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The Real Reason For Your “Extra” Desire For Food
You think you are born with a sweet tooth? Where does your love for food even come from?
Today we are talking about your “extra” desire for food. I think it’s quite revolutionary for you to understand the real reason as to where your desire for food stems from, what happens in your brain when you pursue that desire, how our society is completely ignorant when it comes to our desire for food & how the brain is not set up for surviving the modern day excessive & artificially created desire for food.
Hi there. How are you doing? Welcome to Episode 8. I hope you are living a full life with all its splendid colours. I just came back from a fabulous, relaxing vacation in Landour, Mussoorie with my husband, Gaurav & kiddos & we were accompanied by another couple with their kid who are our cousins & if I say we had a great time, that is an understatement!
So, this week, we are talking about Extra Desire for food.
Now this one concept that I consider life changing.
This information and this inquiry opened up so many areas of my life that were unconscious. And so, I think its quite important for you to understand as to where your desire for food comes from, what happens in your brain when you pursue that desire, how our society is completely ignorant when it comes to our desire for food & how the brain is not set up for surviving the modern day excessive & artificially created desire for food.
But before we get into all the good stuff, as always, I have a question for you…
How would you rate your desire for food?
Is it more? Excessive? Intense?
Or is it “normal”?
And when I say normal, it’s in air quotes…because my understanding of normal is that, there is no such thing as normal…and we will certainly talk about that also, someday…but for the purpose of having this conversation, I’m highly using the word “normal”.
So, is your desire for food normal or is it more?
As a side note, people who don’t struggle with their weight & food don’t actually think about food that much other than when they are hungry & food is not the sole focus or even the major focus of their lives…like, in short, they enjoy food but they don’t live to eat…
But if you think about food a lot, if you are fantasising in your head & really looking forward to what you will eat at dinner time…
Maybe you think that you don’t think much about food but you eat a lot of sugar, fat & salt combos aka refined, processed foods, if you experience a lot of cravings for specific foods like desserts or chocolate, if the highlight of your vacations or weekends is food or if you have been struggling with extra weight chronically for many years, then lemme tell you that you my dear experience more desire for food…more than normal.
And and, here’s the most important piece to this, it’s not your fault..at all.
And you will understand this well, in a moment as we dig in to this topic further.
Listen, as a society we overeat.
Food has become the most important focus of our lives. Have you seen the amount of dishes, the cuisines in our weddings…it’s insane. If we go to some one’s home & say no to what they offer us to eat, it’s really not taken well. We are asked what’s wrong, why aren’t we eating the cupcake?
It’s considered rude not to eat. We blackmail people in the name of love…Honey, I made this for you. Eat this if you love me !
And then who knew some 50 years back that we will have multiple channels only devoted to food.
Every second commercial is of food. We have fast food joints at every corner now. And the corona has even made the kids & the elderly pretty efficient at ordering food from swiggy or zomato.
We worry too much if the kids don’t eat snacks or if they miss a meal.
One thing is absolutely clear…
We as a culture are now eating all the time. Eating has become our favourite past time.
We encourage overeating as a collective society amongst each other & to our kids.
Food is no longer used for what it is aka nourishment.
It is used for amusement, entertainment, happiness and to provide emotional comfort or relief from emotional pain.
And all this comes down our basic misunderstanding of our desire.
Desire for food.
So where do you think your desire for food comes from?
We think that the desire is something innate…something that we are born with…
We assume that either we have a desire for a particular food or not.
Either you love chocolate or you don’t…
Either you love pasta or you don’t…
Either you have a sweet tooth or a savoury one…
It is just like either you love your partner or you don’t…
Or say, you loved your partner & now you have fallen out of that love…
What if all this is not true?
Listen, here’s the thing
Your desire for food is not innate, it’s not something you are born with. It’s generated by your thinking…
And over here, I am talking about your excessive desire for food. Yo see normal desire for food is not even something that occurs to us. We feel hunger, we eat. We feel satisfied. And that’s it. End of story.
But all that extra desire for food…is not innate. It is generated by your thinking.
And then repeated so many times that it feels like innate.
As if its something involuntary. Something you have no control over.
Even a simple thought…this sneaky little thought like, “I want it” generates the desire in your body and because of that desire you eat. And when you eat, you are rewarded with dopamine. This is the nature’s way of ensuring that you survive.
So every time you do an activity that sustains your life, like eating, having sex, staying warm, accomplishing something, warding off danger, taking care of your offsprings, you are rewarded by nature by the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in your brain.
And this neurotransmitter is the near transmitter of motivation, of desire to act as well as the neurotransmitter of reward. It tells your brain, what you just did is good for survival, so remember doing it again & again.
It’s a well designed feedback loop by nature that ensures that you keep taking actions that sustain your life.
You think a thought, “I want to eat this”.
You feel desire. You eat. You get rewarded by dopamine. And the dopamine you get, the more desire is generated for you to continue to be motivated to act on that thought in future…
So its like, I want it…desire…eat…dopamine
I want it…desire…eat…dopamine
And when you repeat this over & over again hundreds & thousand of times, this pattern is delegated from your pre frontal to your primitive brain. You no longer have to consciously think a thought, “I want it’. It almost feels like automatic…the desire feels innate not because it is innate but because you no longer aware of what is causing it.
