Let’s go way back for a minute, when we lived in caves and didn’t have McDonalds or Starbucks on every corner. If willpower had been the hot topic in every Paleo person’s conversation, we wouldn’t be around today. We were evolutionarily primed to feast so we could survive famines. Just like us, you can bet our caveman ancestors weren’t binging on leaves and seeds. Nope, they were going face down in the honey and fatty foods.
Fast forward to today. Unless you’re a contestant on one of those TV shows that throw people on some random island, you’re probably not going to face anything resembling deprivation or famine in the 21st century. On the contrary, we’re inundated with addictive foods from the moment we grab our Starbucks grande latte and ending when that 11 p.m. siren call of Chunky Monkey harkens from the freezer.
Many behaviors that we believe lie within our control actually have strong genetic ties: snacking, decreased satiety, increased appetite, sweet tooth, eating disinhibition, and increased food desire. Any of these sound familiar?
Some defensive strategies I use to positively impact gene expression include:
- Beware of Your Enemies
- Use lateral shifts
Use lateral shifts – for instance, trade soda for sparkling water with Emergen-C, or cheddar cheese and crackers for goat cheese and raw almonds.
- Three polite bites rule
Follow the three polite bites rule (remember to eat those bites like you’re on Oprah) and then put your fork down.
- Write What You Eat
- Replace Bad Habits
Replace bad habits with incompatible ones – if midnight cheesecake raids are your downfall, take a hot bath instead.
- Add before you take away
Add before you take away – add more veggies, up your fiber, and start your day with a protein smoothie.
Don’t confuse hunger with thirst – drink plenty of green tea and water between meals.
We like to believe we are strong enough to resist temptation but manufacturers make it hard by strategically place addictive foods within eye’s reach, which explains why you’re salivating over that blueberry scone when you innocuously just intended to order a green tea. That’s also why grocery stores strategically place candy at the checkout aisle: so you’ll grab a bag of M & Ms without over thinking it.
Most likely, you’re constantly bombarded with dairy, gluten, soy, eggs, corn, and peanuts. Keep in mind these foods hide in unsuspecting places. Over time you can build up food sensitivities and cravings for them.
But your genes don’t have to be your destiny. When you identify your genetic tendencies for certain eating behavior traits, you can proactively put strategies in place so that you don’t fall victim to them.
© 2011 JJ Virgin & Associates, Inc. Celebrity Nutrition & Fitness Expert JJ Virgin helps clients lose weight fast by breaking free from food allergies. She is the bestselling author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy, a Huffington Post blogger, creator of the 4X4 Burst Training Workout & co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters. Visit her website to take the quiz & find out if Your “Healthy” Habits are Making You Tired, Bloated & Age Faster?
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