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Karen's Blogs

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life.Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

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No Need to Trust Your Appetite

So many disregulated eaters want desperately to trust their appetite. However, focusing on trusting it per se is nothing but a red herring. Rather than trust it, you need only to follow it because it knows what it’s doing whether you trust it or not.

Say, you’re driving and get a flat, so you open your trunk to get out a tire iron. To fix your flat, do you need to trust the tire iron or use it to loosen the lug nuts? I’d say, those nuts aren’t budging unless you put that iron into action. Maybe you think the tire iron is old and rusted and won’t work. Doubt makes no difference. Trusting or believing isn’t going to get you back on the road. If you want to fix the flat, you’ll have to use the iron to the best of your ability to loosen those lug nuts.

Similarly, you don’t have to trust your appetite for it to do right by you. Using appetite is what humans have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years to survive and thrive. It’s the mechanism or system which has evolved for feeding ourselves. Our ears are made to hear, our eyes to see, our lungs to breathe, and our hearts to pump blood through our bodies. It doesn’t matter whether we trust these organs or distrust them. They do what they do because that’s how they’ve evolved over millennia.

Ditto appetite. You veer off course by mistakenly relying on your brains to make decisions about food. Bodies are made to know when they’re hungry, which foods satisfy them, how to savor food, and when they’re satisfied or full. Your appetite doesn’t need your brain intervening in this age-old process with a host of needless instructions: Eat now, Eat less, Eat later, Eat more, Don’t eat that, Eat this, You’re too fat to eat, You don’t deserve to eat that, You deserve to eat that, Eating this will make you fat, Eating this will help you get thinner, You can’t eat this, You have to eat that. Phew!

Your brain, specifically your frontal lobes, has a crucial job for your survival: to help you make decisions and solve problems. Just as you wouldn’t want your appetite to be in charge of deciding whether you should switch jobs and move to Tokyo, you don’t want your brain usurping or interfering with your appetite doing its job of signaling you about hunger, food preference, satisfaction and fullness. That would be like trying to hear with your eyes or see with your ears.

Please stop fretting about whether to trust your appetite or not. It doesn’t matter if you do or don’t. Just leave it alone to do what it knows how to do: feed and nourish you.

Happiness and Eating
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