Last week we talked about the benefits of becoming fat adapted and the homework for the week was to:
- Food Journal Daily
- Weigh Daily
- Reduce Sugar and flour by half. Look for hidden sugars.
- Drink 16oz of water as soon as you wake
- Get more sleep
I am going to leave it up to you to decide the amount of success that you had based on the effort that you were able to put into these changes.
At the beginning of the program, I included the Compelling Reasons and Inventory homework. Did you do that? Doing the homework is so incredibly important because if we don’t do the work to have the mind shifts, we can’t change the thoughts that are driving the behaviors that got it here.
Flat abs don’t happen in the gym, they happen in the kitchen and they happen in the brain.
I know it’s tedious to actually sit and think and write things out, but it’s so worth it. We have too many thoughts in our head to keep it all up there. Our thoughts are too disorganized for us to make sense of what they even mean.
Every time I think, I can just do this in my head and then I take the time to do it on paper, I am blown away. It blows my own mind. I’m a skeptic by nature so trust me when I say, the work works.
We talked about how important it is to allow the hunger hormone ghrelin to work and how the appetite suppressant hormone leptin can be suppressed by insulin spikes and sleep deprivation.
If you remember last week I mentioned that there is only one way to remove fat from our bodies unless we suck it out and that is to burn it as fuel. I know the temptation might be to try to burn it off with physical activity and that does help for sure burn more calories and has lots of mental support benefits, but the way to becoming a fat burner is to eat like a fat burner.
I am going to teach you to eat like a fat burner and think like a fat burner.
Week 1 was all about awareness. How much do you eat? When? Why? Are you hungry physically or emotionally? How much do you weigh? How much are you sleeping? How often are you eating? All of this is important because weight loss is much more than the math of calories in and calories out. It’s about hormone regulation. All of the things that you are tracking either contribute to the support of your appetite hormones or they contribute to hormone resistance. In other words, they don’t work as they should.
Most people who struggle with excess weight have some degree of insulin and leptin resistance. Let’s look at some hormones real quick.
Ghrelin is your hunger gremlin. It is produced in your stomach and, like many fat-loss hormones, works with your brain to signal that you are hungry.
Leptin is a type of hormone that is released exclusively from fat cells. Leptin interacts with your brain to get your body to eat less and burn more calories. The more body fat you have, the more leptin your fat cells will release. However, too much body fat leads to too much leptin being released—a condition called leptin resistance. When this occurs, your brain becomes numb to leptin’s signal.
To maximize leptin sensitivity, get adequate sleep and pack your diet full of antioxidant-rich berries and green and red vegetables. Losing weight also enhances leptin sensitivity and gives you some momentum, as the more weight you lose, the more effective leptin will become in your body.
You may have heard the phrase that someone feels like their stomach has shrunk because they can’t eat as much before they feel full, that is leptin working like it should.
Insulin plays a very important role in your body and is key for recovering from exercise, muscle-building, and maintaining optimal blood sugar levels. However, when carbohydrate intakes are high, it can inhibit the breakdown and burning of stored fat. Insulin and carbohydrates are very tightly linked. The more carbohydrates you eat, the more insulin will be released. To optimize insulin for fat loss, aim to get most of your carbohydrates from vegetables and some fruit. Limit grains and starches.
Glucagon is a hormone that acts directly opposite to insulin. While insulin stores carbohydrates and builds fat, glucagon is responsible for breaking down stored carbohydrates and fats and releasing them so your body can use them for energy. Eating a protein-rich, low-carbohydrate meal is the best way to maximize glucagon release.
CCK, short for Cholecystokinin, kōləˌsistōˈkīnən this hormone is released from the cells in your intestines whenever you eat protein or fat. But CCK doesn’t just stay in your gut. Instead, it communicates with your nervous system to flip the satiety switch while simultaneously working with your stomach to slow the rate of digestion. The end result is that you feel fuller longer. Take full advantage of CCK by making sure you have protein and fat at every meal.
Are you seeing a theme here…eat fat, eat protein, easy on the carbs!!!
Basically, if you are insulin and/or leptin resistant, as long as you keep eating sugar and flour (grains) and high starchy carb foods, you are programming your body to create and store fat.
When we eat, insulin is elevated. That is a normally occurring metabolic activity. The problem is when we eat a diet that is high is sugar, carbs, even too high in protein, our insulin levels stay elevated and our body cannot access our fat stores for fuel.
When we eat even too much good food and too often, we are deregulating our hunger hormones.
I look at food choices as supporting health or disease. I will take it a step further, it’s our dis-ease that drives the behavior that supports our bad food choices. It’s our overwhelming desire to seek pleasure in food and drink and shopping and all other buffering activity. It’s our unwillingness or lack of knowing how to be uncomfortable with our feelings and thoughts that drive our behavior to eat too much, drink too much, to shop too much etc…
Our thoughts and emotions are the key to our health and wellness and prosperity and relationships…it’s everything! We are consuming way more than just food, food is just the number one link to disease.
