Betty's Thoughts, Articles & Resources
Monday, 27 December 2021 11:11

Something Sweet

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Several years ago I read an article that indicated there is some science behind ending a meal with a sweet dessert. What I remember from the article was that the sweet taste stopped the craving for more food. Somehow it interrupted the hunger cycle so a person felt satisfied with the meal.

Before writing this blog, I googled the topic to see if my memory was correct. The answer is yes and no. The current articles indicate that we end meals with a sweet dessert for two reasons. The first is that we are conditioned to expect a dessert at the end of the meal. So, if we don’t get it we feel cheated or incomplete. That reason is completely psychosomatic, but it does get us the result we’re looking for, that is to feel good, and to feel completely satisfied when we finish a meal.

The other reason, and I’m simplifying here, is that something in the simple sugar helps break down the more complex molecules of the meal that went before and it releases serotonin, which stimulates the pleasure centers in our brain and elevates our mood. So, there is some science behind the chemical reaction of a sweet dessert within our bodies.

As we come to the end of the year, and the end of the holiday season, we also want to feel good, and completely satisfied with the month and with the year that’s gone before. We want to finish the year with something sweet!

I’m not talking about holiday cookies or boxes of chocolate. I’m talking about what we do for ourselves that stimulates the pleasure centers in our brain and elevates our mood.

There are probably as many ways to give ourselves a sweet ‘treat’ as there are people who read this blog and they come at all different price points and time commitments. I know people who regularly take the last week or two of December off from work. They either go away on vacation or plan a stay-cation that allows them to unplug from the stress and worry of their regular job.

On a smaller scale, some people engage in a release ritual, letting go of anything from the past year that they don’t want to bring into the new year. Along with that, or as a separate practice, some people visualize the year ahead setting intentions rather than resolutions for how they will interact with their lives, their friends, and their work.

Another practice I’ve heard of is to create a memory box at the start of the year. Then, whenever something good happens, you write it on a slip of paper and put it in the memory box. At the end of the year you open up the box and read all of your memories, things like that raise you received, the unexpected call from a long, lost friend, the spur of the moment trip to the beach or drive through the mountains.

It doesn’t matter what you do, how much time it takes, whether you go away or stay home. What matters is that we end our year with something sweet, something that reminds us what a full and satisfying year we’ve had. Even in the years when everything seemed to go wrong, there are moments of joy, satisfaction, and peace. Those are the moments to focus on. Those are moments to give our attention to. Those are the sweet somethings that we live for.

Read 351 times Last modified on Wednesday, 15 December 2021 16:18
Betty Brink

Betty Brink is an expert on the mental and emotional aspects of dieting and body image. She is the author of "The Main Meal: The New Perspective on Weight Loss." In seminars, speeches, and consultations, she demonstrates practical methods to quiet the diet chatter, and to empower yourself to make conscious choices in diet, in life, and in relationships.

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