I just read a study that shows woman have less ability to turn away from tempting foods than what men do. Sorry girls, but according to latest research funded by the (what the?!) US National Drug Institute, we just don’t have much hope. Resistance is futile, so get eating.
The study involved brain scans on 13 women and 10 men who had fasted overnight. The idea was to determine how participants brains responded to the sight of their favorite foods. In the name of good research the men and women were cruelly presented with their favorite unhealthy foods after being taught cognitive inhibition techniques to suppress appetite and thoughts of hunger.
While men were able to just say no, the brain scans for female participants showed a strong message urging them to eat. But fear not ladies! We do have an excuse. Actually, several. Here’s what some experts had to say –
5 Reasons Females Are Destined To Be Fatter Than Males
(And How You Can Outsmart Those Nasty Girl Genes)
1. “Because the traditional role of the female is to provide nutrition to children, the female brain may be hard-wired to eat when foods are available” (Nora Valkow, a co-author on the paper and director of the National Institute for Drug Abuse)
True true. Us woman have to be physically able to fuel both a fetus and ourselves should the occasion arise. But why should this or any other excuse – legitimate or otherwise – act as a reason to justify chowing down when we don’t need to? In my experience one of the major reasons women give in to temptation more readily than men is that us gals tend to naturally avoid protein and fat-rich foods more so than men do. And without (healthy) proteins and fats as an element of every meal we eat, we sure won’t be getting any satisfaction. If you think you may be guilty of a (healthy or not) carb-heavy diet, and find you can’t resist carb cravings, check out this article on escaping your cravings.
2. “Behavioral studies have shown that women have a higher tendency than men to overeat when presented with tasty food or under emotional distress” (Gene-Jack Wang of Brookhaven National Laboratory, co-author and researcher on the study)
Can’t argue. But maybe that could be because your hormonal system (which helps you manage stress and handle emotional upset) relies on you eating enough good proteins and fats at every meal to enable optimal hormone production and function. Not to mention muscle recovery and a healthy metabolism!
3. The findings may be the result of differences in sex hormones between men and woman. (Also Gene-Jack Wang)
Men have naturally higher levels of testosterone than woman. This means that their resting metabolic rate is higher, and – as a result – they will lose weight more rapidly, and put it on more slowly than what females will do. The good news is that you CAN outsmart your genes on this on (and without having to turn into iron-woman). Check out these 10 Sure-fire Ways To Blast Off Body Fat and you’ll learn a few tricks that I’ve been using for years.
4. “While food choices were seasonal and more limited for our ancestors, choices today are wider and the food is so tempting” (Mr Wang again)
The safest way to avoid temptation is to do, well, just that. Don’t go into the aisles of the supermarket, just stick around the edges. Better yet, avoid commercial grocery outlets altogether and shop at the market. At least any indulgences there tend to be of the whole-food kind. Want to know just how effective seasonal eating can be? Check out this piece on what your ‘real’ eating habits should look like.
5. “The differences in hunger suppression may contribute to gender differences in eating disorders” (Eric Stice, an expert on eating disorders at the Oregon Research Institute)
Uh, yeah. Again, it’s true. Women beat up on themselves more than men, particularly as regards their physical appearance. And, bizarre as it is, one of the ways we try to overcome that is by binging out on junk foods. Small wonder this can develop into a vicious cycle that leads some women into a full-blown eating disorder. I guess the key here is not to get so caught up in these sort of amazing new research pieces that we allow it to color our actions. To read about a study such as this one and use it as an excuse for continued bad behaviors is what many women will do. Telling themselves that it’s not their fault, it’s just in their genes, or it’s their destiny.
So why don’t you make a choice. Right now. Why not use reading about this hot new research as your motivation to make positive change. It might be as simple as avoiding the 7-11 on your lunch break, or it could be as serious as acknowledging you need the support of a friend or even a professional, but whatever it is you do, make it a true choice. A decision and an action that you decide to make reality. Because like it or not, by choosing to do nothing or to give in, you are in fact choosing to live your life a certain way; to allow your body to develop a certain way. (And that’s not just for the girls).
Life is Now. Press Play.
What do you do to help resist temptation? Do you have any techniques that get you away from your cravings or raging appetite?
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