Ep13: Eliminating Desire and Food Urges

Episode Description:

The one where we talk about why you have such a strong desire for certain foods and how you can learn to manage your urges, not just resist or give in to them. Be able to be around any food and no longer desire it!
To view the show notes, ask a question, or leave a comment, visit www.AmyLatta.com/BWLW13.

Episode Show Notes:

Desire is a feeling that we have learned and we can unlearn it.
Our over-desire for food, coupled with the overeating that we have discussed in episodes 11 and 12, can lead to weight gain; and make it hard to keep weight off after we have lost it.
Our over desire comes from:
  1. Neurotransmitters in our brains that give us a hit of dopamine when we perpetuate our habits and when we consume concentrated foods or activities
  2. The marketing of processed foods and the societal norms that perpetuate overeating.
  3. Not realizing that desire is an emotion that we can control by managing our minds.
Over desire is also related to:
  1. Willpower – this is resisting our desires and urges. Resisting actually creates more desire
  2. The Power of Now – we think Now is good, and we don’t want to wait or think about it.
  3. The Power of Delay – this requires conscious thought is what separates us from the other animals
The key to overcoming desire is to allow your urges to overeat and for certain foods.
Be willing to be uncomfortable and know that you are not going to die – no matter what your brain says – if you do not give into your desire.
So start collecting urges! See the action item for this week.
Books Referenced:
“Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us” by Michael Moss
Action Item:
Start collecting urges! Start an Evernote file, grab a notebook. Collect 100 urges. Every time you feel desire for food. Grab your notebook and write down…How does it feel, what was happening, where did it come from. How did it feel to get to the other side.
Building Community:
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Share this episode with someone who struggles with giving into food urges!
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Episode Transcription:

You are listening to Business Women Losing Weight with Amy Latta, episode number 13!
(Music) Welcome to Business Women Losing Weight, a community for those women business owners so laser focused on building their businesses….they have been sacrificing their health! Together we’re going to get back your time, get back your energy, and get what you say you want.
I’m your host, Amy Latta, and I’m all in! Are you comin’ with me? Let’s take care of you so you can take care of business!

Hello Hello my friends! How are you?
I am doing so great! Ya’ll know how out of the ordinary my last three months were – with moving, my grandmother dying, and launching the podcast. And honestly, I feel like this week is my first real week back at normal life!
A normal school schedule and sports schedule and work schedule. No trips planned out of town, no major life events. What is this life even! It’s wonderful and amazing to just live normal busy life instead of moving life, mourning life, and product launch life  – all at the same time.
One thing I noticed during this out of the ordinary time of my life is that my desire for comfort foods was strong. The last two episodes of Business Women Losing Weight, we talked about the physical reasons we overeat, specifically about hormones, and neurotransmitters, and that pesky dopamine.
So it’s a great shift to talk about our desire. Because it’s all related. Now, I know why my desire for foods and overeating those foods were strong these few months. Do you?
A common thing I hear from potential clients in our mini-sessions is how do they maintain their weight loss. Very common question. They hunkered down and leaned on willpower and resistance to lose the weight for the short term, but now what? How do you keep it off?
Well, most diet plans don’t ever address your desire and your food urges.
Most diet plans say “Here. Eat this. Don’t eat that. Go exercise.”
How do you address your food urges? You just don’t eat the food.
We’ve been taught that willpower will get us through. Throw out all the temptation. Avoid what triggers you.
Resist and avoid!
But this doesn’t actually help us with our desire for food, now does it? Nor does it teach us how to handle it when the urge to dive head first into a batch of chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes overcomes us.
And living in a plastic bubble filled with lettuce and lean protein for the rest of your life probably isn’t going to cut it either! No worries, my Grown Ass Women. I have your back! Today we are talking all about eliminating desire and food urges! Sexy and exciting stuff, but so freakin’ important! Cause you want to live like a naturally thin person, right?
So what is really at play here? Paired with that overeating we’ve talked about so far in the podcast, we have over desire. An over desire for the very foods that will not help us lose weight and live naturally thin. And there’s a reason of our over desire.
Three reasons, actually.
Number 1 was what we talked about in our Create New Habits episode last week, episode 12. Our neurotransmitters are literally wired to give us a nice little dopamine hit when we follow familiar patterns.
You always turn to chocolate chip cookies when stressed? Well, every time you do that, you get a little dopamine hit and boy, that feels so good!
Number 2 is the food industry. And the marketing of food to us. There’s a reason all the commercials on TV and all the coupons in the Sunday paper are for foods highly concentrated in sugar and flour.
Number 3 is our undeveloped skill of handling our own emotions. We think we are at the mercy of Desire. This is not true!
So first off – what is desire? It’s a feeling. It’s true. Desire is just a feeling.
