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Old 03-30-2012, 01:02 PM   #1
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My amazing brain!

(Wow I apologize, I just started typing and typing and this post got away from me, you'd think I was writing a novel)

First off I don't remember who it was on this board that recommended the book "Brain over Binge" to me, but a hundred thousand million thank yous. What a life changing book! I realized reading it that I have no issues with binges. I mean yes I've said in the past that I have bingeing issues, but my binges are just me overeating... My binge is me being lazy and sitting in front of the TV and eating an entire bag of potato chips, and then later having a sweet tooth and eating chocolate. Really not the same thing as what she was describing in the book... so I guess my issues are/were:

1) Sloth... A Julie at rest stays at rest.
2) Overeating. I like junk food. But a lot of people like junk food and don't put on as many pounds.
3) Laziness. I can cook, but often chose convenience foods instead.
4) Perfectionism. A diet is something I must stick to 100%. If I fall off plan, I'm a failure... if I'm a failure, I will never succeed. It will never work. So I might as well eat the bag of chips.
Aaaaaaaaaand 5) Negative thinking. It ties in with number 4 I guess!

OK well, these are obviously not all of my issues but they're the ones that cause my weight issue. Like the author of "Brain over Binge", I have no obvious psychological issues that cause me to overeat, there's no secret trauma that I eat to erase, I have anxiety and stress etc etc, but so does everyone.

So, if I have no binge disorder, what am I getting out of a book about recovery from binges? Because just like the author in the Brain over Binge book used a book destined for alcoholics to help HER recover from HER addiction, so I figured I could use a book about binge eating to recover from whatever issues plagued me.

Which brought me to... neuroplasticity. I had no idea there was such a thing! This is FASCINATING stuff. I spent about a week reading up on everything I could find on this and it just blew my mind! How could I have seriously not heard about this?

Wikipedia says neuroplasticity is: "Neuroplasticity refers to the susceptibility to physiological changes of the nervous system, due to changes in behavior, environment, neural processes, or parts of the body other than the nervous system.[1] The brain changes throughout life.[2]"

So your brain... PHYSICALLY changes depending on what you do. If you were to do something every morning, eventually your brain would remap itself PHYSICALLY to make doing that thing automatic, to make it easier. To make it something you do without thought. This is habit. If you tried to stop doing that thing, your brain would resist that change, because you r neurons have wired together to make this a thing you do. But it *can* be undone, if you stop doing that habit, eventually those unused pathways will get dismantled and you'll form new pathways elsewhere. So you can see how this can be used for great good, OR bad. So there's reason number ONE why the brain is so awesome!

Reason number 2, what I read is that just visualizing something can actually make things happen for you! They've actually done tests that show that if you just visualize yourself doing exercises you can increase your muscle strength. How completely CRAZY is that! They made a group of volunteers mentally do work outs, imagining themselves lifting heavy weights... and at the end, they had measurable gains in strength. here's just one study that shows this:

From mental power to muscle power--gaining ... [Neuropsychologia. 2004] - PubMed - NCBI

I really should have been taking notes when I was going through websites because I found SEVERAL that mentioned these awesome things that happen if you just see yourself doing them!

So if you can physically change your brain with habits, and if you can physically change your body by thought... then what have I been doing to myself when I think things like "I hate exercise" and "Oh my back hurts too much to take a walk" and "I will never lose weight", or "If I do lose weight Ill just gain it back". I'm basically just a self fulfilling prophecy. I need to visualize better things obviously!

Which led me to reading up on cognitive therapy. Now cognitive therapy alone would probably not do all that much but I think that if I combine it with what else I've learned, it becomes that much more powerful. Instead of negative thinking, I will VISUALIZE a future in which I'm not overweight. I will keep repeating happy things until I really do associate exercise with fun etc.

I found this interview with Dr Judith Beck which really brought it all together for me:
Medscape: Medscape Access

What she said, was when those urges to eat something that you shouldn't (say, a big slice of cake on your down day!) you should talk to yourself like this:

"Even though I really want to eat now, I haven't planned to. If I eat, I'll strengthen my 'giving-in' habit, which means in the future I'm more likely to give in. If I don't eat, I'll strengthen my 'resistance' habit, which makes it more likely that in the future I'll be able to resist. I can tolerate not eating now. I'll be very glad in a few minutes when the desire goes away. I shouldn't give myself a choice about this. After all, I'd rather be thinner. I can't eat whatever I want AND also be thinner. I have to make a choice. Every time matters."

Which brings you right back up to neuroplasticity and strengthening habits. If you give in a lot, your brain will be wired to make you give in a lot! if you resist temptation a lot, you won't really be tempted.

