Let's first understand being 'Off Track' of your personal goal. Here's a great example: Let's say I want to fly from Seattle to Austin. I buy a ticket. I board a Boeing 737 and get a window emergency row window much to my delight. Plane takes off from Seattle and flies nonstop to Austin. Other than take-off and landing, this same plane flying directly between Seattle & Austin has auto-pilot. It’s ‘goal’ is to stay on that trajectory, flying straight between the two cities. Like your specific body composition, fitness, or weight goal is, that plane's auto-pilot is ‘off course’ more than it is ‘on course’.
It's those thousands of tiny little adjustments the auto-pilot makes to storms, wind, rain, altitude, time of day that keeps the plane on time and on its goal. The process I’m about to explain will help you make all those tiny adjustments to keep you on goal.
I've learned to communicate with myself, and specifically apply a similar mental process to that of the auto-pilot. It’s pretty damn simple, and something you wished your wise old grandpa passed down in not scientific terms, but simple elder logic.
Appetite versus Cravings
There is a difference as I've come to find out. For all the reasons that you probably know or will soon find out about, ‘appetite and cravings’ have about as much in common as ‘dairy and grain fed beef’. Sure, they're both foodstuffs, but....
In staying with the above Seattle to Austin analogy, our goal is to keep our body satiated…in that place where we’re neither hungry or full. It’s that tummy 'happy place' where we all long to be. Free of hunger and hunger pangs. Just you and your body doing that funky thing you do...feeling groovy. The great things about these times of satiety are that they're not governed by a clock. When you're feeling it, and you're working it, there is no such thing as time. Time stands still. Just ask Las Vegas....there's a reason there are no clocks and windows in casinos ‘cuz you're in the zone baby!
Even in these social sugar high moments, ‘the call from down low’ (hunger) makes it through the free drinks and shrimp cocktails while you were rolling ‘dem bones. You’re hungry and your body let you know it. That's appetite talking and learning to 'speak & talk' "Appetite" is the first part of this process and easy through analogy. You know this language, you just ignore it most of the time because, like Pavlov’s dogs, You’re hunger has been dictated by outside forces and cues. Ever just have to eat an orange? A pickle? A fresh tomato? Sure you have. That's Appetite talking. Listen to this inside voice.
Cravings? Easy. Cravings happen via media & and clocks. Outside forces and cues.
You’re beginning to see the process take shape in logical procession: We quickly learn the difference between Appetite and Cravings. This is essential. We don't have to count calories or expend too much energy in making the right decision - to eat it or not - because we can make the right decision by asking one question prior to ingestion: Do I want to eat because it's time, or something reminded me of eating. Cravings are outside forces based in Time and Memory.
Think about that for a moment. I did, and I wrote it. Why do we think we should eat three squares a day? Because we were told so. You can argue with the scientists for how long, but in mine, my kids, and my parents lifetime, American gluttony prevailed, we ate three squares by everybody from the family doctor to the school teacher, and you finished what was on that plate. Good living it was so we were told. We were told those plates needed a protein, a vegetable, a starch, dairy as drink, juice in between, and we all had our desserts dictated to an evening, an event, a reward, repeatedly.
Meat came with spuds or pasta. Spuds or pasta came with gooey rich gravies and sauces. Make sure you eat your vegetables…. That was a model meal.
Problem was, we were further introduced to convenience, the new C Word. Boxed cake mixes and Hamburger Helper sucked us into their handy ‘convenient’ hooks for decades. You ever wonder why that fat little talking white glove was fat? We all thought it was cute; we bought the crap and called it a staple. We were CONVINCED that adding this box of enriched macaroni (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Corn starch, salt, enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), ricotta cheese, sugar, whey and more than 26 other items to pure protein was ‘helping us’.
Sooooooooooooo convenient. For General Mills.
This is marketing my friends. Marketing is the master of Time and Memories. Your Cravings. A craving is simply a ‘desire’ and not a ‘need’ regardless of what you apply it to. Typically the picture marketing paints is done in a manner in which their thoughts become your thoughts and those thoughts are nearly always based in the ‘desire’ column. The same trick a car salesman engages you in when he asks the question, “What color of car are you looking for?” Seems harmless, but you start picturing yourself in the red car and he already has that three-treble hook so far down your gullet all you can do is picture you in that red car while he explains all that dandy stuff it does. Sold.
This reality is coming to you from a marketer of over 30 years’ experience. However, it's easy to diffuse these cues if you know a process in which to do it.
Our process for separating Appetite versus Cravings now looks like this: Do I want to eat because it's time, or something reminded me of eating.
Simple. As it should be. But not simpler.
Paleo Lifestyle Design is not about learning a specific method. Paleo Lifestyle Design is about you developing your own method and given a process to do so.
Apply this process for ‘speaking & understand appetite’, versus controlling it. Even Deepak Chopra would even approve because this stuff we call energy is talking to us, and as we are all just learning to listen to our primal instincts, you’ll find marketing messages and outside cues not only become easier to detect (Oh! THAT’s what a T-Rex sounds like…), but this process will keep you eating clean WHEN you’re hungry.
I'd love to hear your comments and examples of this process in action. Subscribe to Dear Paleo via RSS as many other insights are to come, and thank you.
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