Whether coaching someone on a mini-session or a client three months in on one of my programs, I’ll ask them what they are feeling. What’s the one-word emotion you are feeling right now?
And Desire can be one of those emotions.
Now, we think desire has control over us, that we cannot control desire.
Eh. Not true. If you have been playing along, where do emotions come from? Why do we feel what we feel?
Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
The answer is…we feel what we feel because of what we think. Right?
The self-fulfilling prophecy model that is the basis of the podcast you are listening to….
What we choose to think – and we always have a choice – determines how we feel. And it follows that how we feel determines our actions and our actions determines our results.
So if you are feeling desire for a food…that is coming from what you are choosing to think.
Notice that I say Choosing a lot! I will always remind you that you have a choice in what you think.
That’s my goal of this podcast in general – most of us are not conscious about all the thoughts in our brain, so we think that desire just is. Like all of our emotions, we think we don’t have any control over how we feel. I hope over the course of this podcast and listening week after week that you become more aware of how you are feeling and what you are thinking and how you can learn to create whatever you want in your life by learning to see your thoughts for what they are and learn to change them to create the life you want.
No big deal, right!? It’s just the secret to an amazing life.
So Desire is a learned emotion and we can unlearn it.
Super cool.
And totally doable.
Realize that every time you reward your desire, you are strengthening your desire. Remember those neural pathways that we talked about in last week’s episode.
And how the more you reward…the more you need of the thing you are desiring in order to achieve the same dopamine hit. This is neuroscience – albeit very basic neuroscience.
Also remember how were talked last week about how some of what we want is concentrated. Us humans have taken naturally occurring things, and we concentrate them, which just increases our desire! Because we sure do like dopamine!
We naturally desire food. And sugar and flour, and beer and wine, is concentrated food.
We naturally desire sex. And porn is concentrated sex.
We naturally desire connection. And Facebook and Twitter is concentrated connection.
We naturally desire relaxation and entertainment. And Netflix is concentrated entertainment.
The more the concentration of what we desire, the higher the dopamine hit. And this is false pleasure. Because we always need more to maintain the same sense of pleasure…it’s not real.
That is not real pleasure. That’s not true joy.
Grandma’s cookies don’t lead to happiness and joy. They lead to a dopamine hit, a chemical reaction in your brain that gives you the false sensation of pleasure.
That often is accompanied by a drop in that pleasure….leading you to just want more.
Do you see why we jokingly tap our veins when we talk about sugar and coffee and all those things we are jokingly addicted to? Except it’s really not funny, because our aren’t experiencing true happiness and joy.
We are constantly driving up our desire for the very foods we know we should not be eating in order to lose weight and live naturally thin. And it seems like we are eating against our own will! This is why we say “I will not overeat at the party this weekend,” and then wake up in a food hangover the next day. And of course, that food hangover often brings on guilt and shame. Which feels shitty. And we just want to feel better. And what makes us feel better?
Well, you and I know that changing our thinking will help us feel better.
But since most of humans walking around are not consciously aware of their thinking…they’re brains are that toddler throwing a fit in a restaurant screaming…just gives us the dopamine and we will feel better! Gimme a cookie!
So we think overeating those concentrated foods will be what makes us feel better.
Moving past this over desire feels so difficult. That is why when we embark on a typical weight loss program, and we use willpower to avoid eating the foods we shouldn’t eat…eventually we give in. And we can’t maintain our weight loss.
But understanding how desire – and dopamine and neurotransmitters – are working in our brain…then we get ahead of it. And we can rely on our brilliant selves and our functioning proactive brain and not willpower to avoid the sugary, floury foods.
As I mentioned before, the second reason for our over desire is the heavy marketing of crap foods to us. Food manufacturers are not dumb. They have entire teams of people devoted to studying how the average human responds to their foods. They study satiation. They study tongue feel. That’s actually a thing. They spend months, years even, perfecting just the right amount of sugar, fat, and salt to create a food you just cannot resist.
If this is a subject you want to geek out on, I highly recommend the book “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us” by Michael Moss, which is about the food industry’s purposeful and deliberate manipulation of our food supply in order to make Desire Addicts out of all of us and keep growing their profits.
Unless that’ll just piss you off, because it will piss you off!
The more candy, the sugary foods, the more flour-based foods, the more unnatural foods that we eat, the more we want. Now, we have learned as of late that in the 1960s, the sugar industry paid scientists to say that it is Fat, not sugar, that makes people fat. And that stands to reason – fat equals fat. But it’s just not true. And science backs this up. If you listened to episode 11 on hormones, you learned all about insulin and insulin resistance – and it’s the overabundance of sugar that leads to an overabundance of insulin that leads to an overabundance of fat being stored in our bodies.
So they convinced us that low fat, high carbohydrate foods – think sugar and flour foods – were the key to health.
