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Most disregulated eaters, at least those I’ve come across, have been using the wrong part of themselves to interact with food, when the right one is just itching to do its job. So many eaters get into trouble because they over-think around food, when what could be easier than simply letting natural appetite take over. When your body is in charge, the experience of eating flows perfectly from biological functions knowing what to do.
Thinking, using what we call “the mind,” is useful and absolutely necessary for many activities: various types of work, decision-making, long-term planning, problem-solving, critical thinking, organizing, and many more. The body—senses, appetite, physical cues—also has its domain: getting you from here to there, playing sports, fine motor skill coordination, registering external sensations, and signaling sickness. These aspects of ourselves work in tandem to keep us living well and avoiding harm and each is tasked with doing part of the job.
A problem arises, however, when you confuse which part of you should do which task. Take eating, basically a function of your body which is born with wisdom about hunger, food preference, taste, pleasure, and satiation regarding food and eating. It doesn’t need to say to the mind, Hey, am I hungry? because it knows instinctively what craving nourishment feels like and signals you. Likewise, you wouldn’t dream of asking your body, Shall we sell the house and move to Montana or Is it better to buy a Mac or a PC? because you recognize that this kind of decision is under you mental domain.
When you’re contemplating food decisions, make sure that you have the correct mechanism in gear. Too many disregulated eaters are disconnected from their bodies and expect their minds to make food decisions for them, which is like asking the boss of a financial management company to overhaul the furnace or demanding that the maintenance supervisor create a stock portfolio. Each person in a company has its own purview and each function in you has its own expertise.
If you have an overworked mind, what better time to give it a well needed rest than when you’re making food-related decisions. That’s when you want your body to be in charge. It knows how to serve you if your thoughts don’t jam its signals or try to override its instinctive directives. So, in all things food, charge your body with doing its job of nourishing you and give your mind a mini-vacation. Put your body at the helm of eating decisions and see how naturally and effectively it does the work it was cut out to do.
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