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    Resisting the urge to splurge

    We all hear about eating healthy, but still, obesity is becoming the biggest challenge for people all across the globe. Our eating habits can be good (healthy eating habits) or bad (less healthy eating habits). We make these decisions based on our self-control, whether we can resist unhealthy food or not. People with high self-control are more likely to skip these tempting unhealthy food

    So why do we eat what we eat? Let's understand how our brain makes decisions on food choices. We can divide it into three core groups to see how they impact. 

    Brain and taste buds

    Eating is behavior influenced by many factors and involves many organs and central nervous system. These affect food intake through taste, sight, and smell of food. Things like preferences for sweetness, avoidance of strong and bitter flavors, and fond of trying new foods may also contribute to these factors. 

    Brain and taste buds - Docpok

    Eyes and ears communicate to the brain too

    With our smartphones, we always stay connected. You all may have seen the same advertisement keep on popping on the websites you visit with pictures, text, audio, video and your eyes and ears start telling and training your brain for that thing to be useful as no advertisement tells about negative parts of the product.

    These marketing efforts can have a notable impact on your food habits. Advertising has become so much dominant today because of the prevalence of social media, television, celebrity endorsement, and word of mouth. Companies spend millions of dollars in their marketing to create a more positive and firm association with their products. Companies often link their food products with some cartoon characters and children are more likely to purchase that food when their favorite cartoon characters adorn them. Alternatively, they endorse their food products through a celebrity having large fan base; when their fans see their favorite celeb enjoying that food, it's more likely that more customers are going to purchase their food product. 

    Age group and social factors

    The societies and cultures that we live in, along with the type of relationship we have with them, influence our food behaviors and choices. The food you will eat with the family will be different from what you will eat with your friends. Food is often seen as a sign of friendship, and whenever you have any gathering or function in your house, you offer them food.

    Age group also affects the type of food you will eat. If you are young, it's more likely you want to pick food that gives pleasure to your taste buds - sugar, fats, soda - all sorts of unhealthy foods. If you are older, then you want to have a more healthy diet to maintain your health in your old age. And the people who came in between these age gaps, want to have a taste of both healthy and unhealthy food. 

    How to manage this urge to splurge?

    As we understand various factors and circumstances impacting our food choices we know today food is abundant, and we have a wide range of new food products available in the market, a lot of them are high in salt, fats, and sugar, which appeal our taste buds but we also have many more readily available real healthy food choices tasting good. The onus is on us to make a choice but how?

    We need to train our brain and taste bud over a long period for kinds of tastes from healthy food choices. Training involves relaxation techniques like meditation, eating food that keeps us less hungry like nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole raw food. Drinking more water at regular intervals helps with the hunger as well as keeping you hydrated and away from sugary drinks. By keeping yourself full enough, when you get access to all kinds of food, you will be less tempted to eat it or eat it in moderation, reducing the impact of unhealthy choices.

    By knowing you are improving your health by making food choices in direct and indirect ways, will motivate you further. Keep your vitals measured at regular intervals and see how your food choices are making things better or worse for you. Sooner you catch the impact and come back on track better the long term results will be. Doing frequent common labs and keeping a historical understanding of how things are moving will help further to track real improvements in diseases you are facing or about to face. The mantra is "do not wait to change till you are sick" because by the time you know you are sick damage is done and reversal if rarely possible will be much cumbersome and painful. The continuous feedback loop of choose, eat, see the impact, improve choices will provide continuous improvement.

    You should try to spend more on healthy food - nuts, fruits, and vegetables. If your brain ever creates the temptation to eat unhealthy food, look at your vitals and charts history the graphs will give new motivation to your mind to drop the urge to splurge. It will save both your health and money which will help you in the future than your peers.

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