How To Crave Fat-Burning Foods (Control Food Cravings) #SANE

Learn the exact foods you must eat if you want to finally lose weight permanently. Click here to download your free Weight Loss Food List, the “Eat More, Lose More” Weight Loss Plan, and the “Slim in 6” Cheat Sheet…CLICK HERE FOR FREE “HOW TO” WEIGHT LOSS GUIDES

How To Crave Fat-Burning Food Real-Life Insights and Takaways

  • After we complete an action, our brain reacts with certain chemicals, like dopamine, that can make us feel good. After repeating the action, we continue to release more dopamine and we can become addicted to the habit, whether good or bad.
  • Addictions can be positive.
  • It might take awhile to receive a dopamine rush associated with a particular habit, (such as learning to play the piano), as it may not be rewarding in the beginning.
  • The digital age has caused us to be addicted to many things because there is immediate gratification.
  • In the virtual world the results are immediate and in the real world the results are convoluted, confusing, and they don’t happen immediately.  The distance between stimulus and response affects our neurochemistry.
  • Sugar entertains instead of nourishes and your brain knows the difference.
  • You can develop cravings for exercise and healthy food once you are accustomed to having it.
  • Sugar in high doses creates an opiate-like response in our brain.
  • From a chemical perspective, sugar is similar to low-dose heroine. If you give up sugar you will go through withdrawal because your brain has established a new elevated set point.
  • By measuring brain chemistry, it is evident that different substances create different levels of addiction.
  • Addiction to sugar could be defined as not feeling alive or able to function unless you are consuming sugar.
  • The average American diet is 60% processed foods which contain refined sugar. As a result, the average American is highly addicted to sugar.
  • We can have a conversation with our family about how we can eliminate some of the processed foods and sugar out of our diet. Include family members in creating solutions for your family.
  • In life we often need to choose whether or not we want to give up long-term results for immediate gratification.
  • We can find new ways to relieve our stress rather than turning to food or sugar.
  • We can set our families up for success by educating them about healthy choices and establishing routines to help us eat that way consistently.
  • Find a way to make yourself feel good immediately after making a healthy choice for yourself or for your family.

SANE Soundbites

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  • 1:32 – 1:59, “There is a very close connection between a human being doing something and a chemical like dopamine being released in the brain.  For example, you do something and you get an immediate shot of reward chemicals in your brain, you start to say that this is great and it creates a virtuous loop. You can be addicted to positive things as well as negative things.”
  • 2:56 – 3:25, “If there is a huge delay in the gratification it’s hard to get addicted to it.  For example, if you are trying to have your child or yourself learn the piano, let’s say, you will get a huge dopamine response when you do finally play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” really well.  But the distance between, I’ve practiced the piano and I see a positive result is very long.  You might not actually create that loop in your brain.”
  • 4:16 – 4:28, “In the virtual world, the results are immediate and in the real world the results are convoluted, confusing, and they don’t happen immediately.  The distance between stimulus and response really affects our neurochemistry.”
  • 5:48 – 6:24, “Sugar, to be very clear, consumed in high doses triggers an opiate response to the brain.  There is a class of drugs called opioids; morphine, heroin, things like that, they stimulate certain chemicals in your brain.  The reason that heroin and morphine are so powerful is they just do that to a very dramatic extent.  The amount of these chemicals that trigger the brain is very dramatic. Sugar is low dose heroin, very low dose.  From a chemical perspective it is.”
  • 6:39 – 7:26, “If you tell someone to try and give up sugar you will go through withdrawal because your brain has been conditioned to a certain steady state of hormone levels.  The reason you go through withdrawal is because your brain has essentially established a new set point of these chemical and it thinks that set point should be at this elevated perspective, and when you deprive it of that it tries to drive you to get back to that point. What we need to do is work through that.  People do break through addictions from prescription medication and illegal drugs.  Fortunately, it doesn’t take nearly as much effort to break your addiction from sugar.  It’s not easy but it’s nothing like trying to break your addiction from heroin.  Once you do that you re-establish that set point in your brain.”
  • 7:27 – 7:44, “It is important to know that sugar consumed in the unnatural doses that we are consuming it in, this is fact now—if you put your brain under an MRI machine you will see a lower grade response but a response that is similar to if you were to dose yourself with drugs like heroin or morphine.”
  • 10:20 – 10:45, “The addiction to sugar is a state in which you cannot feel alive unless you are consuming sugar.  If you consume sugar occasionally or in the doses that we did 40 years ago you will not become addicted to it.  Because you are not dosing it high enough or frequently enough to develop that new baseline chemical state in your brain.”
  • 12:12 – 12:36, “We can have a discussion and say, alright, let’s talk about what foods have sugar that we are currently eating.  Let’s talk about our diet.  Let’s talk about the healthy foods we like.  Let’s figure out how many servings a week or how are we going to structure this in a way that we feel good about it, where I can go to sleep at night knowing that I have done my best.  My children can know that they have been taught and we can have some sort of an understanding where we can move forward in a healthy strong way.”
  • 15:37 – 16:15, “That could be something as you are teaching children establishing habits.  I am not saying I am going to pay my children for not eating sugar for the rest of their lives, but I like the idea of showing them that a certain amount is allowed and if you want to switch that up for something else.  It could be staying up 15 minutes later and hanging out to play a board game.  It could be something else positive.  If you structure it in a way where your children are excited and motivated to do something that is better than sugar, they will personally decide not to eat it.”
  • 17:30 – 18:06, “We need this comfort.  We need to be able to reduce our stress.  I love this idea of finding new ways to relieve our stress.  Finding new ways to inspire ourselves to start becoming addicted to what’s good for us.  I want that. What I have noticed is as I started improving bit by bit, when you realize that, Oh, I can feel great by doing XYZ, and it’s such a positive thing for me.  Like exercising or going on walks or being with your family.  It inspires you to want to do more, I think that is amazing.”
  • 19:31 – 19:50, “Instead of thinking I am throwing my kids into a world where they are going to be addicted to all of this junk–I can’t stop the junk from existing, and I can’t prevent every bad thing from happening to my children, but I can set them up to be able to realize what is good for them and help them to do it consistently.”
  • 21:05 – 21:37, “Let’s consciously reward ourselves.  Even if it’s just taking a second to reflect and say, “I did something good.”  When you eat vegetables.  When you make a SANE decision.  When you do something kind with your children or your family or your friends.  Don’t just breeze through the green lights.  Make yourself feel good immediately for what you did and you will create that positive addiction because you will be shrinking the gap between stimulus and response and then training your brain to crave that good SANE stuff rather than the bad inSANE stuff.”

