The eating change didn't bother me in the least, which is refreshing. Typically on my first day of a diet I struggle with wanting to eat all kinds of stuff. The only tough part was when I made a quick stop at Walmart this morning (I know, ugh, but it was the only place open). I needed backup sweatshirts for my kids for when they leave them at school, and there is always something about going there that makes me want to buy bags of candy/junk food and binge on it. Perhaps its the smell of Subway wafting through the store, or the fact that dozens of times, when my kids were small, we did just that, bought candy and ate it like crazy. I didn't buy or eat any, and didn't even crave it so it was easy to turn down, but it did remind me of a book I've been reading:
I found this book by accident, it was referred to in another book I am currently reading. This book is about the biological circuitry that is responsible for us wanting food that is not healthy. Sugar, fat and salt activate the pleasure centers in the brain, in the case of sugar, it activates the brain so much that it almost rivals the brain's response to cocaine. When these centers are activated, the stimulus (the food that created the response) becomes conditioned and we seek out that pleasure again. Over time, we need more and more of it to reach the same pleasure activity. Things in our environment can be strong cues or triggers to what we anticipate happening- getting that same high of an item of food as we got before. For example, if I have a delicious, indulgent lunch with a great friend, in the cozy coffee shop down on the corner, all of the sensory input (the coffee shop, the smell of coffee, that particular friend, even that part of town) can become a "cue" (I prefer the term trigger because it makes me want unhealthy food without me thinking about it). We get programmed to food stimulus when it is pleasurable because we are hard-wired for pleasure-seeking activities. The author goes into great detail about how and why, and how the restaurant/food industry knows these things and puts a lot of research and development into their products in order to keep us "hooked", craving not just the food but the atmosphere and the feeling. He mentions Chili's and TGIF, how they have created the right mix of elements that keep us wanting more. In the end of the book, of course there is a section on how to get over the whole biological issues, it isn't really what I was looking for in the book, but I think the message that I keep reaching over and over is that awareness is the path to having a more normal relationship with food. Knowing what my triggers are (and I have noticed quite a slew of them lately) is the first step to assessing them logically instead of going on autopilot and caving everytime I feel like I need something "special".
I must admit, there was a part of me that was embarassed to let my family know that I am watching what I eat again, but then I thought, I am the equivalent to throwing a noodle against the wall until it sticks. I don't give up because I know one of these times, and with enough knowledge under my belt, I am going to realize that I don't need junk food to make a moment sweeter or make me feel more special. It simply doesn't do that, it is the value I am giving to this inanimate object. Day two today has me in a good mindset. I have already faced 3 major triggers for me, was able to recognize them and realize why they trigger me and let it go. That is a big deal for me! I can use reasoning to stop willy-nilly food desires in their tracks. The book above helped tremendously to understand the biological wiring of food-focus/seeking, and many of the other books I've read have helped understand the emotional connection and missing coping skills. I feel like I have a pretty strong foundation to help me this time, but the key to each and every one of those methods is awareness. Allowing myself to live on automatic mode means I am too lazy or indifferent to make positive changes. I know that's not me. I am that noodle that is determined to stick someday, and now, I think I'm "cooked" just enough now to make that happen!