If you didn´t read Part 1, Read it here: Why do I eat without being hungry?
“ I deserve something good for myself after this kind of day!”
Eating for rewarding yourself or to relax after busy days have become more common way to search some small happy moments in life. You know the feeling when you have achieved something that was costing you a lot of energy, whether the stress was mental or physical, positive or negative, you love reward.
Easiest way to reward is to eat something good what you really enjoy. You know that it is maybe not the healthiest option but you need to feel relaxed and rewarded. This is part where your brain says that give me some dopamine. No matter how much discipline you have, it helps only sometimes against cravings. Usually need of rewarding your brain is more powerful than your discipline.
You know that fruits would be better choice than chocolate but unfortunately foods with a high energy density (many calories in “little space”) are more obvious choice. This is happening because they ensure a particularly high release of dopamine. Lot more than fruits for example.
It is easy to say that you don´t need to eat that stuff. You are not stupid. You know that you are not doing some great for your health goals. You might think that you don´t have strong enough discipline and willpower to resist temptation. You are not the only one.
Listen me now very carefully. It might be most important advice for today.
There is some other ways to outsmart your brain.
Eating is not the only way to increase your dopamine level. There is some natural ways to get enough dopamine.
Your diet also includes dopamine (for example, it is found in fruits and vegetables), problem just is that this dopamine is broken down in the stomach so fast that it will never reach the brain. It must be produced by your body itself.
Forget pills and some fast fix solution. Healthy person can increase the production of dopamine naturally.
What actually leads release of dopamine is for every person different. When you have feelings of happiness combined with faster heart beat, you can be sure that what you are doing is a true dopamine source for you.
7 natural ways to increase your dopamine level without eating high calorie foods
Go to nature
Breathe fresh air. Listen. Look around. Tell yourself how beautiful this place is. If you have ever climbed to top of the mountain,after you have that view. It was worth of climb. Outstanding. That is feeling where your dopamine is filled naturally. It can be lake, forest or park for example if you don´t have chance to see mountains every day. You might see these same things every day but you are too busy with your thoughts or smartphone to see nature. Next time, look around, what colors you see, what you hear. Enjoy it without thinking or doing something else. Congratulations, you have just increased your dopamine level.
After workout, we are physically tired, but we usually feel happy and light. Latest after a refreshing shower you feel like new born again.
The reason? Sport is a real dopamine booster and triggers happiness in us. If you think now that this is bullshit and sport have never made you happy. Then it’s time to change the sport! Try something different what you never tried before.
If you are constantly forced to exercise and you never enjoy it, you will most likely produce the stress hormone cortisol. If you don´t know what it is and how it affects, google it 😉
Find a sport that you don´t make just “to do sports”. Something you enjoy. Just because running and gym are trend sports, this does not have to be right for you. It can be other group practice, trampoline training, dancing, whatever you really enjoy.
Set new goals
“Don´t think purple Milka cow now”
I can say pretty sure that you thought about it, at least for moment.
The same thing happens when you try not to constantly think about food, to lose weight or to avoid eating too much. If you have followed strict dieting rules, you may have noticed that you are only thinking about food. That you should not do.
Instead of “not thinking about something,” you need to focus on other things. The easiest way to do that is with the things you enjoy. Things what makes you forget time, you are in “flow”.
If you want to do this in longer term and not losing your focus, it is important to define a specific goal. Write it down. What will be actual practical steps, like how much time, which days and what time you will do it. If necessary, invest some money and you will more likely stay motivated.
What it could be? When you were child, was there something you always wanted to learn?
Maybe a new language, an instrument or an exotic sport? Or did you always want to create a vegetable garden or redesign your home?
Do you love music? You get to good mood when listening music you really enjoy? If music makes you feel happy, there you have another source of dopamine.
There are many researches that not only listening and playing music with group is increasing your dopamine level. Social community and contacts are making experience even better.
Looking beautiful things
Everything that you feel beautiful activates your reward center as soon as you look at it. More you enjoy watching some beautiful things, more dopamine level is increasing.
It doesn´t matter what kind of thing or piece of art it is,all what matters is that you really enjoy watching it. Maybe it is art like paintings, nice clothes, animals, fancy cars.. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”
Avoid any form of addiction
You know addictions like Drugs, alcohol, gambling or buying addiction. All have in common that consumption leads to an extremely (unnatural) high release of dopamine.
That leads that our natural Dopamine system is getting weaker. Suddenly you recognize that you need always more and more to get same dopamine kick. If you ever had some addiction, you know what I am talking about.
If you want still to enjoy little things in life, try avoiding unnatural “dopamine highs”. Like mom used to say, do not use drugs, or drink too much. 😉
I hope you found some ideas from this text how you could boost your natural dopamine without eating. Do not try to do all in once, pick one or two things and concentrate for those things. All rest can wait. You will see that soon you are happier and don´t need to eat “shit” to feel satisfied.
I would be happy about your thoughts and questions. Let me know what you think. Mail me at email@example.com or write me DM in Instagram or Facebook