Friday, February 10, 2012

FITNESS : Temptation [Before You Can Think Twice]

Samantha Salis

From across the room, you quickly spot it in a crowd. Time stops and it’s love at first sight. Your eyes are locked. You gravitate towards it. This pull is unwavering, and in your mind it is impossible to resist.

It is a decadent dessert, and it’s beautiful in its rich colors, curves, and delicate shape. As soon as you are close enough for it to be within your reach, the desires of your heart bully the rationality of your mind. Your thoughts are overwhelmingly upbeat: your mind is flooded with memories of great tastes and textures, celebration and family, and most of all, that feeling of an incredible high. Before you can think twice, you snatch it, consume it, feel a rush of bliss for the minute it is in your mouth, and then, as suddenly as it began, the high is over. Once again, you are abandoned and left alone at square one. Unsatisfied, you yet again find yourself looking for that next rush. Does this sound all too familiar?

Women love food. We love sweets. We love chocolate. In fact, sometimes (usually every 28 days) we feel that this love is beyond our mortal control. This is normal; nobody is perfect. It is unproductive to resort to self-hatred or self-punishment for these indulgences.

However, like other important issues in life, real health and happiness can be achieved by putting these events into perspective. The high we experience from food is not that much different than that of a drug addict. The chemical processes that they trigger within our brain are chillingly similar. Once either a drug or a cookie are ingested, the same neurotransmitter, serotonin, begins to fire off rapidly. Increased levels of serotonin create a feeling of euphoria.

This feeling only lasts as long as it takes you to bite, chew, and swallow. Let’s look at the entire night: those mere minutes of pleasure while consuming that sugary dessert turn into hours of regret. Feelings of pride and self-control quickly become feelings of shame and embarrassment.  Looking at this timeline in its entirety, it seems unlikely that anyone would consider this a worthwhile, or even logical action.

Next time, become an objective intermediary in the battle between your mind and heart. Stand up for yourself. Closely consider your goals and dreams. We all want permanent happiness, true self-love, and consistent highs, not temporary feelings of sugar-induced euphoria. Listen to your inner monologue and ask yourself, “What makes me feel better longer: a cookie or the look on my lover's face when I look smoking hot in that new lingerie?” I know you deserve the latter.

Remember Ladies: 
An apple a day?
Keeps old Doc' away!
An occasional sweet
when the eye's led astray,
will surely still keep
the old Doc' at bay (
not the dentist).
But, to this one last message,
close attention you'll pay:
 My dear lovely ladies,
when you see those warm cookies just baked on a tray
Then remember dear ladies,
Those couple sweet goodies you cherish a day?
Will eventually keep the ER on speed-dial.
(Poem by Sasha Martin (c) 2012)

The Woman Behind the Fitness Section:
Samantha Salis is a Psychology Major and Political Economy Minor at UC Berkeley. She is a dedicated young woman, ambitious and sharp as a whip. Our dear Samantha tutors high schoolers and works at a Psychology lab at UC Berkeley. Even with this busy schedule, Ms. Salis creates the time to divulge to us her passion about the fitness and health of women, and is (fortunately for us) very well informed on these topics. Enjoy!

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