April 22, 2013

About hunger

I'm experimenting with One Meal a Day. I've been doing it for about a month now. It's surprisingly easy. That is because I've been low carbing for a long enough time to tune up my fat burning machinery.

Getting our body to burn fat is easier.
Our bodies have two pathways to getting energy from what we eat.

There's the one which burns Sugar.

There's the one which burns Fat.

Protein is not really a variable in this process. It is one of those nutrients that is highly versatile. Some of it gets used up as muscle, and organ, rebuilding. Some of it gets turns into glucose, as needed, a process known as glycogenesis.

Studies have shown that people tend to eat the protein they need. So I don't consider it a working variable.

That leaves fat and carbohydrate as the two levers to push and pull. And, let me tell you, they are powerful levers to push and pull.

  • Fat vs. carbohydrate is what determines our weight
  • Fat vs. carbohydrate is what determines our health
  • Fat vs. carbohydrate is what determines our metabolism path

When we burn FAT, we are in a situation where carbs are scarce. We do not put fat on our bodies. We burn fat, instead. Because it is an abundant fuel, and because it is our bodies' favorite fuel. Ketones are preferred by the brain, and the heart.

When I skip breakfast, it's because I'm not hungry. When I skip lunch, it's because I am signaling my body to run off my fat.

When I don't skip dinner... it's because I'm hungry enough to eat a big meal. A meal that is about addressing my needs, not responding to the urges of my carb addiction.

I have discovered that I don't have to panic when I feel hungry. I can have a spoonful of coconut oil and see if that satisfied my body. If it does... I wasn't really hungry.

April 15, 2013

The Want/Get Cycle

Disordered eating is so difficult to solve because it actually has two engines. One is the chemical influence on our brain. The other is how it fits into the Want/Get Cycle.

We want, we get, we live
Most of our brain is geared to make us want life-enhancing things like air and water and food and sex and accomplishments and love... and so we figure out how to get these things.

It keeps us alive.

So when this survival drive gets crossed with a craving for processed junk food, it can become incredibly powerful. When we are down or bored or hungry, what a handy packaged cheap solution it is!

Because one of the strengths of our brains is their marvelous flexibility. It lets us adapt to many different circumstances, and create a way around obstacles which thwart us.

But it can become a serious weakness, too. If our brains are clamoring for us to contemplate our bad marriage or difficult employment or ill health, we can temporarily "turn off" the clamor by doing something.

Anything. Really, anything at all. We need to recognize that in some ways, it doesn't matter what the thing is. It's the wanting and the getting that becomes important.

That is why it is so incredibly common for people to turn into a restaurant drive-through and sit there thinking: I can't do anything about my job right now, I've got bills to pay! I can't do anything with my relationship right now, they won't even talk about it! I'm not going to think about that blood sugar warning from my doctor right now, not with all this stuff going on!

Waiting for the food increases the wanting for the food, whether it is picked up from a store or served to us on a platter. It builds up in our minds as The Goal. And when we finish eating, it's Mission Accomplished!

Of course, the other problems are still there, afterward. We might even be contributing to some of them, from health concerns to getting our energy back to feeling lousy about our mood and appearance.

Want something. Get something.

The best way to avoid disordered eating is to not use eating as a substitute for something else. Want something else, and get something else.

That's using our brains!