Strange thought ...comments?
I posted this in my blog, then I thought it would probably get more traffic on the main board---comments are welcome:
I had a bit of an epiphany on the way home from my parent's place today.
I was thinking about tomorrow and wondering what I should prepare for my lunches at work this coming week. Suddenly, my subconscious was telling me that I should pack a bigger lunch because I usually hungry around 11.30 am. The logical side of my mind jumped in and rationalized that it's NORMAL to be hungry around lunchtime and I'm ALWAYS full immediately after lunch. In fact, I'm usually not really "hungry" again until at least 6.00 or 7.00 pm.
Why did my brain try to justify a bigger lunch? I remember having this happen back when I first went on low carb 12 years ago. I would pack lunches that were HUGE---a big tub of veggies, a piece of cheese, a couple of hard boiled eggs "in case I'm hungry". I've ALWAYS had this FEAR of being hungry and I don't know why. After almost 5 months of no bingeing and being on low carb religiously, SUDDENLY, this ridiculous fear of hunger is rearing it's ugly head.
I might be able to justify this fear if I was ever starved or was from a family that regularly went without food, but exactly the opposite is true! My mom was definitely a "feeder". She has tons of terrible faults as a Mom, but she was VERY responsible when it came to basic human needs. We always had food readily available at home. No one EVER went hungry. We were never denied anything, except things that were bad for us (mostly sweets--my mom never packed cookies or sweets in my lunch).
When I binge, it stems from this "not enough food" mentality. During my binges, I'll stop off at a supermarket before work and buy cookies, candy and baked goods until I feel I have "enough" to feed my cravings for the day. I can ingest 3000 calories and still feel as if I haven't had enough. I feel panicky and sometimes, I've even have LEFT the office to buy junk. I'm the person who says "HEY, I'm going to Starbucks, who's in?"....so I can buy myself something sweet to hold me over.
WHY, WHY, WHY does my brain do this to me? :dunno:
I completely understand. I find myself planning a mental checklist before I go anywhere, and it includes food or food options. "In case" I can't find anything to eat.
A couple of things have helped me with this.
One is to have a small packet of nuts in my purse. I haven't had to use them, but they're there.
Another is to imagine a room FULL of whatever food I'm thinking about. Shelves and shelves of it, in all sorts of varieties, brands, concoctions, and sizes. Grocery stores full of it. Then I tell myself that I've had it before; I will have it again at another time. But that right now, right here, it doesn't fit my plan. Somehow, "showing" my subconscious that the food isn't going away, that there isn't a famine or lack of it, helps.
The third was to do IF for a good three months. Even though I can't do JUDDD anymore due to blood sugar issues, it taught me that hunger isn't an emergency. And with low-carb, it isn't. I can eat much less than I used to think was my minimum, and not be too terribly impacted. Another hour to eat isn't usually a big deal, especially if I can distract myself.
I was just posting about this last week.....I call this type of behavior, "preventative eating". I realized many years ago that I would eat past what was reasonable "just in case"of.....fill in the blank.......I didn't have time to eat.....lunch would be late.....etc.
I realized this and asked myself what my fear was around being hungry as I seemed to avoid hunger as if my life depended on it.
I decided to listen to my body and pay attention to its hunger signals as they had been so clouded after so many years of blocking them out. I realized it didn't reqire much food to take away the hunger once my body needed something and just naturally reduced my portion sizes. I now eat a fraction of what I used to eat, am never hungry and am satisfied physically and emotionally.
I am no longer afraid of being hungry and accept it as a cue from my body it needs more fuel.
Even after I had done dozens of 24 hour fasts, I was really worried that I couldn't do longer, but now I've fasted for about 40 hours on a bunch of occasions and it's the same. The hunger might come back but never worse, and it seems like it may even get better. Whenever I get to the point that I've decided I will be able to eat, I'm never hungry.
You should really try it, just to get past this fear. Because now that I know this, I never have that freak out, I never have to do defensive eating, I don't get anxious about my next meal. It's very liberating!
Thanks for the feedback!
I was quite surprised at myself for feeling that way because I really thought I'd "kicked the habit".....
I guess it just goes to show that our brains need to be reigned in sometimes.
I just prepared my lunches for this week and I didn't prepare more than usual. Now that I'm aware of my mind's tricks I'm better suited to deal with them!
As humans, we are born with certain traits that aren't always explainable. In Evolutionary Psychology, these are referred to as "psychological mechanisms".
For example, snakes and spiders are typically a universal fear, even though most of us have rarely encountered any deadly snake or spider in our life. We have evolved this trait - and some evolved traits simply don't make sense in the modern world.
This could be the cause of your "fear of going hungry", even though your mom ensured that you never went hungry (you've never actually really experienced a famine situation). The fear of hunger could simply be "wired into" your brain as a survival adaptation.
Anyway, it probably won't work to try to control this urge with willpower - it is similar to telling someone to "lose their fear of snakes".
Instead, I would probably use my intelligence to try to identify the root causes of why the thought "eat more" is appearing in your head. Perhaps you are lacking an important nutrient, or perhaps you do need a few more calories. Or, maybe you are experiencing some other stressful situation (insomnia, work-related stress, etc), sending your body into a unconscious mode of panic.
But this is just one explanation....
I'm so glad that you posted this. It was really eye-opening for me and I didn't realize that I was doing the exact same thing. I don't normally eat between meals, but on Mondays I am gone from home most of the day and I have to pack my lunch. I ALWAYS pack extra and I ALWAYS eat it even though I'm not really hungry. It was that fear that I was going to get hungry that drove me to eat everything in my bag. After reading this(right before I left for the day) I still packed the "extra" stuff, but I made a conscious decision to try not to eat it. Guess what? I didn't need it, and I felt fine all day. It's weird how our brains play tricks on us.
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