Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gut Reaction

Gut Reaction: Immediate response.

I looked the definition of gut reaction up because I’ve been thinking a lot about how I respond to various things in my life and trying to figure out why I use food to soothe myself so many times. Most important, trying to figure out how to change that!

I found it interesting that when I read the definition, I didn’t really feel like that applied to me… however, when I looked at the synonyms, bells started ringing:

Synonyms: Pavlovian response, knee-jerk, reflex, spontaneous reaction, unthinking response

Anyone who knows anything about Pavlov and his dogs knows that those dogs were trained so that when a bell went off, they responded immediately by wanting food. Though no food was in sight the minute they heard the bell, they looked for food.
In modern times, the phrase "Pavlov's dog" is often used to describe someone who does not use logical and critical thinking, but merely reacts to a situation. In other words, an “unthinking response.”

I realized that I have become a Pavlov’s dog with certain things. My gut response, knee-jerk reaction is go for food. That needs to change and change fast if I ever hope to get where I want to be and stay there.

After an episode, usually in the midst of my food hangover, I run around thinking, “I’ve got to change that! I’ve got to stop that! I’ve got to get control of that!”

What really got me mulling all this over was Roxie’s post over at Gravel and Rust. She uses a phrase in there about re-wiring. It was like a light bulb went off. I can re-wire! I don’t have to respond with food! So, how do I do this? Has my unthinking reponse of food become more of a habit? Do I use the 21 day principal and undo that bad habit? Or, is it much more than that?

Now, I’m thinking, “I’ve got to REWIRE that!” I know it’s possible, I just have to figure out how to do it.

What would you do, or what have you done to REWIRE yourself?


  1. This is such a small thing so barely worth mentioning but it was a re-wiring in a way. I have always associated going to the movies with popcorn. An automatic response. We go frequently and movie theater popcorn is notoriously high in fat. One time I had a cup of hot tea (my local place has a coffee bar in the lobby - really nice) and just sipped on it since it was boiling hot. The popcorn still smells great but the hot tea or coffee keeps me busy and seems to satisfy the habit of having something at the movies.

    Great thought provoking post!

  2. Great post. During my clean day yesterday I was aware of several instances where my immediate instinct was to "get food". I was able to say "NO WAY" easily as I was in the aftermath of that horrible weight gain and related bad feelings, but as those pounds fall away, it'll be harder to not instantly respond to the instinct.

    Interestingly, I had a cup of tea one time yesterday, like Splurgie noted about the movies. Drinking the tea in teh middle of the afternoon felt so different that it settled me and reminded me of what I really want in the big picture, not in the panic of a moment.

  3. First of all I love your picture! Have I been under a rock or did you just post that?

    I have been trying to "rewire" myself to be in the moment. To not rush through everything to get it done. Being mindful of what I am doing and what is going in my mouth. No easy task after a lifetime of behaviors.

  4. I thought the same thing as Katie about your picture! It must be new - you look so pretty!

    I don't know how to do a re-wire; but I do know that something has clicked and my mindset HAS changed. Wish I could bottle it and give it to you!

  5. You added your picture! You're stunningly beautiful and don't look 50, more like you're in your 30's.

    The re-wiring, I've been thinking the same thing lately. Like I need to re-wire myself to think of food differently. Like it shouldn't be such a big focus in my life. One shouldn't live to eat but eat to live. A hard concept for me to grasp.

    My latest re-wiring technique - not always feeding the hunger. Sometimes, I just need to let it be what it is, hunger. It won't kill me. That's a new concept for me. :)

  6. blahblahblah about your beautiful photo. Ditto. (It is lovely. I'm jealous.)
    If you are an emotional eater (like so many people (and me) , you're up for continued big time fun and learning. Yay.

  7. Helen, I have that same emotional eating problem. It drives me crazy to realize I just ate something when I wasn't even hungry. Why, oh why?

  8. I used to turn to food during times of anger or stress, now I exercise it out.

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