Automaticity

I have been on a NO SUGAR NO FLOUR diet for the past two and one-half weeks. That means no processed foods. If it doesn’t look like the original food, I am not eating it.

I have passed the fatigue period many experience when coming off the dopamine stimulating effects of processed sugar and flour.

I did not experience strong cravings like others talk about because my diet was pretty clean to begin with. My addictive foods were savory in nature, potato chips, fried foods, and bread products slathered in oils.

I have experienced a release from thinking about getting these processed foods in my diet. I don’t plan and think about when and where I can get my favorite potato chips. Just thinking about potato chips started an endless thought loop about them that built a craving and led me to go get some. I didn’t realize how much time I spend thinking about these foods. Not thinking about potato chips and processed foods has FREED UP space in my mind to think on others things!

I let thoughts of these foods run amok and have free reign in my head, letting them rule my actions.

That activity is done with as I have decided these foods are addictive for me. ANY amount of these foods will light up the dopamine addicted neurotransmitters in my brain and I will binge.

So the answer for me, like any alcoholic or drug addicted person is – NO MORE, EVER, NONE, NADA!

I calm my frantic brain right now by reminding it that I gave it this crappy food to eat for 50+ years and that has been long enough!

My next step in the week ahead is to build automaticity into my meal planning and preparation.  Early on this looks like listing the proteins, whole grains, legumes, fats, vegetables and fruits I enjoy and bundling them into meals. This will guide my shopping and advance meal preparation. It will also greatly reduce the amount of time I think about food.

I want to be free from food thoughts as they have ruled my mind for so many years. I am excited to see how I can use my mind once there is so much more thinking time for other endeavors.

Overthinking

I have been quiet for two weeks because I needed to evaluate a problem.

A mind clutter problem I needed to clean up.

This past Friday I was breaking the circulator in the Lithotripsy room when the doctor came storming into the room verbalizing her upset over a conversation she had with the next patient on the schedule. “I told her over and over what needed to be done and she just couldn’t understand my explanation, I don’t know what else I can tell her! I just don’t understand her!”

I listened while the doctor paced and ranted and when she turned to me with the last rant I stated: Perhaps she just wanted a different answer?

The doctor stopped in her tracks and said, with much emotion, “Oh my God, that is exactly what she wanted!”

I have been searching this past year through all the neurobiological and psychological ways I could find to solve my overeating. I finally understood this search did two things for me. First it expanded my knowledge of how my brain works. Second it fed my addiction to knowledge and my need to find a different answer.

I love going down rabbit holes to get at a deeper understanding. This helps me comprehend the depth of something and I thought it would help me understand the importance of something to my situation. However, that has not necessarily been the case.

For example, does the knowledge that fast-spiking interneurons exist really help me structure a habit change?

For some people yes, for me not so much.

What can I do to get my fast-spiking interneurons leaky to a better habit? The answer for me is better self-talk.

Five years ago I read Dr. Shad Helmstetter’s book What to Say When You Talk to Yourself?  and wonder why I just didn’t do all his recommendations back then?

My understanding five years later is that my primitive brain rules and most of what I think and do goes undetected by my higher level thinking brain.

I can choose to accept this as SOMETHING I CANNOT CHANGE, or I can continue searching down the proverbial rabbit hole hoping for a different answer.

Like the lithotripsy patient who had to accept she had a stone that needed treatment on her left side despite her thinking she needed it on the right side, I need to just go forward with the brain I have and follow the advice of smarter people that me.

This past week, after a serendipitous set of circumstances, I stopped eating all sugar and flour, cut back coffee from four cups a day to one, and started back on three meal a day.

One week later I have lost SIX pounds. Never in my life have I lost that much in one week, at least as much as my faulty memory remembers:)

Next week I will see, I am not wondering about it or worried. I am taking one day at a time, keeping to my plan as outlined above and will do the work.