Feast or famine
So why do we binge? I was thinking about this question this morning when I came out for my cup off coffee. I usually do the exact same thing every single morning. I wake up anticipating the pleasure of the coffee. I love the smell, I like the kick start, and I enjoy the taste. I love how it cleans me out ;)
However I noticed that I have a real process with it. I have my first cup of coffee and that is a definitive yum! I have my second cup of coffee and there’s still enjoyment but, it’s definitely less. By my third cup of coffee I spend a lot of time warming it up in the microwave because the truth is, I’m done my coffee, I just don’t know it yet. And then all of a sudden it’s like my taste buds change, it doesn’t taste the same. My tummy starts to say ‘yuk!’ so I grow bored with it and then continue on with my day.
So food has two components, number one; it is essential to survival. Number two; the pleasure of eating makes sure we keep eating. So this process is basic to the human survival need, when you are hungry, the thought of food is exciting and the experience of eating is exciting. Just like my first cup of coffee. When you are really looking forward to it, it’s immensely enjoyable, but when you are full, you’re hormones and neuro-chemicals kick in. So when we have an empty stomach we have a hunger hormone called ghrelin which tells our brain we’re hungry. As the amount of that hormone increases, then a neuro-chemical called dopamine is stimulated, which starts us thinking about food intake. That’s when our mouths begin to water and we start to anticipate how good it is that food is going to taste. Sugar is actually essential to our brains functioning and so that hormone is called insulin, which transports that sugar to our brain. When that is released it builds up that desire to eat. So then begins the imagination process linking the smell of food, the anticipated taste of food, and we form an image in our mind which we link with an emotion, and the production of insulin spikes! Stimulating us to quell that hunger and therefor making sure that we survive, says Dr. Laurie.
BUT whence we achieve the goal, and we are full, we no longer need anymore food at the moment, that sensation of pleasure starts to dip. Our sense of taste also diminishes too because additional hunger hormones are released called leptin. This process is supposed to regulate our metabolism and body weight; dampening the dopamine so that without that pleasurable reward telling us to just keep on shovelling the food in, interest is soon lost. This describes my morning coffee routine.
So lets talk about my experience last night at the anniversary dinner.
There is actually something that confuses that normal food intake experience I just described. When there are new food choices available, like when you go out to a restaurant or you’re offered something you don’t normally eat, the dopamine is released, which overpowers the leptin and the excitement and curiosity of all those anticipated pleasures overwhelm the natural resistance of the feeling of being full.
So you can probably see where I’m going with this.
Last night’s food diary page got a big red F on it. I started off the night with so many good intentions, I ordered the most delicious french onion soup with a piece of bread on top because I had convinced myself that I would eat around it. That was lie #1; I ate the bread. Then I ordered a cornish hen with risotto and I convinced myself I would simply taste the risotto and only have the hen. That was lie #2; I ate the entire damn thing. Then I was convinced that I would share a cheese plate. That was lie #3; I had a piece of cheesecake. And then we went home and feasted on the chocolates that my brother and I bought as an anniversary gift, until the entire two boxes were all gone!
Overall I am proud I had a fun time, even if I celebrated a bit longer and on a lot more, than I planned to. Today is a new day!
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.