Can You "Ignore" Donuts?Oct 21, 2021
Comedian Mitch Hedberg had strong opinions about donuts. He once said:
“I bought a donut and they gave me a receipt for the donut. I don’t need a receipt for the donut. I give you money and you give me the donut, end of transaction. We don’t need to bring ink and paper into this. I can’t imagine a scenario that I would have to prove that I bought a donut.”
Can You "Ignore" Donuts? 🍩
The sweet aroma. The orderly rows of fried sugary dough just waiting to be enjoyed with a cup of hot coffee. Have ever tried to pay no attention to an open box of chocolate sprinkle donuts?
If yes, you know how hard it is to keep your hands to yourself and ignore the glazed goodness.
And once you walk on by, the battle isn’t over.
Even if you are in a different room and down the hall, you can’t stop thinking about those decadent treats.
My personal favorites are the Boston creme ones with the pudding filling.
So why is it so hard to resist something as small and seemingly innocent as a donut?
And is it spelled donut or doughnut?
Well, it has everything to do with habit—and mindset.
I may be so bold to say that the way you look is the sum of your habits.
The gravitational pull you feel from that donut goes way beyond just a mild interest: you are wired to want it, and resistance is hard.
In his book, The End of Overeating, Dr. David Kessler MD explains the breakdown:
When you taste foods that are highly palatable (such as foods containing excess sugar, fat and salt), your brain releases opioids into your blood stream.
Opioids are brain chemicals that cause you to have intense feelings of reward and pleasure.
Opioids also relieve pain and stress.
The pleasurable effect is similar to the feelings that morphine and heroin users experience.
The desire may be so intense that you keep taking one bite after another. It can be hard to stop.
That explains why you keep eating when you know it's a bad choice.
I have this challenge with chips and salsa too.
My internal dialogue goes something like this:
"Wow, Sharon got a bag of the blue tortilla chips and jar of mild salsa. It's not my 'free day' but, who cares, I'll have a few of these before dinner. Mmmm these are awesome... crunchy and salty goodness... I probably should stop because we're having dinner in 20 minutes. I feel sort of guilty, but strangely happy. Why am I still eating these? Wait someone is coming into the kitchen, I should hide the fact that I'm eating chips-and-salsa before dinner. Too late, I got caught. Geeze, I just ate the whole bag of chips. The salsa jar is empty too. I feel bad about my lack of discipline. My young children are scolding me because 'Dad ate our snacks!' Sharon is shaking her head in disapproval. I mean, I'm considered the best online personal trainer. Is this what a professional fitness coach does? Man, why did I make that poor choice! Forgive yourself and get back on track, Joe!"
Yep, that's my candid internal dialogue. Seem familiar?
But why do you give in and approach the donuts (or chips and salsa) in the first place?
Why not just refuse to take that first bite?
The answer is another feel-good brain chemical called dopamine.
Dopamine is responsible for motivating you to seek out the donut so you can get the opioid release.
You remember how good it tasted and how great it made you feel.
Dopamine energizes you to concentrate on the donut and drives you to seek it out.
Once this process happens a few times, the whole cycle becomes a habit that is reward-focused, ingrained, and tough to break.
Your brain’s circuitry becomes wired to want the gooey donut or crispy chips.
And you don’t even have to be near the donut for this process to start... the dopamine can kick in even when there are no donuts in plain sight.
Ever made a run to the store for a treat that you just HAD to have right then?
It's no secret you are surrounded by highly-palatable foods (think restaurant foods and processed foods).
As a result, over one-third of all adults in the U.S. are obese.
The habit of eating too much unhealthy food is widespread... mainly because it's so deeply ingrained in your neural circuitry.
Good news is you can change the trajectory of your life.
You can rewire your brain and begin reducing the power that those opioid-producing foods have over you.
You can draw a new map in your mind that will have you passing by the doughnuts on your way to better pleasures.
The secret is mindset.
You must want something else more than you want those fleeting moments of pleasure that the donuts bring you.
What is it? What do you want?
- Maybe you want to drop a couple inches from your waist.
- Maybe you want to be off your blood pressure medication.
- Maybe you want to be known as an "athletic" person.
- Maybe you want to keep disease at bay.
- Or maybe you just want the immense satisfaction of being in control of yourself.
To break it down in simple terms: If you can't resist a simple donut, you've given away much power over your life.
Once you know what you want, go after it with the following strategies:
There is no other way to say this: You must stop eating foods that are not in your plan.
In the beginning, this will be difficult.
When everyone around you is tossing back pizza and beer, and gobbling up glazed donuts, you will struggle.
You will smell the pizza, you will be in the emotionally charged atmosphere and dopamine will be flowing in your bloodstream.
Think about what you want more than that jelly donut; think about what you can only have by resisting it's siren song.
Sheer willpower is what you have to use at this point.
2. Savor the Victory
Once you come out on the other side having successfully won the battle within your own mind, you will have accomplished much more than just saying "no" to a greasy slice of thin-crust pizza.
You will have begun "cooling" the stimulus, as Dr. Kessler puts it.
You have taken the first step toward weakening the circuitry in your brain that drives you to habitual patterns of behavior.
The next time, it will be easier. And after that, even easier.
3. Focus on New Rewards
As you remap your brain, you are creating new neural pathways that in time will be stronger than the weak, “donut-centered” pathways.
Make sure these new rewards are life-giving and energy-producing, such as the thrill you get from a successful training session. Or achieving athletic levels of bodyfat.
You can have power over habits.
And it begins with your mindset.
To your success,
Joseph Arangio helps 40+ men and women get leaner, stronger, and happier. He's delivered over 100,000 transformation programs to satisfied clients around the globe. If you want to lose weight from home, with the best online personal trainer, or you want to visit the best personal trainer in the Lehigh Valley, you can take a free 14-day trial.