In my last post, we recognized that surviving our modern environment without developing chronic disease requires us to defy the three rules our brain has evolved to obey:
- Avoid pain
- Seek pleasure
- Conserve energy
I also explained why we feel so out of control with food because of OVERDESIRE.
In Part II, we’re going to get into how we use food to deal with our feelings. Think you’re not an emotional eater? Most people eat for a hundred different reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. Read on and you might find out something about yourself.
We’re also going to see how our social and cultural programming create beliefs around food that can undermine our best laid plans for change.
And then I’m going to explain why hunger can be way out of balance, creating a demanding, urgent alarm that is going off constantly despite the fact that most of us have PLENTY of storage and are not in danger of starving anytime soon.
We have been taught that we should be happy all the time. That if you’re not happy, something is wrong that needs to be fixed. We seek out all manner of ways to “fix” our negative emotion. Our surroundings offer us many false pleasures to distract us from discomfort.
We can drink, take drugs, seek entertainment, shop, and on an on. And we can eat. Eating for pleasure has become a recreational activity. It feels good in the moment and dulls our emotional pain and distracts us from boredom. The truth is that it doesn’t solve the problem and it creates collateral damage through weight gain and related health problems.
In my own life, I would guess that 75% of the time when I have eaten, it has had nothing to do with hunger or nourishment for my body. It’s because I wanted to feel good, or because it’s time to eat, or I might be hungry later, or I believe I’ll miss out.
We can learn how to feel uncomfortable feelings without trying to cover them up with false pleasures.
How can you catch on to yourself if you’re an emotional eater? Next time you pick up a snack, ask yourself, “Why am I eating?” If you’re using food to cover up your feelings, and you don’t eat, that mess is going to come to the surface.
How much of our eating habits are shaped by our culture and how we were raised? So much of how we think about food has been taught to us.
Let’s consider what is normal:
- “It’s normal to overeat and be overweight.” Here you want to ask yourself, “Do I want to be normal?”
- Food is a way to celebrate and show love. You may worry that someone may find it offensive that you refuse food that is offered. Do you really want this to determine your success?
- Who decided that we should eat “three square meals a day” plus snacks and dessert? It wasn’t our ancestors 500 years ago. You can re-decide if this construct moves you closer to your goals.
- We need to eat for every occasion: Holidays, gatherings, births, deaths, PLUS a thousand other reasons. It’s your first day, it’s your last day, it was a hard day, it was a good day, it’s Friday! It has gotten ridiculous and out of control.
We have to learn to question EVERYTHING we think is normal and re-decide if it is serving us.
Hungry all the time? OVERHUNGER is a problem for so many of us. Part of this is hunger we create with our mind, and part of this is a hormonal imbalance created by our unnaturally concentrated foods.
Distinguishing true physical hunger from hunger that we create with our thinking may be trickier than you think. How many times are you finding yourself suddenly hungry because you noticed the time, saw someone eating, smelled food, or thought about food?
But what about nagging, urgent hunger that persists for most of the day and isn’t satisfied without a substantial meal? Many people describe being hungry all the time. How miserable is that?!
Food fills all the thoughts and rules their lives. Dieting sounds like torture.
OVERHUNGER that is true physical hunger is driven by high levels of insulin, a fat storage hormone that drives weight gain and insulin resistance.
When it is high all the time, it blocks the action of other hormones that send signals of satiety and increase energy expenditure. High levels of insulin also keep your fat stores from being accessed for fuel.
So you feel like you are starving, rarely feel full, and keep storing fat that you can’t access for fuel.
What makes insulin levels high around the clock? Consuming highly refined carbohydrates like flour and sugar frequently and in large amounts. Cutting these out allows insulin levels to fall and hormones to balance.
So to recap, let’s summarize ALL the reasons why it’s so hard to lose weight and control your blood sugars:
- The evolutionary drive to avoid pain, seek pleasure, and conserve energy explains how we are designed to eat as much food as possible and store it on our bodies for future use.
- Intense pleasure that comes with modern concentrated foods creates OVERDESIRE so that we feel out of control with food.
- Using food and drink as a false pleasure to distract ourselves from all kinds of negative emotion, which makes us feel good for a moment but leads to a net negative effect of weight gain and health problems.
- Social and cultural standards of eating that shape our beliefs about what is “normal” that can undermine our efforts to take care of ourselves.
- Constant, demanding OVERHUNGER that is driven by high levels of insulin, a common consequence of the Standard American Diet.
Whew! No wonder so few people are able to lose the weight and keep it off for their lifetime.
With all that being said however, it’s possible. But it has to start with your mind. How many times have you pumped yourself up to try a diet or program and lost steam only to return to old habits?
It’s not the DIET that isn’t working! It’s all the mind drama around everything else. Lasting, life changing results come with changing how you think.
I’ve gained and lost 50 pounds 6 times in my life. Each time required different strategies, but I would end up right back where I started over and over. It wasn’t until I recognized that I had to change my THINKING to keep the results I worked so hard for that now I don’t ever fear having to do it all over again.
If you want to lose the weight and reverse your Type 2 Diabetes for the last time, I can show you how. Go to my website and sign up for my FREE video (found in the menu) to learn the most important step to reversing Type 2 Diabetes. You can also find out how to work with me at www.AFutureByDesign.com