How To Crave Fat-Burning Food

Jonathan: What’s up everybody? Jonathan Bailor and April Perry and we are back with another SANE Show. We have an evolved, awesome, and intricate topic for you today. Which, April Perry, is?

April: We are talking today about food cravings and the games that hunger plays in your head. Based on an article of that topic, which actually brought up so many questions that I had and I am thrilled to talk with you about it today.

Jonathan: It’s the games that hunger plays not the Hunger Games.

April: Yes. We will be very clear here. This is the situation. So many of us are inundated with sugary and processed food and we don’t know why it is so hard to stop. I really want to get into the details. Let’s talk about what’s happening. I know that you know a ton on this topic, and I feel like that I am fairly confident as I am making choices, as far as what I am eating, I just try not to eat any of these foods. As I am teaching my children and has I am talking to other people about SANE, I want to know what’s going on and what information is not out there so that we can help spread the SANE message.

Jonathan: So let’s talk about why addiction happens. Part of the reason why addiction happens—there is two parts. Obviously, it is very complicated but I am going to simplify it a little bit here. I am not going to do all of it. The first part is that there is a very close connection between a human being doing something and a chemical like dopamine being released in the brain. For example, you do something and you get an immediate shot of reward chemicals in your brain, you start to say that this is great and it creates a virtuous loop.

You can be addicted to positive things as well as negative things. You can be addicted to seeing your baby smile. Meaning that you just want to see your baby smile when your baby is not smiling. You feel sad, and then your baby smiles and it makes you happy. When you don’t see your baby smile you crave it “you are addicted” to seeing your baby smile. You will go out of your way and do extra ordinary things just to see your baby smile. You are literally addicted to seeing your baby smile.

There are actually seven criteria in the diagnostic manual for mental conditions by which we could judge addiction. Addictions aren’t necessarily negative. They can be extremely positive, and one of those things is the distances between stimulus and response in terms of rewards. As a first component, does that make sense so far?

April: Yes. I am addicted to planning out my day. Because when I don’t, I feel totally frazzled. But as long as I plan my day, every day, I feel awesome.

Jonathan: That also explains why we don’t get addicted to certain things. Because if there is a huge delay in the gratification it’s hard to get addicted to it. Some people, for example, if you are trying to have your child or yourself learn the piano, let’s say, you will get a huge dopamine response when you do finally play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” really well. But the distance between, I’ve practiced the piano and I see a positive result is very long. You might not actually create that loop in your brain. Does that make sense?