First, I want to talk a little bit about the difference between losing weight and losing fat.
You lose 84% of the fat that you lose as you exhale. It is released in the form of carbon dioxide. The remaining 16% is lost via body fluid.
One of the reasons that I want you to weigh yourself daily is so that you understand the fluctuations in your fluid levels. It’s possible that your body fluids fluctuation 3-5 pounds daily. That does not mean that you have lost fat or gained fat, it’s only measuring weight. The goal is to convert your body into a fat burner, get it using fat as its fuel source.
I have had so many people starting losing inches and feeling better but because the scale didn’t move they gave up. They quit too soon. That’s why it’s so important that you don’t get hung up on that number. Your fat cells can hang on to the water for weeks before you see yourself have a movement in the scale. Then all of a sudden you will feel this swoosh. The opposite can happen too. Sometime we lose a lot of water weight and fluid in the beginning and then we feel stuck. So it is very important to focus on the goal being to create a fat burning body, to be fat adapted, not just focus on the weight loss.
The second thing that I want to talk about tonight is “Eat Type”
- Binge Eating (Storm Eating)– Consciously eating, know you are over eating but feel unable to control or you don’t want to control. You want to eat the entire bag.
- Fog eating – Unconsciously eating. This could be getting up in the middle of the night. This could be eating in the front of the TV, driving, in other words, not focusing on what you are eating or how much. It’s all a blur.
- Joy Eating – You eat celebration food. You celebrate with food. Every event is centered on food. Food is joy and entertaining.
- Fuel Eating – You know what you are eating and how much you are eating and making choices that are good fuel for the body at least 80-90 % of the time. You understand your nutritional needs and cravings and urges do not rule your food thoughts. This is the goal.
How can we change our eat type?
Awareness – Awareness of what your eat type is, what are your triggers are, what you are thinking, and what you are feeling.
Journal all of it. This is where the work is. Once you get past the work, you will make better choices.
Routine – Plan your eats and then eat your plan, every single one of them, even your “off protocol” eat is planned. We aren’t going to call it a “cheat” meal or “treat” meal or “joy” eat. We want your brain seeking pleasure in eating healthy. If we call unhealthy food a treat or joy eat, it sends the wrong message. Our brain starts sensing deprivation.
It’s “off protocol” or “on protocol”.
If you eat “off protocol”, plan it. If you eat off protocol that is unplanned, do your thought download work sheet “Stop Over-Indulging” and get back on track. Do not make it two in a row.
Develop routines that support a better eat type. Even going out to eat, know the menu and decide ahead of time.
Thought Download – When you find yourself eating off protocol that is unplanned, do a thought download. “Stop Over-Indulging” works for everything that we do that is over indulging whether it’s watching too much tv, over working, over shopping etc…even over eating.
This is where the hard work is. I know it’s tedious but this is what is going to make the difference between doing this for good or having this be another program that doesn’t work.
Cravings and Urges
When we restrict buffering behavior, and I call buffering behavior anything that we do in excess in order to feel better. That could mean gambling, shopping, playing video games, drinking and of course over eating, our brain kicks in gear and starts trying to talk you back into your restricted behavior. It’s because of your brain brains motivation strategy to seek pleasure, avoid pain and conserve energy. All of the old behavior is easy, it’s automatic and takes to effort to stay in that subconscious mode of operation. When you are trying to change behaviors, even at simply as making healthy food choices, your brain says, NO. Remember, we get cheesecake at the Brooke, not a low carb wrap and steamed veggies?
Any time we try to do something new, change behaviors, eliminate habits, or add new ones, our brains motivational strategy steps in and tries to talk you out of it. It’s your brains way of keeping you safe from the pain of failure, from feeling like you are being left out, being deprived etc…all very primitive thoughts meant to keep us safe and help us evolve.
Your subconscious likes to do what is easy and familiar even if it’s bad for us. Even if it’ deadly, look at smoking and drug addiction. Our brain has no clue but that it gets a ginormous dopamine hit and that what we are doing must be important for survival.
It takes conscious thought, which requires we use more energy, to change habits and do new things.
Sometimes we can maintain our momentum in the beginning because we are excited, maybe we start seeing some results, and that sustains us for a little while. Then our old thoughts surface, subconsciously we are triggered and our motivation wanes.
That is what is going on with feeling like your cravings and urges are getting the best of you.
Understanding why and what is going on should help.
Read this as often as you need to remind yourself of what is going on.
So exactly how do we get the urges and cravings and desires under control?
When we take a toddler into a store and each time we do this we give it a candy bar, the toddler is going to learn and be conditioned to get a candy bar eat time.
