
The easiest way to combat this toxic food environment is to remove temptation from your immediate environment so it’s NOT convenient.
Get rid of all the sugary junk food that will tempt you when your defenses are down. If an urge comes, you’ll have created a barrier that’s large enough to give you time for that urge to pass.
What to Do Next…
These 5 little demons conspire to make us sick and fat – but that does NOT mean we are all doomed.
Simply by reading this article and becoming aware of these little demons that silently influence you to get fat, you’ve taken the first step toward building a mental defense to withstand their assault.
Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS aka “the Rogue Nutritionist”™
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