How Meditation Resolves Overeating, Food Addiction, & Binging
Dopamine: Why We Get Addicted To Food, Overeat
Food Can Be A Drug
Why do we raid the junk food cabinet at midnight? What makes us inhale a day’s worth of calories in 15 minutes?
Is it our "forever curious" taste buds? Perhaps it’s our "flooded at first thought" salivary glands? Maybe it’s our "must eat now or else" hanger? What is it?
The truth is, food can be a drug.
By stimulating our physiological reward center, food can affect our brain in the same way that cigarettes, caffeine, alcohol, and even hard drugs do.
According to a 2015 University of Michigan study, the most addictive foods of all tend to be full of calories, sugar, and saturated fat — with french fries, pizza, ice cream, cake, and cookies topping the list. Shocker.
Specifically, certain types of food (especially in large quantities) pump us full of the neurotransmitter "dopamine," the chemical embodiment of addiction.
So, the next time you hear someone say their favorite restaurant’s cheesecake "is like crack!" — well, neurochemically speaking, it actually kind of is!
The High, The Crash, & Tolerance
The blood sugar and dopamine rush we get after wiping out that warm, delicious pan of Betty Crocker fudge brownies makes us feel like we are walking on cloud nine. No better feeling in the world… for awhile.
As with any addiction, after every high comes... the inevitable crash.
Hours after that big meal, when we are no longer swimming in the dopamine deep end, our body becomes desperate to fill our pleasure pool right back up.
In turn, signals get sent to our brain, and food cravings begin all over again.
But this time, because food can be a drug and tolerance comes with the territory — we need to fill up our troughs even more to stabilize our crashed dopamine levels.
Because withdrawal ain't easy, our next binge session needs even more calories or our body will freak out like a crazy straightjacket wearing dude locked in a padded room.
This vicious cycle can have us shopping in the big & tall section before long.
Crank Up Your Dopamine Naturally With Meditation
So, what’s the solution? How do we break this nasty cycle? We need to "get high naturally", pumping up our feel good juices in ways which don’t involve the fork and plate.
And the best way to do this? Meditation.
A landmark 2002 study at the John F. Kennedy Institute (Kjaer et al) found that dopamine levels were boosted by a colossal 65% during meditation!
Perhaps more importantly, the meditators' dopamine levels remained high and tight, day and night. In other words, no crashing; no more biochemical potholes which need to be filled by a Quarter Pounder, extra large french fries, and McFlurry.
When meditation naturally makes us feel incredible all the time, then we put down the fork to enjoy the present moment. This transformation puts us on the fat loss superhighway.
Add one more notch to the list of reasons new meditators so often, without any real effort, shed pounds and inches so quickly after beginning a regimen.