I do notice this in this one area of my life that I've actually been able to do really well with this: I don't eat in the mornings. I did intermittent fasting a long time before coming to JUDDD, so it's become HABIT for me to not eat until 3pm or so. Even on an up day. Yesterday was my down day. I ate my meal at 8pm. And at 10pm I was huuuuuungry. I snack in the evenings, that's habit. I went to bed with my stomach growling. Then today, up day... you'd think I'd get up and be all ready to eat considering I was SO HUNGRY last night. But nope... no hunger at all. Noon came, no hunger. 3pm came, and I thought hmmm I should probably eat something... even then, no hunger! Because my HABIT is to not eat in the morning, it's effortless for me to not eat in the morning. Up day or down day, doesn't matter, I am NEVER hungry in the morning. (Of course this also has to do with ghrelin and other hormones I'm sure but still, my brain is awesome).

Oh and the neuroplasticity? They've shown that you make more connections while exercising. So there's another reason to exercise.

OK I doubt anyone has read this far, I'm sorry I'm just way too... excited I guess, I feel that seeing things in this new way is in fact what I needed, 100%. I quit smoking in 2006 by reading Allen Carr's Easy way to Stop Smoking... and ever since I've been looking for a similar system for my weight loss, something that I'd read that would flip a switch in my brain and make me UNDERSTAND that I don't truly need nicotine [to eat an entire bag of chips]. For so long I had been telling myself that quitting smoking would be SO HARD and that it would suck and that I'd NEVER be able to do it, and one day I read a book, I tell myself "This is all there is to it? It's this easy?" and you know, it WAS. I quit smoking the day I read that book, and I did it decisively and completely believing that I was done. And today I believe that I have it in me to lose the weight too. I mean I *really* believe it.
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:10 PM   #2
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Now I read every word because I found it interesting. AND I am glad you don't actually have a binge problem. I have heard other good reviews about the Brain over Binge book.
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:19 PM   #3
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I got the book in yesterday's mail (along with the Alternate Day Diet) and I'm enjoying it very much...I'm just getting into the part that talks about her reading the RR book..

I am going to really read and digest your post!
Thank you!
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:37 PM   #4
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Yes. Bravo! I agree with all of this and believe it.

The Power of Positive Thinking.
Fake it 'til You Make It.
the concept of Visualization
and a million more tie into this.

My mother always told us to practice "forming good habits".

People who hear about JUDDD, before they really learn much about it, see that Down Day low calorie half of the plan and duck and run! We keep telling them that it really does get easier after awhile. Form that new habit in your brain, and then it becomes pretty easy.

Love your post! Thanks for the interesting read!
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Old 03-30-2012, 02:18 PM   #5
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Thank you for posting this interesting information! I am very much like you. I like to eat! But, like you, I've been able to form new habits, and when it comes to disciplining myself to do my DDs properly, I have NO trouble. I ALLOW myself to eat whatever I want on UDs and it's working well for me. I do think the SIRT1 gene helps with appetite, but I also believe that a large percentage of success on any plan is in your HEAD!
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Old 03-30-2012, 02:49 PM   #6
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Your brain IS an awesome place! Mine's a little scary, but yours is FANTASTIC!

Great post!
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Old 03-30-2012, 02:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeirasMom View Post
Your brain IS an awesome place! Mine's a little scary, but yours is FANTASTIC!

Great post!
This actually made me LOLOL. Ha!
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Old 03-30-2012, 02:58 PM   #8
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think this is the same principle the hypnosis weight loss places use?
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeirasMom View Post
Your brain IS an awesome place! Mine's a little scary, but yours is FANTASTIC!

Great post!
Oh yes baby, ours is scary!

But really, a wonderful thread here, thanks Hazel.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:00 PM   #10
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I don't think it would have anything to do with hypnosis. Wouldn't hypnosis be about implanting ideas in you that you aren't conscious about? Whereas this is being really conscious about what thoughts you allow to control you/what thoughts you decide to act on so they do or don't become habit.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:01 PM   #11
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Wow! I love your post!!! And, like others, I read every word of it and got a lot out of it.

I was mentioning earlier on another post to Luna that every time my scale hits a new low, I change my stats. That's because I know I'm going to see that number again and I "visualize" it being my new number. Even if the scale continues to bounce back up after the next few UDs, my new low number is my new number!!! I'm going to claim it!! Seems to be working as I'm continually hitting the low and then bouncing even lower consistently now.

On my refrigerator front and center I used a pretty magnet to post a picture of me looking the way I want to look again. It was several years ago when I looked really thin and healthy in photos and I had a huge smile on my face. I keep picturing myself that way and looking at the photo every time I open the fridge. Pretty cool how it's keeping me on track.

Thanks for reminding us all to use our amazing brains to our advantage!!
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:16 PM   #12
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Loved your post, and all the comments from you and the other JUDDDers. And I totally agree---mind over matter!

