Limbic activation during meals

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    • #5444
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Hi Gillian. I was just relistening to webinar 4. I heard you mention that fast eating is common for participants in this course. And your guidance was to notice we’d gone unconscious, put the fork down and breathe to reawaken the PFC. You also said that eating awakens the limbic system which is why we easily go unconscious while eating.

      I find that during almost every meal I have these kinds of thoughts “I want more, this isn’t enough food, I want to keep going, I should take more…”

      I use times/plans to help me a lot.

      I also accept my addictive desire in those moments as the trade off for feeling well, and for having all the benefits of eating less.

      I’m just wondering if the thoughts I have during every meal are due to that limbic activation as well. I have always wondered why I get the same thoughts at each meal. Sometimes it feels frustrating that they keep coming.

      I’m wondering if it’s just a normal brain response that humans have while eating and not something fundamentally flawed in my personal brain…

    • #5445
      Gillian
      Keymaster

      Yes, absolutely normal. That part of your brain – the limbic system – just wants you to eat and keep on eating, because otherwise you might die in the next famine. It cannot upgrade itself to modern times. Yes, the thoughts of wanting more are the expression of that desire.

    • #5446
      Leslie
      Participant

      Gillian, if there’s time today or next week, I’d like to hear a little more about limbic activity during eating. I’m mostly connecting thoughts like Julie describes (for me: This won’t be enough, I’m worried I’ll need more, etc.) to past habitual thinking, cues, and well wired neural pathways. It helps to see it, too, as limbic activation (is that what you’re saying? Or is that kind of the same thing? Confused!). Anyway, beginning to solidify my understanding of this might help me if it fits in! Thanks for posting, Julie.

    • #5447
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Leslie I see those thoughts as habitual thinking, cues, well wired neural pathways as well!

    • #5459
      Gillian
      Keymaster

      Leslie, I’m not sure about replying to, “I’d like to hear a little more about limbic activity during eating…” as I’ve no way to know your question. But, here goes…

      I believe the potential for dopamine release is always there in the limbic system (more so in some people than others), much like fertile ground. If seeds are sown and nurtured in that soil, plants of desire will readily take root and flourish. By “working through desire” they begin to wither and some even die off.

      Maybe we can think of eating a meal as planting more seeds, especially if it’s pleasurable, due to dopamine and opioid release. So although the largest plants can be kept pruned back, there’s a basic, ongoing weeding maintenance, just like any garden.

      Well, it makes sense to me!

    • #5460
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Thank you Gillian. This is brilliant. I love the explanation.

    • #5461
      Leslie
      Participant

      Yes, it’s very helpful for me, too (I suppose when I don’t have a super specific question, it means I just want to hear whatever Gillian has to say! 🙂 I like the garden imagery. Moving around flexibly at the base of a mountain is one I’m beginning to internalize as well.

      Yesterday I struggled with addictive desire and thought a lot about limbic activation. I decided to eat a healthy bowl of popcorn vs a buttered up one from my past. Through much of the bowl I was thinking about how I was going to have a second one – it wouldn’t be enough! – and I finished it unsatisfied. I think the cue of a bowl of popcorn (which dates years and years back) was so strong and I forgot to put the bowl down as I was eating and look at my addictive desire. It was swirling around in my head/chest even though I was following my times/plans. So I learned something about how the addictive feeling can come up anytime, not just when I’m choosing what to eat. It was pretty uncomfortable!

    • #5462
      Esther
      Participant

      Hi Leslie –
      I am experiencing the discomfort of sitting with addictive desire too – I cooked a roast for my partner and his daughter and grandson on Sunday, we had a box of chocolates that were given to us the week before by friends (that’s no present by the way 😂, and I’m still in disbelief I have not scoffed most of them already), and when we were all sat down together in the evening after the webinar my partners daughter (who is incidentally as thin as a rake ) had the munchies, she tucked into the chocolate, (was eating crisps, still eating left over roast at 9pm)addictive desire reared it’s ugly head and I felt like I was “missing out”, but was able to name it and sit with it even though it was uncomfortable. I was able to think to myself of how I would feel if I started mindlessly eating chocolate after having a proper tea, and I also reminded myself that I could eat all the chocolate if I wanted to, and there is plenty of chocolate In the world, even if she does eat them -so what ? I can go out and buy more IF I want to … It’s a real learning curve ! I sat there feeling uncomfortable for the most of the evening but felt like it was more of a way of working rather than sticking myself back in the diet cell..

      I don’t know about anyone else but I’m still working out what actually works for me food wise, today the food I planned as a snack did not work and I am reflecting on whether this is really because it was nutritionally not enough after a days slog or if it was just addictive desire or maybe both! The difference now is it’s not the end of the world (because I ate a little more than planned but nothing on the scale of previous munching or mindless eating as it wasn’t that mindless )and I will try again tomorrow with another variety of mid afternoon snack … it doesn’t mean it’s all over (as it would have in the past ).

    • #5468
      Gillian
      Keymaster

      It all sounds really good, Leslie.

      Please note Summer Time kicks in this weekend for you – but not for us in Europe.

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