There are two “reward” systems I focus on with mt clients….
- The dopamine reward system can drive us into unhealthy food and behavioral “hooks”. A dopamine” rush” in the body works exactly the same way with food as with cocaine.
- The Serotonin System linked to “sugar sensitivity”. This can drive us to consume large quantities of sweets, breads, pasta, or alcohol. These foods can trigger exhaustion or low self-esteem, yet their biochemical impact makes those who are sugar sensitive crave them even more. This vicious cycle can continue for years, leaving sufferers overweight, fatigued, depressed, and sometimes alcoholic.
What Is The Hunger Fix Dilemma?Our body has a built-in reward system driven by the chemical dopamine. Food can elicit a dopamine rush. Chronic exposure to what Pamela Peeke calls “false fixes” can lead to a “false hunger” and the the brain’s reward system becomes “hijacked” and the “false fix” becomes a default setting and you constantly reinforce it.
What Are False Fixes?The same dopamine reward system can be triggered by many self-destructive behavioral “hooks” that are give short term reward, followed by feelings of guilt and shame such as,
- Credit Card over spending
- Excess screen time
“A dopamine” rush” in the body works exactly the same way with food as with cocaine.”
The Hunger Fix: The Three-Stage Detox and Recovery Plan for Overeating and Food Addiction by Pamela PeekeThese false fixes can hijack the reward (pleasure) system and wipe out your dopamine receptors and the brain adapts and develops a “tolerance” that demands even more of the “drug”. You need more and more of the substance to gain the “reward”. At that time, all “healthy” fixes like self-care, friends, are cast aside. Researchers call this “motivational toxicity“. You are headed for a bad outcome. Dr Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) researches the relationship between food and addiction.
What Are Healthy Fixes?In contrast, healthy fixes are productive, positive habits associated with feelings of pride and happiness, such as
- eating a healthy breakfast
- enjoying music
- taking a walk
- having a massage
- spending time outside
- breathing your way still
- taking a yoga class
- taking your supplements
- drinking at least 64 ounces a day of water
- committing to at least 30 minutes of exercise every day
- meditating or praying