That’s your brain getting hooked on sugar and flour.
When we decide we no longer want to give our toddler sugar and flour, the toddler is going to throw a bloody screaming tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, embarrass the snot out of you, make you feel like an idiot.
That’s your brain throwing a fit because it wants the sugar and flour like it’s been conditioned to receive.
Remember, answering the craving is what started the cycle, not answering it will end the cycle. Answering the craving created that neuropathway. Not answering it creates a new and different pathway.
What we need to do is process all of the thoughts and feelings that triggered the craving but not answer it.
That is where the work is.
Just like the Pavlov dog experiment where they rang the bell, the dogs became conditioned to drool because they were fed. The scientist continued to ring the bell, but stopped feeding the dog and the dog learned not to drool.
We are going to stop the drool
We are going process the thoughts and emotions that are triggering the cravings and urges and over-desire, instead of resisting or self-soothing.
We are going to do this 100 times.
Processing is different from resisting.
- Resisting is a white knuckle ride.
- Resisting avoids the issue and does not address the reason or the trigger for the craving or urge.
- Resisting says no, no, no until you eventually give in to the craving or urge.
- Resisting is like arguing with a three-year old toddler who is having a melt down at the candy store.
You might resist for days or weeks and then decide to give in as a reward or maybe you just give up because the craving gets too strong.
The goal is not “to not eat it,” that is resisting. The goal is to “not want it” to begin with. We want to not want it any more than we want to smoke a cigarettes if you are a non-smoker or do drugs if you are not a drug user. If someone gave you a pack of cigarettes and you are not a smoker, you could look at them every day and not be compelled to even try one. It can be that way with a donut or cookie or anything else that is unhealthy buffering behavior.
There are no magic pills or drinks that help you manage the cravings and urges, they only mask it. The desire is still there until you address the desire.
The answer is mental, it’s wiring, it’s brain work.
That’s the good news and the bad news. It’s the good news because you have the power, it’s the bad news because as humans we want to look outside ourselves to solve for the problem, we don’t want to be uncomfortable we want to hit the easy button. We want to substitute with free food to entertain our mouths, to make us feel better, to alleviate boredom, to comfort us after a bad day and even to celebrate.
So we covered what resistance looks like, what does processing look like?
- Recognize the craving. Invite it like an old friend. Give it a name.
- Question the source. What are you thinking and feeling? Write it down.
- What was the trigger? Write it down.
- Now sit and be with it and ask questions about it. Be OK with it.
- Relax into it.
- Breathe into it.
- Experience it.
- Be with it
- Feel it in your body
- What does it feel like in your body? Describe it in detail. Is it tense or annoying or peaceful? What comes up for you? Is it in your gut or your throat or head?
- What are your thoughts? Write them all down
- Write it out, journal it.
- Go for a walk, and think about your feelings not your craving, your feelings.
- Be curious about the urge, but do not answer it.
- Make note each time you do not answer the craving.
- Repeat 100 times
Plan on at least 100 cravings before you eliminate the cravings.
Pay attention to what triggers the urge or craving. Was it an event? Was it an emotion or a smell or a sensation? Was it part of a habit or routine?
Visualize floating in a pool with a pool full of those pool noodles. The noodles are your thoughts and feelings that are your buffering triggers. Instead of suppressing the noodle to get rid of it (resistance), let it float up to you, be with it and let it float away.
Your willingness to be in the moment with the thought and emotion that triggers your buffering activity is your currency to success.
Once you have completed the processing of the thought and emotion do something physical to celebrate.
Celebrate by literally flexing your muscles each time to successfully manage and process the thoughts and emotions and do not answer the urge or cravings. Give yourself a high five. Tell someone about it. Write out all of the benefits of managing the craving or urge.
Over desire of anything is conditioning and is learned and it can be un-learned. Don’t replace with non-fuel foods. Know that desire can go unanswered and you will be just fine.
Buffering is how we escape an emotion that we don’t want to feel. Be willing to sit with your emotion and feel what is really going on. Be curious about what you really need or want so you can solve for the emotion instead of escaping it.
It is alright to be sad without eating, it’s alright to be angry without bingeing, it’s even alright to feel joy without eating.
Life is all about the Laws of the Universe and one of those laws is the law of polarity. Without feeling sad, happy has no meaning. I think sometimes when we experience a negative thought or emotion we make it mean something is wrong or we have done something wrong. It’s normal, it’s the law actually.
Eating to buffer destroys the relationship we have with ourselves and with food. Answering cravings and urges fuels the belief that we will always be at risk of losing our will power. It’s not even about willpower. You don’t need willpower to not do heroin, it’s the same with food.
