The definition of addiction; the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.
The definition of obsession: an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person's mind.
The definition of compulsion: an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, especially against one's conscious wishes.
The definition of habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
All of these responses to our experiences are set up as survival mechanism to help us survive the brutal conditions experienced by our primitive ancestors. All of these definitions are based in survival mechanisms. Overeating is based in the need to eat when food was plentiful, and this overeating helped to build up fat storage. This added fat storage could be used during periods of scarcity. Basically we are all chipmunks, we shove the food in, and then we find a place to store it, it is an obsession and a compulsion, as well as an addiction to habitually store food in case of brutal condition of emptiness and depravity. But, what happens when there are no longer brutal conditions? This repetitive behaviour becomes set in stone based on tradition.
I remember watching this documentary on cannon fire, where the soldiers would do a ceremonial procedure to fire off canons ceremonially. There was a process in which one soldier would walk up to the canon, stand at it’s side and then walk back. One of the present day military watching this experience had a question and somebody watching the experience asked “what is that one soldier doing? What is that one soldier doing hat walks up to the cannon stands there and then walks back?” The response was that, ‘back in the day when the cannon needed to be lit to ignite the process, that was the job of this one soldier.” However, now in the present day it is now an automated procedure and that one soldier is no longer needed. Yet, the job of the service men have not changed.
This is the same with our bodily systems. The brutal conditions have disappeared yet, the systemic processes are still with us. You might totally and completely feel full, yet because there is still food available, suddenly there is the need to eat. You have the feeling of being full but your stomach still suddenly has room when new food is presented. Just like this poor soldier who is now a victim of tradition, he is triggered into action and yet really has nothing to do; no purpose in the process.
Traditionally, this soldier did have a purpose to fill a particular roll, but because times have moved on, there is no longer a roll to fill.
Food tradition is very much the same. Traditionally when we are presented with an image of food; the image spurs a hunger that manifests with all the physical signals that you get when you are actually really hungry, but the truth is, this is a primitive response based on previous brutal conditions of poverty and lack.
Now that you have moved on from your life being about poverty and lack then what do you do?
We then create labels. Such as, food as addiction, food as obsession, food as compulsion, and food as a habit.
We organize this behaviour based upon a physical response due to our changing environment which is driven by our need to eat, based on a hunger system that compels us to consume food when it is available, even when we are not physically hungry.
Recognizing that we are driven by our primitive brain means that we can now recognize that we do have a choice.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.