The science of hunger and the stupid act of dieting

I’ve been reading Intuitive Eating now and have new insights to share, yesterday was though, one of these days you go to different supermarkets to buy crap because you don’t want the employees to judge you. I hate that I forgot why I stopped dieting in the first place, I had my weight back on track and was not overeating anymore, but this time I feel even more secure about recovery and I will be glad to share my story with you.

So let’s do this, I want to see if I get it right: every type of food converses itself into ATP, it doesn’t matter if it is protein or carbohydrate. ATP, as you know, is energy. The primary source of this energy are carbohydrates, which are storaged in the liver as glucose, this source lasts for about 3-6 hours, as this source gets used, the neuropeptide Y is produced for you to feel hunger and restore carbohydrate needs. This all happens in the hunger center of your brain: the hypothalamus. When you restrict your diet of the fuel it seeks, this neuropeptide increases more and more untill you have so much you’ll eat a lot more once you let it flow. It’s not the fault of will-power, it is your brain working! In fact, you probrably have too much will-power since you have resisted this neuropeptide action long enough so you have too much of them and need to overeat!

This is true to the reason you binge by restrictions in your diet, remember that if you eat normally when not bingeing this won’t explain it. What will explain is the habit your brain has, and you must not blame your body or anything for the binge, and this is good because you know there is no excuse and you can just observe your thoughts and the binge will go away. So you don’t want to confuse these both kind of binges, yesterday I got confused because I was eating regularly and wanted to binge. I made the wrong approach: I told myself it was a biologically driven urge, and that was an excuse so I couldn’t control so I didn’t even try! If I were on diet I think I could have made this excuse as not to feel guilty, because it would be true: it would be my body answering to the stupid act of dieting. So it was an apprenticeship, it is always good to think about your binge and search for the learning whitin them. From this last one I looked back and learned in praxis this distinction between bio reactive binge and habit binge.

I’m also a little anxious about my recovery, I want that liberty again. But I was relieved to find out some data: Peter Herman and Janet Polivy, psychologists experts in hunger, explain that once you diet you get hunger atrophy, that means you get detached from hunger and can only feel it in extrems as when you did when dieting, that is the reason why it is so hard for me to eat only when I’m hungry, I don’t know when I’m hungry, luckily this effect is conversible so it is all about finding your hunger! (And that comes with time and normal eating) In fact, another study with deprivation of food, discovered that those individuals who began to overeat after the restrictive diet took an average of 5 months to recover their normal eating.

A little image of a recipe I made last week ūüôā

Source: Intuitive Eating (must read!)

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“When I was a child it was like I was in drugs all the time”

That was what I heard from a friend of mine last week and for some reason it keeps coming back at me. Yesterday I dreamed that was taking MDMA, the one that goes on ecstasy but purer, it had something to do with getting that good feeling once again. In psychology, mostly psychoanalysis, it is accepted that we humans will forever crave for happiness or whatever you may call the comfort feeling you had when younger, and that this feeling will never be obtained, the circle of perpetual desire. But one thing I am sure: I got this feeling from MDMA once, it wasn’t a crazy extreme feeling of excitement, I just felt really at peace for more than one minute, actually it lasted several hours, I even said to my friend “I’m feeling good the way I haven’t been for too long”. So taking this drug made me remember how I used to feel and how I should feel, but that was no excuse for taking it all the time, not even close, I was determined to pursuit that as a normal state, I thought it was only fair to live at peace. As you can see, I refuse to accept the current belief that happiness would be forever outside reach, it was like that before I first tried MDMA and it just got stronger after. I have only used that drug 3 times and don’t have any cravings for more, so I’m not creating excuses to use it more times since what I aim for is to feel the way the drug reminded me I can feel but without it.¬† Maybe this is what people mean by all the different worlds drugs make it possible for us to see, it takes us away from the automatic states and routines we don’t even realize to put ourselves into, makes us see different.¬†¬†

Now I don’t really know where to find it, deep inside there is this belief, this core certainty that I will be happy one day. Maybe this assurance comes from me knowing I don’t really ask for much, I don’t want a constant feeling of joy and pleasure, that vicious excitement of drugs, I just want peace. We may be broken by our youths, traumatic frustrations gave way to our restless souls but we still exist, and forever in this existence, we hold a self that is capable of anything that sees as an impossibility, because it is there somewhere to be seen, we just have to find the place.¬†