Now what is so fascinating is that in today’s world, human beings have created intensely rewarding foods. So the desire which was answered by natural foods thousands of years back is now artificially stimulated repeatedly & way more potently by highly refined & concentrated foods. So even less number of repetitions are required for your brain to learn & remember to repeat eating such foods.
So the neural pathway now is let’s say a thought, “I want to eat this”…desire…eat…extreme amount of dopamine…and your brain’s reward pathways go…ding ding…ding…wo…what was that…something really important happening here…you better remember this chocolate caramel nutty ice cream. The same is true for other artificial & intensely rewarding things like drugs, social media, video games, gambling, porn, shopping etc.
I want you to remember that our brains are not designed to handle such concentrated extreme dopamine generating foods. It hijacks the reward pathways & impair your higher pre frontal brain to act in your best interest.
It makes you feel powerless in the face of food. And and it create intense desire for you to continue to act in such self numbing & harmful ways.
And don’t be misled by the term reward. This survival desire to eat & act in ways that ensure your survival are now being fulfilled by man made false rewards. False because instead of “ensuring survival”, they “jeopardise your survival”…the false rewards literally come at the expense of your life…your health, your emotional well-being. These false rewards keep generating false desire & imprison you in a dead end vicious cycle. You want to help yourself but you literally can’t help yourself when taken over by the false desire. You are acting not out of choice but a programmed script. And the scrip includes all those pesky little thoughts that generate desire & make you believe that if you don’t get up and act on your desire, you will not survive.
It’s a beautifully designed system of nature gone astray. Desire in nature which is meant for you to be motivated to create is now completely crushed. You short charge your dreams…you don’t want to put much effort…because hard work meant more dopamine & so humans were motivated to work hard but not anymore at least not in some areas like health & weight loss. Instead of working hard & getting that dopamine hit from that work, you now get 1000X times more dopamine aka the false fix easily available 24/7 by sugar & processed foods. Hell, men & women take pride in not being able to cook & put some effort into the food they eat. Well, its not their fault. It’s a perfectly well designed brain doing exactly what it is taught & what it has repeated.
And seeing this clearly, you reclaim your power.
Because here’s the thing…When u don’t know how desire is created… the root cause of it, u keep living ur life as someone who has a food issue… as someone who loves food too much & therefore lacks the capacity to give it up… which of course takes away your power & puts you in the victim seat… u kind of became resigned about losing weight… u perhaps give up ur desire to lose weight because it cannot compete with your desire for food…
When u truly understand that desire is not innate, it’s not something involuntary…that it’s very much in your control… that’s when u take ur power back… that’s when u start questioning all ur default beliefs like ur love for food… that’s when u r not fighting with ur desire for food while dieting which is what is taught to us as the only way to lose weight, u begin to unpack ur desire for food n the desire gradually diminishes n there comes a point where the unconscious neuronal pathways of desire lose their hold on u…that’s the real victory… like I genuinely do not desire sugar n processed food anymore. I’m not pretending or suppressing my desire. The desire is not there… which doesn’t mean I don’t eat it… I enjoy it thoroughly but I’m in the driver seat… not the food.
And not just me, this has been the experience of all my clients as well… n this is what is possible for u too… I.e not to fight with the desire for food… it’s literally not even desiring it anymore… just like for a non smoker… they don’t fight with their desire for cigarettes… u can get the world s best cigarettes in front of them… that doesn’t trigger any desire to smoke… they genuinely don’t want any cigarettes. And that is the true meaning of freedom…and in our context…weight & food freedom.
So lemme summarise all this -
Desire is not innate. The belief that you have a sweet tooth or you are a bigger foodie than other people…all such beliefs are false.
There is a cause for desire. The cause is your brain. The thoughts in your brain generate the emotion of desire for food in your body.
Desire is a learned phenomenon.
This desire then cause you to get up & eat.
When you answer the desire by eating, you get rewarded by dopamine.
Natural foods release natural amount of dopamine…that it very little as compared to highly refined ultra delicious processed foods.
The intense dopamine that such foods release hijacks your reward pathways…the brain doesn’t know how to handle the huge flood of dopamine released in response to such foods.
The intense reward generates intense desire, intense want for you to continue eat such foods in future. The desire-reward-desire cycle continues & generates more unease & anxiety if you don’t obey your desire for such foods in future.
And last and most important, you are not powerless even in the face of most intense desire. Desire is learned & this is the best news….because this means that you can unlearn it. And the way you unlearn is by using your pre frontal brain. You are blessed with a higher brain…the pre frontal, that can put an end to this cycle that has become an automatic unconscious drive.
I want to leave you by saying that the human beings have been designed by the Higher Power with an innate desire to create. It is this humanly & Impersonal Incompletion that we all experience in life.
There is a reason for this vague, restless desire and this desire is the Universal Force of Creation. This is what propelled & got the human race where it is today with all the amazing & mind blowing discoveries in all the fields.
But we today are also facing the most craziest amount of emotional distress because of the modern day pressure & the invention of artificially created things & substances that have the potential to kill you or your life force, chronically. It is upto you as to what you decide.
To answer that universal desire to create an amazing & extra ordinary life or you misunderstand that desire & answer it with false unfulfilling rewards that ultimately trample your life force. I would love the former for you.
That is it my friends. Hey it would be great if you could leave me a review on iTunes. That would help in my mission & spread this message to more amazing women like you. I will talk to you soon.