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Old 03-30-2012, 03:20 PM   #13
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that isn't what hypnosis is at all. it is reprogramming through repetition in a relaxed mental state. I'm not a big proponent of it, but it isn't about being unaware.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theredhead View Post
Thank you for posting this interesting information! I am very much like you. I like to eat!
This is me too I was just explaining to someone today why I am unable to stick to my current plan (hcg). I was saying "oh, it could be this or that" but truthfully it is because I like food and can eat a lot of it !!! Nothing special, nothing fancy. Just I like food. No trauma to get past, or anything to blame it on. Like Julie stating in Post #1, everyone has stress. Mine is not special as much as I love to think it is

I was alerted to this book Brain over Binge in the Main Lobby and got the sample downloaded to my Kindle. Still have not gotten to it because I have a boatload to read! But also have Beck's book here at the house. Looks like I have some reading to do. I would love to be able to stick to one WOE to lose the weight and keep it off.

Thanks for starting this and just so you know, I read the whole thread!!!! I find it fascinating too Please keep sharing what you find out related to this very thing. I need all the help I can get.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:27 PM   #15
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I read the whole thing (your post, not the binge book, though I've heard a lot about it).

I need to apply this to eating. I *have* applied this since December to flossing my teeth.
Now, at night, I just do it. If I don't do it (and sometimes I don't, but waaaay less often than before) it's weird.

I heard it takes 3 weeks to make something a habit. And positive reinforcment works WAY better than beating yourself up over something. Just had this conversation today!

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Old 03-30-2012, 03:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b_lou_who View Post
that isn't what hypnosis is at all. it is reprogramming through repetition in a relaxed mental state. I'm not a big proponent of it, but it isn't about being unaware.
Ah good to know, like I said I know absolutely NOTHING about hypnosis
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:41 PM   #17
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I heard it takes 3 weeks to make something a habit. And positive reinforcment works WAY better than beating yourself up over something. Just had this conversation today!

Soren
What I've been reading says that this 3 week number that gets thrown around a lot isn't true, that it really depends on what it is. Like if you want to make it a habit to drink an extra glass of water in the morning, maybe that habit only takes you 2 weeks to really stick. But maybe making an exercise habit would take you 6 months or more to stick, I guess it depends on how easy the habit is in the first place. I would guess that flossing is probably something that comes pretty easily since nobody really has a big stigma about it "oh flossing is toooooooo hard, it takes FOREVER!"... no, usually we don't floss just because we either don't consider it important or can't be bothered, plain forgetful, whatever reason... i've never heard anyone say it was because it was too difficult! In my case, I don't floss because... I don't know why. This is a good habit to implement, I did it last night, I'll keep making a big effort to turn this into habit
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:51 PM   #18
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Great post, Hazelsmrf, and now there's another book for me to put on my "must get" list!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yam-Yam View Post
Wow! I love your post!!! And, like others, I read every word of it and got a lot out of it.

I was mentioning earlier on another post to Luna that every time my scale hits a new low, I change my stats. That's because I know I'm going to see that number again and I "visualize" it being my new number. Even if the scale continues to bounce back up after the next few UDs, my new low number is my new number!!! I'm going to claim it!! Seems to be working as I'm continually hitting the low and then bouncing even lower consistently now.

On my refrigerator front and center I used a pretty magnet to post a picture of me looking the way I want to look again. It was several years ago when I looked really thin and healthy in photos and I had a huge smile on my face. I keep picturing myself that way and looking at the photo every time I open the fridge. Pretty cool how it's keeping me on track.

Thanks for reminding us all to use our amazing brains to our advantage!!
Those are very good ideas to help us own our successes and spur us on to keeping with it.
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:00 PM   #19
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This is awesome! And yes, I read it all. Really going to ponder this, especially as it relates to my 3pm hunger/snacking.
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:07 PM   #20
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Great thread. This sounds a lot like me too. I'm so glad to hear that this is helping you. I'm going to have to check out the book. I have been having some problems setting my brain to weight loss mode, it seems it just wants to be in "eat whatever I want" mode, and the ease of this method sounds really exciting! Btw, congrats on quitting smoking!

Thanks for the info!
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:12 PM   #21
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Julie, what an interesting, inspiring post! Thank you for taking the time to write it all out! I've heard about the book but probably won't get to it for a while due to having a long reading queue already. But I appreciate and can apply the principles you typed out in your post.

It makes a lot of sense to me that by engaging in the positive behavior we wish to continue, that we are making pathways in our brain that make it more likely that we'll keep doing it! What an inspiring thought!
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:43 PM   #22
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Loved your post, Hazel!

