Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Controlling What I Eat

I have the typical dual problem of many living in the Western world: I don't eat right and I don't get enough exercise. I do try to eat right and I think I eat better than many people, but my weaknesses are sweets and late day/evening snacking. Cookies? Yes, please. Cake? Hellz yeah. A Twix you say? Pile it on.

I am mostly a vegetarian, try to eat vegan and really avoid most animal products. I'm not sedentary either, and even recently started going back to Tae Kwon Do classes in hopes of obtaining my black belt this year, finally! (I took a four year break from TKD to go to grad school.) That said, I more or less maintain my body weight, but it's about 30 pounds too much.

I think I had an epiphany today, trying to figure out yet another food and exercise schedule. It seems that inevitably, I'm struck with hunger pangs which then leads to the urge to snack. Food really does make me feel better. As someone pointed out in a documentary I watched this past weekend called Forks Over Knives, we are in a sense addicted to crappy food.

But what if I could control my reaction to hunger pangs in the same way I control my urge to punch someone in the face who has made me angry? We learn our responses to physical and emotional stimuli so in many cases, we should be able to reprogram them. Hunger is a little bit different since it is an innate response but I think the degree and frequency of the feeling is probably a learned response.

In other words, when I've felt hungry, I've never sat there and just noticed the feeling of hunger. I've never quietly paid attention to the thoughts that follow it and then chosen to ignore those voices. I'm going to try this and see just how effective it might be.