Hedonic Hunger

I have never heard of hedonic hunger until the topic came up on my daily thread on the WW message boards.  So, I Googled it.  There are many articles out there on this topic.

I have never struggled with compulsion over eating.  I believe that eating too much from time to time is not really unusual.  However, the inability to control food, thus resulting in binge eating, is not really normal even though it is common.  While I have seen many WW members work very hard to keep their binge eating under control, it takes a lot of work each day and it is not easy.  I am not sure that desire to overeat ever actually goes away.  The person just gets better at managing it and is less hard on them self when a binge does occur.
“When a person eats apleasurable food, it can trigger reward centers in the brain to promote eatingmore of said food.” 

My friend Jacquie loves food.  She honestly eats for pleasure as she enjoys her food.  You can tell Jacquie enjoys her food because when she takes a bite she dances around and smiles.  Eating for pleasure should make you feel good.  When I decide to eat a yummy dessert that I have planned and waited for, you will see me dancing around too.  You will also see me taking little bites to savor every bit of it.  I am also sad when it is gone. 

Eating for pleasure is okay.  It is the EXCESS part that can trip a person up.  I am a portion eater.  I have always been a portion eater since I joined WW.  There are times that I listen to hunger cues and practice them when I am on vacation.  In my every day eating I weigh and measure my food portion, track it, and eat it.  When it is gone…it is gone.

I also don’t keep things in my house that tempt me.   If there is something in my house that has the potential to temp me, I don’t keep it in sight.  I found this in the article I referenced above.
“To curb hedonic eating, we have two options:  Limit exposure to highly palatable foods, using a kind of ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’ approach and seek to eat foods that are more bland.”
I don’t see the point in eating foods that are more bland.  Why torture yourself?  Food should taste good or it isn’t worth the PPVs.  I do, however, use an out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach.  When I have foods in the house that could be trouble, I make sure to keep them out of sight.  I might know that the chocolate cake is in the pantry since that is where I put it, however, if it is sitting on the kitchen counter then I know it is there every time I walk into the kitchen and see it.  Out-of-sight works for me but I know that doesn’t work for everybody.  Some WW members say the foods calls to them from the pantry/fridge/freezer.

In that case DON’T BRING IT INTO THE HOUSE!  You can’t eat it if you don’t have it!  Instead, plan to go to a restaurant for some chocolate cake.  If you have a 15 PPV piece of cake all in one setting, you are better off than have little bites of it through the week.  Enjoy the treat, savor it, and move on.

That brings me back to eating slowly.  I am a very fast eater.  Food doesn’t stand a chance when put in front of me.  I remember my very first WW leader Lynn saying she would plan a Dove chocolate square each night after her dinner meal where she would eat small bites and let the chocolate melt on her tongue.  I would think how silly!  No way chocolate will last that long with me.  Guess what?  I now take small bites and let the chocolate melt on my tongue.  If I allow myself a piece/serving/slice then I will fully enjoy it and take small bites to savor it.
Finally, I have written this a few times on the WW boards this week.
Food does not have any control.  Food is simply just what we need to nourish our bodies. WE give food that power over us.  If a food I am eating is so good I want more?  There is always tomorrow.  It doesn’t all have to be eating today.  I really do stick to this practice.

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