Yes, neuroplasticity is an amazing, wonderful thing! I've read some on it too, and it's such an empowering truth to know we can change ourselves for the better. It's in our hands. We ARE NOT just slaves to bad habits and old ways of thinking and doing. I'm glad you're finding so much help and encouragement with this, and I know your post is a big uplift to so many of us!
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:05 PM   #23
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I have this book on my kindle and could not put it down. It has totally changed the way i think too. It was wonderful. I have had issues with ED for years and years and always heard from everyone that i needed to fix things from my past and so on and so on and none of that ever worked. I knew there was more to it. I felt like i was this person that wrote the book. I felt the same way she did. Why cant i just stop binging and purging? Why do i have to fix all of this other stuff. When i try to do that it puts more emphasis on the ED and makes it even worse cuz im thinking about it all the time. It was wonderful to actually hear someone say this was my fault, not anyone elses, my fault and i can fix it. I have to take responsibility for my actions and i can stop on my own. I have taken so much from that book and from your post. It was a great post and i read every bit of it. This book is something to take in all forms of a persons life.
When i quit smoking one of the hardest things was not smoking in the car, so i started a new habit of eating nuts in the car to keep me from wanting a cig, well that started a bad habit on its own. Every time i got in the car instead of thinking about a cig i wanted nuts. Well what happened, i started gaining weight. So then i had to break that habit. I didnt think i could but i put my mind to it and i have. I think about eating in the car now but i just ignore the thoughts and they just go away. This works with so many things, willpower, brain power, its amazing!!!
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:08 PM   #24
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I knew that I'd want a cigarette if I had some drinks so I just decided to stop drinking. Which wasn't really a big thing to give up for me since I was really a social drinker and the older I got the less social I became Now though, a drink would not cause an urge to smoke anymore, but I still don't drink very much!
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:25 PM   #25
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Wasn't that book fantastic? I am a neuropsychologist, and even I found things to be wowed about there--
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:16 PM   #26
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Neuroplasticity is a fascinating topic to say the least! I first learned about it during my PTSD treatment, but really, it has an array of applications.

Hypnosis is widely misunderstood IMHO, but it can be a very powerful tool when you're in competent hands. I've used hypnosis during my PTSD treatment when everything (and I do mean everything) else failed. It, too, has a wide array of applications.
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:28 PM   #27
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Wasn't that book fantastic? I am a neuropsychologist, and even I found things to be wowed about there--
Ah what a fascinating field! I loved my psychology classes in college, I was always top of my class in those... I wish I hadn't talked myself out of persuing it as a career, at the time I told myself that it was way too saturated of a field and that I'd never find a job. Doh.

Maybe you'd be one to ask though, when I was looking into neuroplasticity I kept coming across sites that promoted meditation exercises where you'd listen to sounds that would manipulate your brain waves... brainwave entrainment. Anyways, when I looked more into it it seemed very "pay us 300$ for this awesome CD set and you'll only need 5 hours of sleep and you'll be more creative and you'll blah blah blah", it came across suuuuper gimicky. Is this an actual thing?
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:38 PM   #28
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it is a thing. A gimick thing.

I mean, neurofeedback works awesomely well for many conditions--I myself use some woo-woo somatic techniques for anxieties and phobias (tapping, eft). Meditation is a tested stress reliever. But let us just say buyer beware.

Neuroplasticity is mostly related to learning new things and to changing neural pathways by changing reward. The one area where I thought Brain over Binge fell down is that for some folks, it is not enough to discontinue the stimulus and response. You need to provide a new reward. Maybe for her and for profound bingers, the reward was not binging, but for a lot of us overeaters, we need to identify the stimulus cue, stop rewarding it with the old bad behavior, and still have a new reward in line--the brain is organized around reward.

One of the ways we realign our bad eating habits is to shift the reward--not something nebulous and far off like "weight loss" the brain has no idea about that! But something more specific and timely (If I don't indulge in my bad eating habit, I will still reward myself with blank at the same time of day = If I do not get a snack from the vending machine at 3pm I will walk myself all the way around the building and then eat a handful of almonds)--see? the brain likes habit and reward. We need to find ways to build that in to make the brain happy. I think in many ways, the expected pleasure of the UD is getting habituated for us--pretty deferred in "brain time" but still we are building a habit of deferred gratification.

ok. lecture mode off.
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:11 PM   #29
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Awww I love your lecture, lecture away! It's really interesting to me!

So do you think it is not enough for me to try to tell my brain that I am OK with not eating right now and that I'd eat later, or do I need to give it a more immediate reward?
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:39 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Hazelsmrf View Post
Awww I love your lecture, lecture away! It's really interesting to me!

So do you think it is not enough for me to try to tell my brain that I am OK with not eating right now and that I'd eat later, or do I need to give it a more immediate reward?
I agree, lecture away! sounds interesting.
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