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Overeating and Food Rewards

  
So a good week all told. The first seriously warm day of the year on Thursday, and the days are suddenly feeling so much lighter.

And yesterday as Friday Night Dinner approached, I decided on a whim to bake some experimental challah bread using kamut flour. It wasn’t a huge success, though it was enticing enough to lead to a bit of a grain fest before the meal which followed. And despite having not much appetite by then, I was determined to stick to my Plan and have four chocolates as dessert. Shabbat treat.

Eating chocolate number one, I was shocked at how sickly and sweet it tasted. At that point, despite the Plan, I might have reconsidered finishing the other three, but addictive desire was in full play by now. I’d planned it, so I was having them. And so two, three and four duly disappeared, but then I stopped. I found a space somewhere to remember I was free to continue to eat the rest of the bag if I wished etc etc, so all was well and good. I’d had my treat, and had not gone into binge mode. 

The more interesting question then was: what would happen the rest of the evening? And over the next 24 hours? 

I was feeling very full, and even by the time I went to bed, felt unpleasantly full. The combination of Kamut grain bread and chocolate, even of high quality, just didn’t feel as though it had given me much of value. The next morning I had absolutely no desire to eat at all. I’ve been moving towards a later and later first meal time most days, so decided to just leave it until I actually felt hunger, or until 1, whichever was the earlier.

At 1pm, I finally ate. A highly nutritious meal of kombu salad, quail, sauerkraut and salads. Absolutely no desire to eat again then until I finally had to remember to eat at 7.30; much later than normal.

It all seemed very odd. I had had my first little go at overeating for weeks, then instead of fighting addictive desire for the next 24 hours, I’d had zero interest in food. What was going on? Quite coincidentally, I’m reading The Perfect Health Diet at the moment, and found this passage:

If [evolution has generated a mechanism for sensing the nutritional status of the body], the fact that tasty foods are available need not by itself lead to chronic overeating. Hyperpalatable but nourishing foods might cause temporary overeating, but would be followed by subsequent undereating. Chronic overeating occurs only if the tasty foods are malnourishing and fail to satisfy bodily needs. Unfortunately, too many modern industrial foods are severely lacking in many of the nutrients contained in real food plants and animals.

Wow. Is it possible that the unbelievably high quality diet I’ve been living on for the last five weeks has ensured that my nutritional needs have been so well met that I simply lost the desire to continue overeating?

I’m not going to get complacent, but I’m highly encouraged by this experience. I actually don’t want to eat nutritionally empty foods or anti-nutrients, but once in a while, it’s nice to think I can choose to meet addictive desire, accepting the consequences, as long as 95% of the time I eat what I genuinely need for optimal health.

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