April: I am also thinking, being addictive to email and text messaging is super common right now. But being addictive to snail mail is not. I don’t sit down to write this long hand-written letter and just run to the mailbox to see what I get because it’s just this long—I mean, three weeks before I hear back from somebody, which I don’t even communicate that way anymore. Really, the digital age has caused us to be addicted to a lot of things.

Jonathan: That’s actually right. When you think about it in a similar fashion there’s games like FarmVille or RollerCoaster Tycoon. If you have actually played these game or you have watched someone else play them then you are a project manager. You are literally building a city or building a farm. In the real world people pay you to do that. In the virtual world you pay to do that. Because in the virtual world the results are immediate and in the real world the results are convoluted, confusing and they don’t happen immediately. The distance between stimulus and response really effects our neuro chemistry.

April: I think that’s really helpful. Let’s talk a little about why we don’t crave good food. We don’t crave broccoli, but you do crave sugar. I like this article from Healthy Living Made Simple with saying that sugar entertains instead of nourishes and your brain knows the difference. Can we talk a little about that because I eat broccoli and there is some response, I eat sugar and there is some response. I mean, it just went into my body, the response is pretty immediate for both but what is the difference of what is happening with my brain. I want to understand more about sugar entertaining my brain. How does that happen?

Jonathan: The first thing is that you can crave broccoli. That sounds a little silly but anyone who has drank green smoothies for any period of time and then maybe you travel and you don’t have access to your green smoothies, you will crave green smoothies. You can develop cravings for lots of stuff. Exercise may be a better example. People who don’t exercise try to exercise and they are like, I never want to do that again. People who do exercise frequently are absolutely craving “addicted to exercise”.

April: I think that is important because I am noticing that I start wanting my vegetables so much more now. When I was little it was not a big deal but now I get really excited over cauliflower rice or something like that. Alright. Love that.

Jonathan: But the immediate of what’s going on here. Sugar, to be very clear, consumed in high doses triggers an opiate response to the brain. There is a class of drugs called opioids, morphine, heroin, things like that, they stimulate certain chemicals in your brain. The reason that heroin and morphine are so powerful is they just do that to a very dramatic extent. The amount of these chemicals that trigger the brain is very dramatic.

Sugar is low doses of heroin, very low dose. From a chemical perspective it is. That’s why, for example, if I were to say don’t eat chicken for the rest of your life you might be like, I like chicken, but you wouldn’t have headaches, you don’t get those headaches behind the eye, you wouldn’t be crabby because you are not eating chicken. But if you tell someone to try and give up sugar you will go through withdrawal because your brain has been conditioned to a certain steady state of hormone levels. The reason you go through withdraw is because your brain has essentially established a new set point of these chemical and it thinks that set point should be at this elevated perspective, and when you deprive it of that it tries to drive you to get back to that point.

What we need to do is work through that. People do break through addictions from prescription medication and illegal drugs. Fortunately, it doesn’t take nearly as much effort to break your addiction from sugar. It’s not easy but it’s nothing like trying to break your addiction from heroin. Once you do that you re-establish that set point in your brain. It is important to know that sugar consumed in the unnatural doses that we are consuming it in, this is fact now—if you put your brain under an MRI machine you will see a lower grade response but a response that is similar to if you were to dose yourself with drugs like heroin or morphine.

April: I just wanted to make sure that we are crystal clear because as I am teaching my children that I would never condone heroin or morphine, ever. I don’t know any parent who would. There may be some but their kids are going to be taken away from them. That is not okay. Because sugar is, in this low dose, and because it’s not as hard to break the addiction as heroin or morphine, I feel like that is where there is this gray area. This is, to be perfectly honest, what causes a lot of the contention. Let’s say a mom or dad has different perspectives on what their children should be eating.

Is sugar actually a drug? Is this something that we need to be very concerned about? Or not? I really want to emphasize this and I want to know the answer clearly because I don’t want to be a fringed crazy person who is just out there with this conspiracy theory, Oh, the world is going to end if you eat some sugar. Because you are not going to win the argument or you are not going to be able to help your children be healthy if you are seen as someone who is just, kind of, conspiracy theorist or a lunatic. Help us out here to understand.

Jonathan: Sugar is a drug. However, it is important to know that drugs come in various dosages and a drug doesn’t necessarily mean bad. A drug could be medicine too, in some ways. Let me take a step back. Addiction develops—there are different substances and different levels of addiction. For example, cigarettes are highly addictive but they are not as addictive as cocaine. Cocaine and heroin are much more addictive than marijuana. There are scientifically objective scales and levels of addiction and we can do that by measuring brain chemistry.

