Winning the Battle of the Brain

I also think about food a lot.  And I blog about food a lot.  The majority of my Instagram posts, especially lately, have been about food.  But then I was writing a cookbook you know.  Oh yes – RELEASED SOON!!

So what I wanted to talk about today was the Battle of the Brain or Head Hunger.  Those little demons that like to derail us and try and deviate us from our goals – whether its losing weight, gaining weight, decreasing sugar, alcohol – whatever.

You’ll often hear the phrase “it is a Head Game” or “fighting Head Hunger”.  This mental compulsion to eat, when I’m not physically hungry, was most definitely one of the biggest drivers for me to start looking into gastric bypass surgery.  In the weeks before my bariatric surgery I spent time with counselors working on what goes on inside my head.  One of the best lines I ever heard in the days just after surgery was from a surgeon who said “I operated on your stomach, not your brain” – and there is the struggle right there.  My gastric bypass is simply a tool, a tool I can either use well, or not, but whether I do and how much use of it I make is totally up to me.

Comfort eating and Head Hunger go hand in hand.
This week is Shark Week, period week.  Period week sucks.  I get a little grumpy, I get a little sad, I used to turn to food to feel a little better.  I still want to turn to food for that comfort however I can’t use it as a crutch like I did before.  So me and my dumb period brain have a bit of a dust up over what to do – which actually only makes me more grumpy.

The thing is – this internal dust up, this punching match, this little war happens on other days too.  And I’m sure, whether or not you have had bariatric surgery, that you’ve found yourself in the middle of it too.  If not, shit you’re lucky!

I am constantly fighting my brain telling me I want to eat something when actually I don’t physically need to.

I AM STILL ADDICTED TO FOOD

Having a gastric bypass didn’t take away the Head Hunger at all.  It lessened it for the first six months and it gave me the opportunity to start listening to my body to find out what the signs of it being truly hungry are.  So what do I do about it?
Well firstly I sit myself down and tell my brain to STFU.  Seriously – I give myself a bit of a talking to.  And then I ask myself a few questions …

  1. When was the last time you ate?
  2. When was the last time you had something to drink?
  3. Where are you? Was this a snack spot for you previously?
  4. Are you bored?
  5. Are you freaking serious lady?

When things get really bad, as in I’ve been wearing my eating pants for a couple of days, I go back to basics.  Chances are this is an old habit that I’m still working to break or I am letting my emotions get the better of me and then, circling back to an old habit.
I get out the Food Diary and start noting not only what I ate, but where I was when I thought I was hungry and what I was doing.  Notes and lists have always helped me get through and in this case, its no different.

I try not to beat myself up too much but often I just need a reality check on what is going on in my life and in my head.  I am not a dog, I shouldn’t reward myself with food.

You’re an egg Tara. You’re not hungry, you’re just bored.

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