Hunger vs Eating

In this process of fasting, intermittent, longer term or whatever, I’ve been surprised I’ve broken many fasts because I miss eating. I’m not sure if it’s chewing (gum doesn’t fix it), or something else that happens while chewing, or what. But I miss eating. Maybe it’s the textures? Maybe it’s the breaking down of food. Maybe it’s the flavor.

I have no idea.

But it’s always a source of question where I often say, “This fasting would probably be more successful if I went to therapy at the same time.” But I haven’t found a therapist I like. So maybe I can shrink my own brain?

What do I like about the ritual of eating

I like the anticipation leading up to it. Whether it’s thinking about what I might eat, or even the short moment between the plate and my mouth. 

I like the flavors and the textures of food. Chewing it, but also that first bite into a variety of textures/flavors/temps (creamy with crunch, hot with cool, creamy with acid, etc.). 

It’s often an excuse for a break. Especially at work I want that break. The time leading up to lunch, if I’m bored or stressed or annoyed, the light at the end of the tunnel is lunch. The escape from those doldrums or a chance to vent annoyances. It doesn’t fix the problem, but it’s a reprieve. 

Pushing down emotions with food, I started doing this in college. I learned food could distract me from the pain of a breakup. I also remember a friend teaching me about eating terribly during finals after I’d already been through two finals terms without (and all of school before – I used to clean to procrastinate, after that, now I eat). Sadly, she’s now thin, and I’m overweight. Not sad for her. Just sadly for me, she taught me that. I also remember people teaching me to eat and drink away my sadness from the breakup when I wanted to just be sad. Again, not their fault. But all observations. These things didn’t come naturally to me, but if I fast and don’t find other ways to simply BE, I’ll never be able to undo what I’ve done to myself emotionally. 

What do I get out of eating?

First, my mom showed love with food. I do the same. So food is a way for me to self-love.

Second, I know carb-heavy foods create serotonin. If you’re depressed, you often crave sweets to try to get a dose of serotonin. So I know I like food with helping make me happy. And they do. Even if it’s just in the moment and shortly after.

I don’t over-eat very often. Two circumstances when I do. First, when there are too many options. Pot lucks, for example. Buffets. If I have less choices, I tend to eat less. Second, sometimes I really am upset – angry, sad, disappointed, annoyed. And eating creates a new feeling, pain, to take the other emotion away. I don’t over-eat regularly. Those would have to be more intense emotions, and probably less than 5% of the time.

Why do I like fasting?

I like the science I’ve seen around it. One of the few explanations of what’s happening to me, and a clear, concrete, proven way to unwind from it when nithing else has worked. I like how I feel when I fast. I like the time it frees up. I always end a fast because I want to eat (not even from hunger), or because of a social event centerd around food. But otherwise, I feel light, I feel in control, I have time to do housework instead of cooking and cleaning up. I don’t worry about organizing lunches or dinners. 

What do I struggle with when fasting?

As mentioned, I simply missing eating. Filling time when I am stressed, bored, annoyed, angry, etc. pacing my days. Do I skip lunch? Take the break? I do miss working out, but I try to take walks or do other less strenuous workouts until I adapt.

Why do I struggle so much to simply not eat?

I feel like it’s like biting your nails, or pulling out your phone. Habit. 

But there’s also a lot of social pressure to eat lunch. Breakfast and dinners are easy to skip. Lunch at work, I feel like people are aware I’m not eating, although, most people probably don’t notice me. 

What will I do instead of eating at work?

  • Watch Netflix. It’s what I do on my lunch anyway.
  • Go home. Home is close enough, I can make a cup of broth, watch tv, do some housework, even get in a short workout if I don’t need to have broth or anything, and have the energy.
  • Walk outside at work. Pack some tennis shoes, and walk when it’s cool out. 
  • Write.

All of these are things I enjoy. I could also run errands if I’m not stressed. It’s nice to get tasks out of the way during the day. 

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jen
    Sep 16, 2016 @ 12:31:38

    Just came across this article: http://www.cosmicscientist.com/ted-talk-neuroscientist-shows-what-fasting-does-to-your-brain/ Interesting!

    I’m a big proponent to Intermittent Fasting. I find it rather easy as I can’t do whole day fasts. I pretty much do this everyday without even thinking about it now. My first meal of the day in anywhere between 12:30pm-1:30pm and then my last meal is around 5:30-6:30pm. I typically just eat two meals and once and a while a snack around 3ish. I just feel better eating this way. I’m sure you’ve read Leangains but if not, check it out. Pretty good info. http://www.leangains.com/2010/04/leangains-guide.html

    I’m running 1-1.5 hours at least 3 times a week, and I’ve found I much hungrier. But doing IF I feel like I can have 2 really big meals and I actually feel full vs hungry all the time with any other diet I’ve tried.

    Good Luck!

    Reply

    • stumbletowardhealth
      Sep 16, 2016 @ 12:51:42

      I did do leangains… Oh maybe four years ago. And I have been doing intermittent fasting between the longer fasts. Anywhere from 18:6/16:8 to 23:1 or 36 hour fasts. I’ve found I also most easily skip breakfast for the longer term and it doesn’t impact energy or working out at all. Although, I don’t do that much cardio!

      I would have definitely stuck to that if it had worked for me. I never lost weight that way. I think because if insulin resistance or something else that fasting totally overcomes. I do weight pretty fast in longer term fasts and as long as I’m not a total idiot post-fast, I keep the fast loss off. Of course water weight comes back.)

      I’ll check out that brain article!

      Reply

    • stumbletowardhealth
      Sep 16, 2016 @ 12:54:39

      Oh! The text around this talk reminds me. I also did dine 5:2 fasting. And ultimately ended up in total fasts for 24 or 36 hours to get the benefit of autophagy. I’m convinced that’s the trick with me. Well that and insulin resistance.

      Reply

    • stumbletowardhealth
      Sep 16, 2016 @ 13:20:56

      I’m watching that video now. I’ve seen this one before. I also like this one for explanation of benefits of longer fasts, although he does also talk about intermittent and shorter fasts.

      He’s also pro low carb, high fat. Which I try to eat, although, not 100% consistently. :)

      Reply

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