Weighty Matters

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Fooling My Brain

on November 24, 2014

Very often I think that I’m hungry, am positive that if I don’t have a particular food right that very second, I will starve.  Yes, that’s overdramatized, but sometimes it’s close to how I feel.  It’s brain or head hunger, of course.  I’m not actually in danger of starvation.  My brain wants what it wants when it wants it and convinces my body to go along.

I’ve fallen into that trap more often in recent weeks.  It either happens with specific foods or with the quantity of food.  I’m not eating huge binge amounts.  Thank goodness, the restricted stomach prevents that intake.  However, I could eat a reasonable portion, wait a while, decide that I must have more and then squeeze in additional foods.

I honestly could demolish a package of cookies that way, one cookie at a time spread out over an afternoon and evening.  Mental hunger is powerful.

Determination not to give into mental hunger must be even more powerful.  Those of you old enough to remember the Reagan Administration will recall Mrs. Reagan’s campaign of “Just Say No” to drug usage.  In this case, I must just say no to my own brain cravings.

Often, I take to joshing around with my brain.  Instead of scolding myself when the food thoughts attempt a coup, I give myself a mental nudge along the lines of, “Oh come on.  Don’t be silly.  You don’t really need that (fill in the inappropriate food).”  It helps.  It makes the whole process less difficult than if I argued with myself or made myself a victim of my eating disorder.  I have to walk away from dramatic internal monologues.

This morning while preparing lunch to bring to work, I realized that I was out of nuts.  I like to bring nuts for a mid-morning snack.  For a few moments I started to get a little, well, nutty about it.  Thankfully, I stopped, did an eye-roll at myself and got a grip.  For months, I satisfied the mid-morning hunger with a single, low fat cheese stick – of which I had several in the fridge.  I plopped one in my lunch bag.  Problem solved.

I fooled my brain.  Serenity returned.  I’ve continued through the day so far without food or eating difficulties.  The cheese stick was fine mid-morning.  My lunch was the perfect, healthy, appropriate meal.  I just enjoyed a small apple for the mid-afternoon snack.  I’m meeting a friend for dinner out and already know what I’m ordering.  Likewise, I know what’s in the house for my reasonable evening snack.  It’s all good.

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3 responses to “Fooling My Brain

  1. hoperoth says:

    Something that helps me in a situation like that… I picture myself eating something healthy but a little dull. Does it satisfy me? Just the act of imagining myself eating a few dry almonds is usually enough to help me realize that I’m craving the taste of something, not looking to fulfill a nutritional need.

  2. Mary Stella says:

    It didn’t sound preachy in the least. Thank you for suggesting/reminding me about the benefit of mindfulness.

  3. Tony says:

    I wonder if you might have less stress about your foods cravings if you thought about the outcome of the overindulgence. If you have a single cookie you can enjoy it. If you continue to reach into the bag, consider that you are filling your system with sugars and fats that can only harm you. You are also packing in a lot of empty calories that you are going to have difficulty working off. In other words, do yourself a favor and close up the bag of cookies after the first one and feel satisfied that you have protected your body from a damaging onslaught of empty calories. I hope this doesn’t sound preachy, but I lived with a weight problem for years and it wasn’t till I got my head straight about what I was putting into my mouth that I got control of my weight. Good luck!

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