We break commitments with ourselves. We make a plan to eat healthy and do better and then a good-looking cookie comes along and we are back to cheating on ourselves. We don’t do that when we see a good looking man walk by. We don’t go lick him and think, “it’s ok, we aren’t kissing.” Silly analogy but it’s true.
After we buffer with food, we experience guilt and shame, self-doubt, self-pity, anxiety, anger….it’s a repeat and rinse cycle. It’s never the answer.
My own story:
When I found myself buffering with food and shopping, I discovered it was out of boredom. I have had to learn, and I am still learning, to be OK with being bored. I have had to sit in boredom, relax into it, feel how it feels to feel bored and not answer with buffering with food or shopping. Doing the work I discovered that my thoughts of being bored is also tied to my beliefs around time and money and a scarcity mindset.
In my brain I hear, “idol hands are the devils workshop or time is money etc…” So being bored fed the belief that I must use my time more wisely, or I am not productive by relaxing. I should not just sit and relax. I made relaxing mean something. I made it mean I was being lazy and useless.
Those thoughts bring up anxiety and then I eat, or shop or whatever to feel better and the hits just keep on coming. So I strongly encourage the thought work be a bigger focus for you right now. It’s important to know what is coming up for you and why. Once you figure that out, you will master the cravings and urges.
From doing the work I have learned that not only are moments of nothingness OK, they are critical for clarity, focus and creativity.
The other thought and emotion that triggered cravings and urges was out of a scarcity mindset.
“I better have that donut or cookie in the break room and maybe save one for later, maybe take one home for Steve. I better get one now before they are all gone. I should have one while they are here. I know I am going to feel like crap and eating one will just start my sugar craving going all day long but one little bite won’t hurt.”
These were all the things that I told myself to justify answering a craving. Cheating on myself, breaking my promise to myself.
Having the mindset to eat something just because it’s there or available or to eat something verses throwing it away is all tied to a scarcity mindset. It is a mindset that can be changed. You may not even know you have that belief. I had no clue!
We did not have treats in the house except occasionally on Sundays, after church, we got donuts and jelly rolls. Nothing wrong with that but I made it mean something and I developed a scarcity mindset around things like that not being abundant and available at all times so I better get some when I can…silly!!!
I didn’t know I had a scarcity mindset until I started really being with my thoughts during my cravings and urges.
You have over 70,000 thoughts a day and 90% of them are the same. We have subconscious activity going on all day long. Until you get into the consciousness of the thoughts and emotions behind your behaviors you really don’t know what the driver is.
Until I started doing thought downloads I had no idea.
Now I can identify several areas of my life in which a scarcity mindset has manifest.
A scarcity mindset is a self-limiting belief. A scarcity mindset can make you fat!!!
Pay attention to thoughts your brain will offer that may sabotage your results. Manage your mind and choose a more useful thought.
Sabotaging Thoughts Thoughts That Serve You
This is hard I can do hard things
I want that I don’t want that
I can’t have that I don’t want to eat that
But it’s sooooo good It’s not worth the calories
I’m missing out I am not missing a thing
I deserve it I deserve more
I don’t care I do care
It’s not a big deal, screw it I am keeping my promise to myself
I already blew it, why not eat more I didn’t blow it, I am on track right now
Continue everything you started in week 1:
- Food Journal – weigh and measure your servings, know how much you are eating. Don’t eye ball it.
- Weigh Daily
- Reducing sugar and flour by 1/2
- Get more sleep
- Drink 16 ounces of water as soon as you wake up
For week 2 add:
- Eliminate all fat-free food(includes yogurt, mayo, salad dressing, cookies, cake…whatever says low-fat or reduced fat or non-fat has to go) Keep watching for hidden sugars. Keep sugar to less than 2 grams per serving and only do one serving.
- Eliminate sugar substitutes. Your body has no idea what to do with it and so it gets stored in your bodies fat stores.
- Reduce liquid calories by ½ (wine, beer, juice, soda…). Eat your calories, don’t drink them. That includes juicing and shakes! Your mouth needs to chew and crunch. Your taste buds need to taste. You are robbing your body of satiating activity by drinking your calories. Feels healthy, looks healthy but it is not satisfying and not sustainable and is probably more sugar, even natural sugar, than your body needs. If you need more calories and just can’t stomach eating a meal then a protein shake is awesome but if you need protein, eat it.
- Journal your cravings and urges. Track the number of times you don’t give into the craving. Invite cravings and urges and be with them without giving in. If you do give in, do the Over Indulging worksheet. Journal the thoughts and discoveries of being with your thoughts and emotions.
- Notice what kind of eat types was most prevalent this week. What triggers your eat types. Think about being a “fuel” eat-type and let go of any connection that you have to any other eat type.
Next week we are going talk about:
- Designing your eating plan/protocol
- Planning your eat plan
- Intermittent fasting