The Real Reason You Can't Stop Eating At Work

Put down the chocolate and find your inspiration in life.

We've all been there -- munching on sugary snacks when times get tough.

But why do we do it?

The answer is lack of inspiration and not fulfilling your highest values, said human behaviour expert Dr John Demartini.

"Any time they are living in their highest values, the blood glucose goes to the executive centre of the forebrain," he told ten daily.

"And when that happens, it lights up, it becomes active, and when you have that you have self-governance and you have purpose."

Every person has a innate list of high values. Image: Getty

But when you aren't doing something that is meaningful or gives you purpose, the blood glucose notchings go to the amygdala in the brain -- the part that processes emotions. That makes you more likely to want to snack on tasty treats or binge-eat.

"The amygdala is the desire section, it is built to 'avoid predator, seek prey'," Demartini said.

The body becomes addicted to feeding the amygdala with sugar. Image: Getty

When the blood goes to this area, you immediately go into a state that "wants to consume prey".

And it is this state that triggers a consumerism response, such as the need to eat.

To avoid this, Demartini said it is important to be doing things which inspire you and fulfill your highest values.

"When you are not fulfilled, you fill yourself full with consumer-desires of prey-seeking," he said.

"It is the amygdala desire centre looking for prey."

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The amygdala section seeks 'prey', and this drives a person's consumerism. Image: Getty

During times of anxiety or doing things that aren't fulfilling, you have a high probability of the amygdala coming alive and seeking 'prey'.

"You want immediate gratification with a dopamine (a chemical released by the brain to send signals to other nerve cells) fix with food or pleasure," he said.

"You want to eat quick, you want to get your blood sugar levels back up."

So how do you avoid this stress response?

Get your blood sugar levels back up by doing something meaningful.

"Whenever you aren't doing something high on your value, your blood sugar level drops," Demartini said.

Continually living by values lower on your list a cycle of self-depreciating begins and you will seek out other ways to appreciate yourself.

"Food temporarily gives you a high with the sugar, so you use that as a reflex to compensate," said Demartini.

Eventually a person will become addicted to the brief high that food gives them, and a vicious cycle of stress-eating happens.

When doing things that are fulfilling people avoid distractions, such as eating. Image: Getty

Boredom also plays a part in binge-eating. By having nothing to do that is inspiring or meaningful, the executive centre of the brain is not being fed by blood glucose, and instead the blood heads to the amygdala.

"You have a higher probability of binge-out on a weekend than on days you have very important things to do," Demartini said.

"Whenever you aren't doing something you love doing that's a degree of frustration, of boredom, and this is what stress-eating is about."

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Doing things which are fulfilling gives you a natural 'high'. Image: Getty

By doing inspiring things, the focus is removed from food or other distractions, and put on to the activity you are doing.

"When you're working on a project that really inspires you or is amazing, the last thing you want to think about is eating," said Demartini.

"The desire for immediate gratification costs life, and the long-term vision pays life."

"Whatever is highest on our values list, what is most important in our life, we spontaneously do without being reminded, motivated or incentivised to do it."