Craving happiness

The reason I’m thinking about making good stuff for others is that I saw a Ted Talk about giving “How to be happy every day“, It talks about how your ocitocina levels rise when you give, the feeling good and anti-age hormone. It advices to take a 365 days streak into doing nice stuff, with the combination of me watching Julie & Julia, where Amy Adams needs to fulfill a 365 streak of cooking Julia Childs ¬†recipes, I got inspired. But my own sense of self is not coherent and does not apply to this world’s sense of human being, I cannot choose one single thing to do for 365 days if everyday I’m ¬†a different modality of me. However, I found a solution that will set at peace both the necessity of completing the same task for a year and my alien inability to be the same human for that long: writing. Consistency trough inconsistency. Okay so I just needed to point that out, let’s just jump to the writing because I don’t know how to make a reasonable connection between everything that goes on in my mind.¬†

How the world sees Binge Eating

Yesterday I was binge eating, I thought it would stop but it kept going on. One thing about it is that there is no acceptance as alcoholic abuse for exemple, or bulimia, as a mental health issue, people just judge you for eating too much (although when you say that you overeat too much they tell you its normal and they make that themselves sometimes). In Institutional Analysis (a kind of approach we use in psychology) that is called mysticism, when there is no logic in the discourse (only apparent) and it is formulated as to imprison the individual thought, it serves as an illusion so you feel bad ¬†because you believe it yourself. This mysticism may appear in different ways, it can be a simple thought of how things work, like “if you’re beautiful, you will be rich at some point, if you’re ugly, you won’t or it is going to be too hard”, but, not only this is not true (with some exceptions which are not the rule), it may actually serve as an obstacle from you getting what you want. So you ¬†may think “okay, I’m not good for this, I’m not even going to try”, and you don’t try it, and you don’t get it. This is the mechanic of the system, it is all about controlling what you think and feel. We are all surrounded by these mechanisms of fear, fear of trying, fear of living. If we don’t fear, we hope. It is a choice between optimism and pessimism, but what about realism? What is reality anyway? The most blind are those who say themselves to be realistic, they are the most imprisoned ones, they are blind to everything else that can be. At the end, you create your own reality, it is a matter of perspective and science can prove it: a study by Shelley Taylor in 2000¬†suggest that patients “who remain optimistic show symptoms later and survive longer than patients who confront reality more objectively”.

The ultimate goal is happiness. 

Now you’ve realized that my focus is happiness, this is my ultimate end, for those that are not that into psychology, Positive Psychology is the area in the field that focus on the good traits of ¬†personality and enhancing them, in opposite to the pathology approach that is mostly used nowadays and focuses on the pathology (treating diseases or the things that are going wrong). I don’t restrain my thoughts to one field and I will talk in different perspectives, but as the theme today seems to be around being happy it is nice to bring Positive Psychology in mind. In the same article that I found out about Taylors study, Seligman differentiates positive subjective experiences in a way that I believe to be interesting to self-knowledge:

  1. In the past: well-being, contentment, and satisfaction 
  2. In the present: flow and happiness
  3. For the future: hope and optimism 

What helps me with Binge Eating

These are the things that are believed to make you feel better and one that helps me a lot is flow, flow is when you get absorbed into something, like when I read and want to eat the whole book, you forget about everything else.It has been my special treatment for binge eating. It is not every book that makes me feel this wholeness, like I don’t need to put anything else inside as food to fill the hole, so I strive sometimes. You will need to find the balance between something that you must do, like finding an activity you like and that gives you flow, and something that you must avoid, like the so called triggers. I was at home these few days that I decided to begin this blog, literally desperate to get away from binging, I tried reading and writing, but it was not about doing something, it was about avoiding, which was me being home all day, so I got out and had this amazing day. I used to punish me, long ago when it all begin, but today, after binge, I just treat myself as in recovery. I’m already in pain for eating too much, right? Instead of punish myself for no exercising the next day, I realized that I should congratulate myself for eating healthy, I could still be binging, right? But I got over it and that is just amazing, a victory really. This positive thinking may even help you to build the strength to exercise, but don’t focus on that, let it happen. ¬†John Stuart Mill said that tranquility is the most required characteristics for a happy soul and being okay with yourself helps with that. Your ultimate goal should be happiness and not trying to lose weight. Don’t push yourself too much. Today I was in peace with myself, today was such a victory, I felt so good.

But anyway, I wandered a lot, I just wanted to post that today I could appreciate a nice little macaroon with my mother and felt no guilty at all (and no craving to eat more!). 

Macarons at Le Petit in Brazil