Talking with a friend this morning who is doing a 30 day eating challenge, following a primal (similar to paleolithic) food plan who has noticed something curious that she wanted to explore.
First some background: she is following the program closely, and is feeling great. She admits that one of the reasons she’s feeling great is that she’s eating regularly – as a single person there are times she just can’t be bothered to cook for herself so she eats whatever’s in the fridge or grabs something easy from the local supermarket.
Following this food program, she’s eating very regularly – “all the time”, she says.
And she’s tracking all that eating closely using an online tool. She enters all her food into the website and the site then calculates how much fat, carb, protein and overall calories she’s eaten.
So she’s feeling very ‘in control’, noticing she’s sleeping a lot as you’d expect with her body learning to use food a little differently, and her energy levels are steady though not yet up to where she wants them to be.
The curious thing was that last night, around 10pm, she finished entering the day’s food details into the website, and she had apparently not eaten enough fat or protein, and had some calories ‘left over’ from her 1700 calorie daily allowance.
So she went scrounging in the kitchen and came up with a handful of macadamia nuts, which she promptly scarfed down. And then she felt uncomfortably full – and realised she hadn’t been hungry, but had simply eaten because she had ‘leftover calories’.
Why did she do that, she wondered? Why did she trust that the website knew more about her body than her own body did?
Are We Conditioned To Not Listen To Our Bodies?
When we’ve been in the habit of dieting for so many years, losing touch with our bodies’ wisdom in exactly this way is just one of the unexpected side-effects. We learn to trust ‘the book’ more than we trust our bodies, because we all know that if we trust our bodies and stop rigidly monitoring everything we put into our mouths, our bodies will get out of control and then ……….
And it’s the ‘then’ that has us reaching for our wallets to buy the newest bestest solution: then we’ll be fat, then we’ll be unattractive, then we’ll be a failure, then we’ll be unworthy and unacceptable and then our lives will be over!
But what if our bodies really did know how to regulate appetite without us needing to think about it obessively?
It seems to me we’ve survived very successfully for hundreds of thousands of years without the weight loss industry, but since we’ve had a weight loss industry, we’re all fatter than ever!
A real paradox isn’t it? What do you think, I’d like to know – just comment below…