Why do we want to eat past the point of being satisfied or full? Sometimes we eat just for the absolute pleasure of having a desirable taste on the tongue. Food tastes so good we want to prolong the sensation. As blood glucose begins to rise, the taste buds lose the ability to perceive the intense flavors of the first bites of food. The nerve endings are more sensitive when blood glucose is low. When the physical hunger sensations are the strongest just about anything tastes good.
Mind Hunger does not allow us to feel satisfied
There is a proverb in the Bible that says, “To a hungry man, any bitter thing is sweet.” If we are not hungry, the only things that we can really taste are the intensely sweet and salty foods. That is why snack foods tend to be loaded with sugar and salt. When we try to eat out of Mind-Hunger™, an apple will not satisfy. We are looking for something to titillate our taste buds. We end up eating the apple and the chocolate then we finish the leftover pizza in the fridge because we feel so guilty for eating the chocolate. One pie ce of chocolate to start with would have been preferable.
Eating to escape feelings is a sign of Mind-Hunger™
Other times we eat to escape feelings created by making negative predictions about the future, in other words, worrying. When our minds create a scene about some undesirable thing that might happen in the future or some terrible thing that actually happened in the past our bodies respond physically as if the mental image is actually happening. When we can learn to deal with the stress in our life by staying in the moment with our feelings, we can learn to cope without using food to escape. Stress is not a bad thing. How we choose to deal with stress is what tends to get us in trouble. Those who choose to eat to cope with stress learn that food does provide a temporary relief. They’re letting their Mind-Hunger™ take over.
Wait! There’s another way.
At some point a fundamental feeling develops that relief for all the feelings inside is desirable. Every time we feel anything, we associate the feeling with a desire to eat. Weight gain is inevitable when food is used this way to manage feelings. We can learn to contain feelings making room for them and really experiencing life with all of our emotions and feelings. We learn to do this by becoming aware of the choices we have regarding food. Think of choices like a fork in the road. The way you have always done something, the old familiar way, is one fork. The new way is the other fork. Standing at the fork trying to decide which way to go can be uncomfortable.
Yes, we know Mind-Hunger™ feels good sometimes.
You already know the old way takes you where you do not want to go, but it is familiar and you already know very easy. The new way might take you to a better place. You just do not know how hard the journey will be or if it will be any better at all. We call standing at the fork the edge of the unknown. We do not want to make negative predictions about how hard the new path might be but we can be curious about the journey. It takes courage to embark upon the unknown path. To put this in terms of changing eating behavior, the old path leads to overeating (or under eating) and feels familiar. You don’t like the weight gain or the indigestion associated with overeating, but the behavior feels safe. Mind-Hunger™ feels good sometimes.
Change can feel good (and look good) too.
Sure, taking the familiar way is certainly easier and requires little thought. Standing at the fork in the road would be like saying, “I’m feeling full now, but this food really tastes good. I wonder if I could stop eating?” The new path, doing something different, might be stopping or setting some limitations about how much more food you could have. Even if you eat past full you find yourself at a new fork. The old way would be negative self-talk about your lack of control. The new way would be staying curious about why you ate beyond full. Maybe it was the easiest thing at the moment or because it tasted so good.
Be a casual observer when it comes to eating. Be curious.
Maybe it was because you didn’t have the energy to think about doing something different. The thought process creates an awareness that passes without judgment. If you don’t know what is happening you cannot change it. If know what is happening and you can look at it like a casual observer without passing judgment, you can begin to develop the ability to make a decision about the behavior.
Yes, eating is a choice.
Eating is always a choice. The best choice depends on the situation at this moment in time. Choices allow change without judging food, body, or self worth. Judgment does not lead to change. Awareness does. Awareness is what allows us to observe without pushing. It is attention that we give to ourselves to figure out our next step. Awareness gives us the energy to move on and do more without the need to cope through compulsive behavior.
For more information on Mind-Hunger™, please visit our web page about our Overcoming Mind Hunger program.