Why do I overeat? When eating more food becomes less satisfying.

More and more people are reaching out for help to overcome their compulsive overeating habits. They’re tired of starting each day with good intentions, only to end up feeling controlled by food and overeating until the end of the day. Having food constantly on their mind is preventing them from living a fuller, more joyful life. It’s exhausting! So, what’s causing this cycle of overeating to continue?

Dopamine is the neurochemical of desire; it is the ‘I want’. When speaking to people who binge eat, they often report that they can eat something, not enjoy it, but still keep going. Why does this happen? They are anticipating the next bite will do the trick. Here, we have an impaired dopamine response, similar to the person with an addiction who gambles again, thinking, ‘Just one more time; this time, I’ll hit the jackpot’.

The cause of an impaired dopamine response may be due to constant exposure to highly palatable food in a particular environment. Some people are more vulnerable than others. Dopamine receptors down-regulate because there is too much dopamine at a given time (1). The brain doesn’t need that much excitement or anticipation.

Eating a tub of ice cream should bring a massive amount of dopamine into the brain. However, if your receptors are impaired, it barely registers because you have developed a tolerance. Despite this, you anticipate more because you ate the ice cream, so you aren’t satisfied and look for more, leading to overeating. A cycle of obsession begins.

This cycle can seem impossible to escape, as the brain has created a neural pathway that keeps this automatic behaviour happening.

Imagine you are on a bushwalk to a lookout and see a trail marked out from all the previous walkers. You take the trail because it’s now engraved and, therefore, more effortless. This is your brain. The easiest pathway is the one you’ve done a thousand other times.

The pathway doesn’t just go away because you are on another diet. You need to rewire the brain and discover a new way of thinking.

This is exactly what I assist women within my signature program – A COURSE IN NORMAL EATING. Start your journey to food freedom and clear your headspace today. Gain immediate access.

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