Addiction, in some ways, is defined as—once you are addicted to a substance one of the definitions of addiction is not I take this substance to feel good but I take this substance so I don’t feel bad, which are very different distinction. Right? If you drink coffee to feel better verses if you don’t drink coffee you feel terrible and can’t function. That is very different. The addiction to sugar is a state in which you cannot feel alive unless you are consuming sugar. If you consume sugar occasionally or in the doses that we did 40 years ago you will not become addicted to it. Because you are not dosing it high enough or frequently enough to develop that new base line chemical state in your brain.

This is why your grandmother, while she did serve apple pie, the chemical composition of the apples, the pie crust, the ingredients she used, and the frequency with which she served it prevented anyone from becoming addicted to it. But if you look at the average American who is getting 60 percent of their calories from processed nonsense, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every single day of the week contains refined forms of sugar. In those doses and at that frequency will cause an addiction.

April: That clarified a lot for me. One of the other ideas that just came to mind was a very simple conversation that you could have with a spouse or with your children. You could let them hear what Jonathan just explained about addiction, talking about sugar, and then have a conversation where you decide how much sugar is okay for our family. What are we going to decide on? Can we find a happy medium? Because if I, right now, said to my entire family that we will never have an ounce of sugar go into our months ever again, not even one bite, not even one gram, nothing. You are having no sugar ever again. They would hate me. It would not work. That’s just not going to happen.

But if I completely step back and say, alright, I am over here with my salmon and vegetables and you guys just go eat whatever you want. I hope you die. I mean, I am not going to say that but there has to be this balance. I think that’s where we can have a discussion and say, alright, let’s talk about what foods have sugar that we are currently eating. Let’s talk about our diet. Let’s talk about the healthy foods we like. Let’s figure out how many servings a week or how are we going to structure this in a way that we feel good about it, where I can go to sleep at night knowing that I have done my best. My children can know that they have been taught and we can have some sort of an understanding where we can move forward in a healthy strong way. Anything you can add to that?

Jonathan: That conscious decision process is the “secret”. Look at the way—at least my mother and father described how desserts worked when they grew up. Their mother or father may have—usually 60 years ago it was their mother but this has changed now a days—baked something and they would have dessert, maybe after dinner and maybe three times per week. Think about the average American. Something sweet is consumed with breakfast, something sweet is consumed between breakfast and lunch, something sweet is consumed at lunch, between lunch and dinner and at dinner. It’s not about not eating sweets, it’s about when you are going to do it. If you do it like we did it for the entirety of human history you will not develop that addiction.

April: I am actually getting really excited to go have these conversation with my kids because what I realized is that I have already done this with screen time. For example, in college I read a book called The Plug-In Drug. I was a communication major and I read this book, which is basically saying that when you stick your child in front of the screen you are slowing their metabolism. You are rewiring their brain in a way that is not positive. It’s this one way interaction and essentially it is a drug that you are administering to somebody else. So you are plugging your child in and saying here you go. Sit here. You are now going to be quiet and you are not going to bother me. But you are negatively impacting your children.

I read that book and I thought, My kids are never going to watch anything on TV. Of course, I was in college and thinking that this is horrible. I grew up watching a ton of TV so this is something that I was determined to change for my kids. My children want to watch some screens and they have access to some computer games and they love RollerCoaster Tycoon, and there are certain things that they want to do on a screen but we have really clear controls. Most of the day is not on the screen. Maybe there is 30 minutes. Maybe we will do a family movie night on Friday. The screens are off all day on Sunday. I just don’t have screens in my home very much and my children know that if they go to a friend’s movie party that it’s fine, they can watch a movie. We have screens occasionally but we are emphasizing reading and getting outside. What are you doing to serve? To help keep the house clean. We are talking about that. I have already done this with screens and it has not been a big deal. It’s not really a big issue.

I am realizing that I need to implement that exact same thing with sugar. Having the conversation and figuring out what our kids can do. One other thing, and the reason I am brining this up is because—we only did this one time and I have not done it since then. I gave my children little coupons for screen time. They got 5, 30 minutes coupons for the week and they could either save it up for a big movie or they could use it throughout the week. Or they could exchange those for money at the end of the week. If they decided they wanted money instead of screen time that was their call. I was amazed that they rather get paid and be able to go buy something that they wanted then sit and watch a screen.

That could be something as you are teaching children establishing habits. I am not saying I am going to pay my children for not eating sugar for the rest of their lives but I like the idea of showing them that a certain amount is allowed and if you want to switch that up for something else. It could be staying up 15 minutes later and hanging out to play a board game. It could be something else positive. If you structure it in a way where your children are excited and motivated to do something that is better than sugar, they will personally decide not to eat it.