Who here thought they would lose weight on Snackwells cookies in the mid-90s? Right? I ate the crap out of those. A typical weekly grocery trip up to the Walmart in my small college town included Devil’s Food Snackwells, with a 12 pack of coke and a bottle of apple juice. And I wonder why I packed on 30 pounds in college? All that sugar! Holy cow. Not to mention nights at the bars and 3am Taco Bell runs. But I digress.
We were told, per commercials and the federal government – that we should be eating grains the most, the fats the least. We all remember that food pyramid. So it should come as no surprise that we all got much fatter during this time! We learned it, our brains believed it, and then we rewarded it with all that dopamine. And then we went and had our own kids and taught them the same thing.
No wonder our desire for those foods is so strong!
Not to mention, that this is part of the cultural conditioning and beliefs around what is normal eating. We are supposed to get immense joy and pleasure from food, right? All the memes tell us so. Every commercial on TV reiterates that. Movies and TV shows back that up. If you don’t love Christmas cookies, there must be something incredibly wrong with you! I know once upon a time, I thought people who said they didn’t like chocolate or ice cream were crazy.
Actually, I remember when I went through coaches training when our master coach asked us who would be okay to eat nutritionally dense, but tasteless sawdust bars for the rest of our lives. And some people raised their hands. I looked around the room like as if I was sitting among psychopaths! What is wrong with these people!?
We should enjoy our food. We’re supposed to enjoy our food! If we don’t derive enjoyment from our food…um, that’s the point of living!
I became known as the Marinara girl in class. Because I raised my hand and said, “Whoa, whoa, now wait a minute! I am a foodie! And I teach my people that they should only eat what they love! What’s this we shouldn’t LOVE our food non-sense!” And I went on to describe the pleasure and enjoyment of cooking….like when you’re chopping garlic, and fresh basil, and onions, and tomatoes….and our teacher stopped me and said, “So you are that in love with marinara?” It was funny, but I can tell you I was incredibly uncomfortable.
Being a foodie defined me. I can’t tell you the amount of self-coaching it has taken to get past my belief that Food Must Be Joyful.
And that leads me to that third reason for our over desire for food. Is that most of us have never been taught how to manage our own minds. Can you imagine, that as a child, instead of learning that food is joy, I learned that I was emotionally responsible for myself?
That would have saved decades of grief, not to mention 20 years of yo-yo dieting.
Imagine learning that we can feel stress and anxiety and boredom and not have to overeat in order to feel better. I mean, that’s not mind blowing or life changing or anything, right?
Listen, our brains were designed to avoid pain. That’s the amygdala. It’s responsible for our survival and that worked very well when there were literal saber tooth tigers outside the cave. But now that we live relatively non-threatened lives, our amygdala’s are all a bit off. And we think that a bad day at the office or a client ending their contract – or any situation that creates stress is a survival issue. And it says, “Oh crap, we’re in pain! We are all going to die. Where are Grandma’s Cookies?” Or the bottle of wine or the giant bowl of fettuccine Alfredo or the tub of Cherry Garcia.
Our brains seek false pleasure to ease our pain. Which, as we have learned through every empty bottle of chardonnay, only compounds our pain. And makes it worse. And we then we seek more false pleasure.
So what I want to do for you – what I teach my clients who coach with me – is not how to manage our desire to overeat, but how to eliminate it all together. Yes, you can eliminate your over desire for food. Managing our desire to overeat – through willpower and resistance – is treating the symptom. We want to treat the cause – which is over desire.
The reason we struggle to maintain our weight loss is that when we cut out sugar and flour and the amount of food we eat in general, without addressing the issue of desire, we are actually increasing that desire for food by withholding it. Willpower is a finite resource. This is us trying to resist our urges to overeat. And it’s why you can often resist while you are losing weight, but once you hit goal weight or good enough weight, your reason for not eating all those foods you desire isn’t as compelling. And you can rationalize your way around willpower.
Like…
I hit my goal weight, I can eat this now!
Or….I had a really crappy day! We came way under sales projections and the whole world may be ending, so what’s a little nachos and margaritas gonna hurt.
Or…it IS my friend’s wedding! I mean, I can’t NOT eat and drink everything in front of me!
We also have the Power of Now going on. For the same reasons we buy stuff on credit instead of wait until we’ve saved up for it. Our brains have evolved to believe that the pleasure of having something now is good. If it feels good. It must be good. Now is good. I don’t want to wait to eat the cookie, I want to eat it now.
The Power of Now is the opposite of The Power of Delay. The power of now is run by our subconscious brain, our primitive brain sure we are going to die, like right now, so give us pleasure pleasure pleasure! That amygdala whose goal is our survival.
The Power of Delay is run by our conscious brain, or our prefrontal cortex. Listen guys, we are human beings and it is awesome that we can think about what we think about! It is what sets us apart from the other mammals walking this earth. That we can override our immediate desires and that Power of Now in favor of our long-term well being.
