Why you should stop watching The Great British Baking Show! (Overdesire strategy #2)

Dr. Jen Kerns

Dr. Jen Kerns

This month I am, as you know, bringing you snippets of helpful information to help you identify areas where you might be able to tweak your behaviors in order to maximize your chances at achieving the body weight that you desire. The three main reasons why we are overweight are overhunger, overdesire, and emotional or habit-based eating. Yesterday we talked about why consuming processed foods, sugars, and refined grains leads to overeating. Today I wanted to talk briefly about one of the key strategies that can help you start to tackle your overdesire: eliminating food porn.

I am maintaining a 150 pound weight loss, and one of the strategies I’ve adopted in my own weight maintenance armamentarium is the avoidance of what I like to call “food porn.” Visual or olfactory food cues are a powerful trigger for cravings in our primitive brains, and one of the ways I’ve set myself up for weight management success is by essentially eliminating my previous habits of perusing through beautiful food-centric magazines or cookbooks, browsing Pinterest-worthy food blogs, and watching cooking or baking shows on the Food Network or PBS. It wasn’t until I actually stepped upside of my own head to observe how often I was engaging in food-related mental activities that I realized I was sabotaging my own efforts with shocking regularity: these kinds of enticing visual food cues (including photos and videos) have been shown in clinical research to stimulate craving just as much as real food exposure does, and to actually increase the likelihood and amount of food intake. Meaning, just seeing photos or videos of high calorie foods makes a human more likely to overeat. If you’re struggling with your weight, think about where you might be engaging in food porn consumption and consider giving it up. Maybe it’s time to switch to Downtown Abbey instead of The Great British Baking Show!

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