Variety isn’t always the spice of life


The old saying ‘variety is the spice of life’ is true when it comes to your brain, but not true when it comes to your eating habits.

Research has shown clearly that the more we incorporate variety into our diet, the more we are likely to eat. The idea of eating new and novel foods seems to activate our interest in the food we are eating and as a result we eat more of it. Take a look back to our ancestors for wisdom on this topic; they ate similar meals most often and saved excitement for special occasions. In our culture, many feel each meal should be a wonderful taste sensation.

If you are serious about maintaining your weight, challenge yourself to create some routine in your diet. I often encourage my clients to plan out a limited number of breakfasts and lunch meals to help reduce the hedonic reward that novel, exciting meals evoke.

Instead, save efforts for novelty towards gathering moments of joy. When we train our brain to pause and gather a ‘moment of joy’, we can physiologically change our mood and our stress level. Moments of joy activate our brain’s reward pathways which leave us feeling calm, peaceful, connected and even happy! The tangible outcome is a decrease in food cravings.

Gathering moments of joy is key in battling emotional and stress eating. Collecting your joy moments from a variety of sources gives you the biggest hit.

Like my clients I can fall into a rut of gathering moments of joy from the same sources…the sunrise, children or pets. I am not knocking those efforts but encourage you to find new sources and notice the difference! This afternoon I was away at meetings with colleagues from across the country interested in weight management in primary care. Despite feeling tired and jet lagged I gathered moments of joy during the day from meeting new people; feeling inspired at a colleagues passion and how it impacts her practice; and feeling proud to be invited to share my opinions with leaders in the field.

Take your passion for variety and throw it into gathering joy!

January 24, 2012
Revive Wellness