Jonathan: I think that is a very effective technique. If you look at it from a metaphysical level, in some ways that’s kind of how life works, in the sense that if you can avoid this type of gratification in the short term life may give you a different form of gratification in the long term. Right? If your employer—later your child is an adult and has a job, they could hit the snooze button on their alarm clock and could get 30 more minutes of sleep, but if they don’t do that they will get to work on time and get paid. The pleasures that we get from physical sensations. If we could delay those we will still get pleasure, and in fact, we will get a higher order form of pleasure that is unique only to humans.

April: I think what we are seeing here is that we know that certain kinds of fats and sugars—I was reading in the article talking about manufactured fats are also involved in stimulating your brain to want more. We talked about Pringles, “Once you pop, you can’t stop”. We talked about that a lot. This crunch, people just can’t stop it. We need this comfort. We need to be able to reduce our stress. I love this idea of finding new ways to relieve our stress. Finding new ways to inspire ourselves to start becoming addicted to what’s good for us. I want that.

What I have noticed is as I started improving bit by bit, when you realize that, Oh, I can feel great by doing XYZ, and it’s such a positive thing for me. Like exercising or going on walks or being with your family. It inspires you to want to do more, I think that is amazing. One final thing I will share and then have you close it up. I think when you help your children and your associates through positive discussions, to make it their idea, I feel like that is a beautiful way to help prevent these addictions and help your children to see how we did it. Spencer is my eight-year old and he has a business right now called the Problem Solving Business. He has the piano bench set up as his desk and he has a little “Open” sign and he has coupons all over the house that he sends to me to come pay him $0.25 and he will solving any problem, and if you buy three problems you get one free. It’s fantastic.

I sat down with him the other day and I said, Okay, Spencer, I got this problem. I really want the family to eat more vegetables but I am the only one who ever really initiates this. What can I do? He was hired to solve this problem, and he thought for a couple of seconds and then he said, Well, Mom we need more containers in the frig. More clear containers to hold the chopped vegetables. We already have a chart on the frig where we organize who is cleaning which rooms and who is doing the dishwasher jobs. We need to add to the chart who is going to be in charge of chopping vegetables that day. I thought that is brilliant. So tonight we are going to the store and buying some additional containers—he gets to pick them out—and we are adding this to the chart and letting the children be the ones to initiate this.

These kind of things help me feel empowered. Where, instead of thinking I am throwing my kids into a world where they are going to be addicted to all of this junk. Yeah, I can’t stop the junk from exiting, and I can’t prevent every bad thing from happening to my children, but I can set them up to be able to realize what is good for them and help them do it consistently.

Jonathan: I really love that example, April. I am scratching my head thinking of what else I can say to possibly add value here. I don’t think I will. I think your story is a manifestation of how when we apply the unique brilliance that is inside of us we can come up with creative solutions to challenging problems. Another way we can do that for ourselves, for example, we talked about how do we shrink the gab between stimulus and response to help develop an addiction for positive things rather than negative things so that that when we eat sugar you don’t need to do anything because sugar in high doses will immediately give you a response.

Hypothetically, if every single time you ate vegetables someone you love gave you a big hug. Every single time you ate vegetables something else came in and made you feel great. You might not be able to have that person with you 24/7/365 but it is a little bit like if you were to hit a red light you notice it, and when you hit a green light you don’t because you just expect everything to go correctly. We notice the negative things and we just assume that the positive things should happen. I am wondering if we could just try to give ourselves the opportunity—let’s consciously reward ourselves. Even if it’s just taking a second to reflect and say, I did something good. When you eat vegetables. When you make a SANE decision. When you do something kind with your children or your family or your friends. Don’t just breeze through the green lights. Make yourself feel good immediately for what you did and you will create that positive addiction because you will be shrinking the gab between stimulus and response and then training your brain to crave that good SANE stuff rather than the bad inSANE stuff. Does that make sense?

April: Yes. I have an idea for our next show. We will talk more about it. This is fantastic. We are going to build on this soon.

Jonathan: Alright, so you definitely want to stay tuned because April is on fire right now. She just said the next couple of episodes are going to be awesome, they are always awesome and we thank you so much for joining us and remember, today and every day after, stay SANE.

Learn the exact foods you must eat if you want to finally lose weight permanently. Click here to download your free Weight Loss Food List, the “Eat More, Lose More” Weight Loss Plan, and the “Slim in 6” Cheat Sheet…CLICK HERE FOR FREE “HOW TO” WEIGHT LOSS GUIDES
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