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Bitten and David Talk Addiction: #1

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Also, let's not put the cart before the horse.

Over the past twenty-four years, listening to thousands of clients, I often hear the following lines repeated over and over again:

  • I eat when I am stressed

  • I eat due to unpleasant feelings

  • I eat when I am tired or upset or irritated, etc., etc., etc.

The list goes on and on with more and more reasons why people overeat sugar/flour, starve, fast, diet, or exercise until the cows come home. For years, most of these individuals have tried all types of therapy to find a solution BUT it did not keep them from going back to the food for comfort.

I have completed thousands of interviews and hundreds of SUGAR mappings and they all show that the "drug" ALWAYS comes first. The unpleasant feelings actually come as a consequence of eating sugar/flour/processed foods, not the other way around. The egg comes first (birds evolved from reptiles and they lay eggs) not the chicken!

We have it all wrong! We have put the horse behind the cart when we think we eat due to emotional or psychological factors or feelings. I know this might upset many, but we must remember how long we have been exposed to the foods that play havoc with our 'emotional brains' (the limbic system), which will always over ride our thinking/reasoning brains (the prefrontal cortex). Using the “drug” prevents us from successfully implementing the following:

  • Impulse control

  • Reasoning

  • Patience

  • The ability to plan

  • The ability to foresee consequences from different behaviors

  • Discipline and more

(See Understanding Your Brain and for clarification A Deeper Look at Dopamine and Serotonin)

When using the “drug,” the only part of our brain that really functions is the limbic brain, known as the reptilian brain, or the survival brain. How do you train a reptile to heel? Well, you don't! Not even Cesar Millan would take on that Red Dog*!

Most of my clients started using (sugar/flour/processed foods) very early in life. Generally, their first symptoms present between the ages of five and seven. The power of the “drug” is totally underestimated. It has the ability to prevent the brain from making proper connections or wiring and from growing and evolving in the proper manner.

It is the “drug” that makes us feel stressed, tired, insecure, or fearful. It is the drug that makes it difficult for us to learn new strategies and to learn from our own mistakes. It is the drug that causes us to feel false feelings and think negative thoughts. Because of the “drug,” our malnourished brains are incapable of learning new ideas and alternative strategies. Why is this knowledge so important? Well, it has given me and many others the insight to begin to take the necessary actions to recover and to continue to do so.

First things first. Take away the ”drug!”

Put the horse in front of the wagon. Then we will slowly heal. We can start by fixing the wiring in our brains, reconnecting the three brains, calming down the reward system, and finding other ways to deal with life on life's terms.

Slowly but surely, one step at a time, and one day at a time, we will heal. And yes, I know in the beginning it feels boring, (many of us are adrenaline junkies too) it seems dull, like a dry desert walk but rest assured, "this will pass" and we will get to a much better place.

~Bitten

*“A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil (Red Dog). The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, ‘The one I feed the most.’” ~George Bernard Shaw

I often hear people say the following, “Alcoholics have it easy, they just can't drink. But we all have to eat to live.” The truth is alcoholics must drink, they just cannot drink alcohol. This is also the case with the sugar/flour/food addict. We must remove our food triggers/drugs, and then life will present itself with endless possibilities for recovery.

No Change.... No Change!

When I hear Bitten talk about the chicken and the egg, I am reminded of the gift of being powerless over something, e.g. the weather. If it rains and we forget our umbrellas, we are going to get wet. There is nothing we can do about it. If we are powerless over sugar/flour/food, there is nothing we can do about that either. But now that we know we are powerless, maybe we will remember our umbrella next time! Powerlessness gives us the power. By understanding how the brain works, we can now realize our choice. The choice is the power!

~David

 

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