Is this feeling really hunger? It may sound a bit odd, but many people genuinely cannot tell if they’re physically hungry or if what they’re experiencing is a misleading hunger signal. A what? Misleading… Hunger… Signal. Sometimes you think you’re hungry, and you may even experience physiological signs that feel like genuine physical hunger. Still, you ate an adequate meal a short time ago, and your body is not actually physically hungry.
It’s late on Thursday night. You’ve worked all day, the kids are in bed and now it’s time for you to study. The professor has assigned a lengthy reading assignment. You sit down and barely make it to the third page before you’re fidgeting, distracted, and … bored by the content. Mindlessly, you set the book down, and find yourself back at the table moments later with a bag of chips. That’s better!
Stress eating, or “emotional eating” seems to be as common a problem as mosquitos at a Fourth of July picnic! In fact, when I work with patients who are struggling with weight regain, the majority of them attribute the increase in pounds to “stress.” I remind each of them, in a playful, yet serious way, that eating, and not stress, results in weight gain.
We all experience food cravings—and it seems as though the times we are trying to eat healthy and lose weight, the cravings intensify. Can anyone relate? Cravings are a natural feeling that can tell you about about your psychology or physiology and it is okay to give into them every once in a while—notice I said once in a while, not every day. With that being said, remember to indulge in a craving in moderation.
Last month I talked about why we crave certain foods. Whether it be sugar, salt, carbs, or chocolate, there is often a reason we have an uncontrollable desire that leads to us yearning for that particular food group. This is often times a result of some chemical imbalance in our body, such as a magnesium deficiency. Therefore, if we were to satisfy this deficiency through healthy alternatives, such as almonds or spinach, then we should be able to stop craving the unhealthy magnesium-packed foods—right?
“Hi, I’m Connie and I truly am a grateful, recovering addict.” When I first attended 12-Step meetings and heard people saying they were “grateful recovering” addicts, I thought to myself, “Why in the world are they grateful for being an addict?” Twenty-nine years into my own recovery, I can tell you why people who are in a full program of recovery from addiction are grateful.
Food addiction is a very serious and real problem. Not simply because it leads to weight gain, but because in most cases it is a result of some psychological battle that the patient is dealing with. The problem is more than just the food. In a way, you could say that food is a symptom of the problem(s).
In the world of medical doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and other medical and mental health professionals, there’s a debate, of course, about the concept of “food addiction.” Without question, scientific research shows addictive behavior regarding sugar consumption in animals. But what about humans? Brain scans of humans specifically show similar patterns for people “under the influence” of sugar that are remarkably similar to brain scans of people when they are under the influence of well-known, highly addictive drugs such as cocaine.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have covered topics surrounding the idea of food freedom. We have looked at how to feel freedom from obsessing over what you eat and how much you are consuming using the idea of “meaningful matters” as well as using lists. Today, I want to touch on the ultimate way to be released from the control food has over you.
Food Freedom suggests being able to live your life without the burden of thinking about, obsessing over, and focusing on food all the time. One way to enjoy food freedom as a post-op patient is to use a food list. Keep in mind that weight loss surgery helps you lose weight in the initial months after your procedure. You may continue to lose weight for the first couple of years.
Think for a minute about your relationship with food. If food were a person, would you think of that relationship as being a healthy one? And what would other people who really knew how you and food behaved around one another think?
“Dieting” sounds so … restrictive. Most people, when they “go on a diet” describe feeling deprived.
You’ve probably been taught somewhere along the road that your thoughts lead to feelings and together, thoughts and feelings influence behavior. If a person is thinking about what foods they are banned from, and feel restricted and deprived, and perhaps angry, they sometimes “act out” or rebel by eating those forbidden delicacies.
Binge eating. Over eating, “What was I thinking?” eating. And, “I can’t believe I did that (again?)” eating. You’ll most likely deal with one or more of these eating experiences along your journey toward sustained good health.
For anyone who has tried to change their eating habits or even eat “in moderation” for that matter, knows that it can be hard to say no to that chocolate brownie that “has your name all over it”. What is even harder, is trying to stick to your healthy eating during the holidays. From Thanksgiving dinner to office parties to the endless amounts of Christmas cookies, it can seem like the eating is nonstop.
Have you ever felt “hungry” an hour after eating a full meal? Do you often times find yourself munching after dinner just because it “sounds good”? Well, you are not alone! Many of us confuse head hunger with physical hunger, which can lead to weight gain and other health related problems due to the type and amount of food being consumed. Once you are able to identify the difference between head hunger and physical hunger, your weight loss will be much easier to manage. Similarly once you are aware of your own environmental or emotional triggers, you can cope with your head hunger more effectively and successfully!