Are bad phone habits making you eat more?
By Thomas DeLauer
Today, we live in a society where most people have a difficult time detaching from their phone. HYLETE Community Captain, Thomas DeLauer explains why constantly checking our phones may be causing us to eat more.
Sometimes it's hard to understand the difference between a craving and being hungry. Watch this short clip to clear up the confusion.
About Thomas DeLauer
From 280 lbs. to the magazine covers... All by living a lifestyle that is honest and real. Thomas DeLauer brings nutrition expertise along with a unique perspective on health and wellness that is everything HYLETE.
The following is a transcription of the above video:
Hey, so in this video ... Hang on. Just one second. So basically what I wanted to talk about was how our phones are affecting us in terms of constant dop- All right. You get the point, right?
We're constantly, constantly checking our phones. We're constantly getting a dopamine hit from that. So the reality is in this video what I want to talk about is quite honestly, our constant need to check our phones and our constant need to seek validation from different things is actually literally making us fatter. I'll explain why.
So really, it's not crazy talk what I'm saying that by consistently checking our phones, we're creating habits that cause us to eat more. You see, the way that our brain works, dopamine is a very simple thing. If I put into a simple analogy, I think everything will start to make sense for you. You might be able to recognize some of these characteristics or some of these habits that are occurring in your daily life. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to just use a simple example.
I've just got a little prop here. It's a D. It stands for my last name. That's not conceited at all, right? No, I'm just kidding. But anyway, basically, what dopamine is it's the anticipatory yet satisfaction component of everything. So if I'm anticipating something to happen and then I achieve that action, and what I anticipated becomes reality, something happens inside my brain. So this action is I am going to reach out and just touch this letter D. Okay? Now what's happening is right about here, my brain is anticipating me touching the D. What happens is, soon as my fingers make contact with the D, it sends a small hit of dopamine into my brain to register the rewards system.
So this is happening at such small scales and large scales throughout the entirety of the day, every single thing you do. You reach out to touch a door handle. You may not realize that your brain is getting a signal when you accomplish a task, but it is. When you pick up a coffee cup, you bring it to your lips, you're still accomplishing a task. So when it comes down to checking your phone, that is a very big dopamine hit. You're seeking something. You want to check your email, you want to check your texts, you want to check Facebook, all this stuff. Even the notifications that you're getting from my videos are contributing to this. Not saying that you shouldn't watch my videos, but the point is if you're compulsively checking your phone, you're creating these constant dopamine hits.
Well what happens eventually, is you have what is called a down regulation, meaning your body ends up not producing as much dopamine. So every single time that I reach out and I check my phone compulsively, I am getting a smaller, and smaller, and smaller diminishing effect, diminishing hit of dopamine. Meaning it's requiring me to check it more to get that aggregate amount of dopamine that I need to feel accomplished. This isn't like some weird kind of woo woo weird stuff at all. No, this is like legit. It's straight up science that you have dopamine needs. If you set the bar high, you're going to have to keep on doing more and more of something to reach that same dopamine need or dopamine high.
So what happens is when you consistently check your phone, you start having to consistently do other things. You get used to having this sort of high or this reward system. We are in a world that cannot focus at all these days. We have constant stimulation coming from so many different things. So what happens is we go to get that dopamine hit from other things like eating.
Now I find that even with myself personally, if I become lackadaisical in one aspect of my life, where I allow something to consume me through dopamine hits, I find that my diet tends to suffer, too. Now it may not be at a huge scale, but it's enough for me to recognize. So if you look at this with the average person that isn't paying attention to these kinds of things, you can see how they start compulsively checking their phone, and then they start compulsively snacking. They're wondering why they're almost subconsciously eating.
How many times has this happened to you, where you're eating something, you're snacking on something, and you literally just don't know why you're doing it? You're just like, ""This just feels good. I'm not even hungry. I just want to snack on something. I like the feeling of it hitting my mouth and I don't even feel like it matters when it hits my stomach, because I'm not really hungry."" That is so common. You're not crazy. That's a real thing. The society that we live in today breeds that. It breeds that heavily. I honestly tell you that if you can start controlling your impulse reactions and even some of your compulsive reactions, that you can make a big difference in your waistline and just how you feel in general. Having a little bit of self-control breeds a lot of other different things. Self-control in one area of your life builds self-control in another area of your life.
So what you have to do, is you have to remember how dopamine works. You need a dopamine hit from something because that's where your standard is right now. So you need to substitute that out for something else. So if you are right now checking your phone a lot, you're going to the pantry because you're substituting the dopamine hit from your phone or vice versa. So what you need to do is you need to come up with something that's still going to get you a dopamine hit. One of the things that I do is I count to three in my head. So for example, if I find myself having the urge to do something that I feel might be an impulse reaction, I try to get my dopamine hit from saying ""one, two, three"" in my head. Why? I still get the same dopamine response. I still satisfy my brain's pleasure centers and reward centers because I'm doing something. I'm taking action on a thought. It's bringing it into my mind, and it's releasing dopamine because I did something. I just did something healthier than picking up my phone or healthier than grabbing a snack.
This is how you maintain control of your life in everything that you're doing. Again, whether you're performing at whatever level, you need to be in control of your own actions. So this isn't just a video to bash checking your phone. We're all going to check our phones. But I want you to be aware of how every little action in your body that you're seeking reward from, or validity in some way, is also affecting how often you reach for that food that you shouldn't be reaching for, or maybe the food that you should be reaching for but just maybe in a little bit too much abundance.