Day 10: The Mind-Stomach Connection
Posted by Grady Miller on Nov 10, 2013 - 3:50:14 AM
HOLLYWOOD—Thanks to the bounty of food which surrounds us, true honest hunger is a sensation some people have rarely experienced. They obey a habit of snapping awake in the morning and the first thought in mind is breakfast. “What’s for breakfast?” has an incantatory effect to get the troops marching and the kids off to school; and breakfast is followed by a day interspersed with snacks and meals that leave hunger dulled. No wonder people are always thinking about what’s next on the menu and keep eating regardless of hunger.
Wallace Wattles defined appetite versus hunger.
Restoring the mind-stomach connection, lost amid epidemic snacking and culinary plenty, is a bonus of lightening up 30 pounds in 30 days. It’s all about thinking less about food and listening more to your stomach.
In the course of lightening up you will know moments of true hunger, such as when you cease eating three hours before bedtime. And you will learn to know the difference between hunger and appetite—this distinction was advanced by Wallace Wattles, a 1900s intuitive who wrote with startling insight about money and wellness.
Hunger responds to need, to energy expended, while appetite responds to desire. Choices proliferate in the appetite state—corn syrup, cane sugar or stevia? Roma, cherry tomatoes or vine-ripened, organically grown or not?—and a person can afford to be choosy; hunger takes what’s given and seasons it with the best spice there is: gratitude.
With appetite suggestibility is king, as evidenced than when a maitre d’ rolls up the dessert cart, and the sweet gaudy fantasies there exposed have people soon betraying their wiser wishes. Likewise, the great American breakfast appeals the full opulence of appetite from red velvet pancakes to biscuits and milk gravy, crispy hash browns, bacon and sausage or simply eggs Benedict smothered in hollandaise sauce, and of course add the invigorating smell of fresh-ground and brewed coffee. It’s pretty darn easy to wave the white surrender flag.
The truth is no modern man or woman (semi-urban hipster leashed to electronic devices) ever needed as much as an omelet. Farmhands of yore did; we don’t. The plan to lighten up 30 pounds in 30 days embraces the simple breakfast: fruit in the morning.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old chestnut: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” A good breakfast, yes. And a good breakfast can be a light one. Don’t make the mistake of equating a ”˜good’ breakfast with a big one. In the end, good is what’s good for you. As motivational speaker Les Brown said, after changing his deep-fried ways after a health crisis, “Nothing tastes as good as I feel.”
As you restore communication between mind and stomach, let your gut do the talking. You will feel true hunger and learn to detect when you are truly satiated. Since it takes 20 minutes from the first biteful for the stomach to issue the message, “I’m satisfied,” all the more reason to eat slowly and chew each bite of food into the watery state that aids digestion.
Eat slowly and your stomach will tell you when to push the plate away. Start paying attention to your stomach, let it be your new advisor: consult with it, ask what it feels like and it will tell you whether it’s ready to eat or it’s still groggy from the last repast. We speak of “gut feeling” what could be more appropriate than that feeling when it’s time to eat. Ask yourself frequently, “Am I responding to appetite or hunger?”
Learn to gauge how your own stomach feels. If you learn to be quiet and sensitive, freed from old habits, you know when you are in need of something or very little. Do stick to your mealtimes, but often you may only need something simple, like a piece of fruit to tide you over.
Becoming aware of true hunger is crucial to handling the bombardment of olfactory, visual and spoken cues to continue indulging. When lightening up 30 pounds in 30 days you are still forging a stronger, more sensitive mind-stomach connection and you will be much more aware of when enough is enough. Learn to know, develop and obey that “gut feeling” and you’ll be on your way.
Humorist Grady Miller is the author of “Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet,” available on Kindle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.