The Power of Now says “You had a terrible day and you deserve to eat until you feel emotionally better!”
The Power of Delay says “You know that is temporary, and continuing to do so will keep the weight on, and that is not healthy for our bodies. And that is not the path to true joy.”
Like, you didn’t know all that was going on in your brain, right? You just thought cookies sounded really good right now.
But now that we understand all of that going on…we can manage it. Using our highest level of consciousness! Because we are grown ass women who are emotionally responsible for our lives! We can decide that we are going to delay that sense of pleasure – which is false pleasure anyway – so that we can reduce desire over time.
So what are we going to do when the desire hits? When the urge to dive head first into a batch of chocolate chip cookies is on us in that moment!
Well, we can resist it. And we know that’s willpower and is only temporary and eventually…we’re going to give in.
We can avoid it! Which, let’s think about that. That means living in a plastic bubble and trying to control the entire world so that we never ever see anything we ever have a desire for. Completely and totally not doable!
Or we can allow them. And process them.
What does it mean to allow an urge?
Think about the last time you had an urge to overeat. The last time that toddler went off in the restaurant, threw that fit, and demanded you give it a cookie or else.
At first, for me, I get fidgety. Anxious. I can feel it in my arms and shoulders.
There’s a slight buzzing in my head.
I’ll find myself standing in front of the fridge or the pantry, door wide open. Wildly searching for something.
Anything. Right?
And then you slam the door, because you said you were NOT going to eat that or drink that.
So then it gets really uncomfortable. I’m purposely taking myself there right now in my mind, and my hands are actually drumming! My foot is twitching!
I know you’ve been here.
What if you just allowed this uncomfortableness?
We have mistakenly learned – we have mistakenly trained our brains to believe that we should feel good and be happy all the time. That’s the Power of Now! And irony of the Power of Now that is this just perpetuates our unhappiness!
But if we learn to process emotions – to take emotional responsibility, we stop needing to escape with food.
Here’s the cool thing. All that buzzing and fidgeting and anxiety – if I am willing to just sit in it and allow it. I realize that it isn’t going to kill me. Yes, my brain will be shouting that we’re all going to die, but we aren’t.
And the more I practice that, the more my brain learns…hey. Maybe I won’t die. Maybe it is okay to be unhappy or uncomfortable.
When you realize that you can feel any emotional – positive or negative – and those emotions are just vibrations in our bodies. We can allow any food urge and still not overeat.
This takes practice. I know that sounds tedious, but realize that you are already practicing overeating, and we just get better at whatever we are practicing!
So let’s start practicing what serves us!
So all your urges for food or drink (or Facebook or Netflix!) are caused by thoughts. Most of which we are not conscious of. So let’s start getting conscious.
The best way to do that is start allowing your urges. Start collecting them!
It’s kinda like in sales, right? You want to collect Nos, because the more Nos you get, the more Yes’ you will accumulate and the more success you will have!
The more urges you allow, the better you will get at feeling negative emotion and the more successful you will be in your weight loss.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s a win every single time.
So start allowing your urges. Let the desire for foods come over you. Don’t let desire scare you – remember, you feel desire because of your brain’s need for dopamine; because of carefully marketed foods and societal norms; because you have just learned that desire is a feeling, and you can create any feeling you want buy managing your thoughts.
Know that that uncomfortable feeling won’t go away by resisting it or avoiding it. Long term, it will only go away by allowing it to be there!
I want you to start collecting these urges. Shoot for collecting 100 urges.
Start a file. Maybe in your Evernote, or in a journal or notebook.
Every time you feel an urge for sugar or cakes or any foods that you have decided you are not going to eat, write it down. Write down what it feels like, what you are thinking. How you managed it.
Allow it to happen. Don’t be afraid of it. Tell that screaming toddler in your brain that everything is going to be okay, and you not going to give it what it wants.
You will think this is tedious. And probably very annoying.
Well, how annoying is it to not be able to be around certain foods without feeling completely out of control?
How annoying it is it to start yet another diet, hoping that willpower and resistance will see you through?
How annoying is it to not be able to maintain?
How annoying is it to have a shitty relationship with food?
Listen, this is completely doable. But you do have to get really honest with yourself.
Do you want to lose your desire for foods that do not serve you?
Are you willing to let those foods go?
It’s super important that you consider your answers to those questions.
When I was in coaches training, I was not willing to let marinara go. I was actually angry at first, that my master coach insisted I could live my life without getting pleasure and joy from food. ANGRY.
I had to have a coach help me with these emotions. And I was in training to be a coach!
But understand that if you are not willing to let go of your desire for foods and overeating, you will struggle to keep your weight off.
And if here you are, on episode 13, and you’re still with me, I ask that you consider that letting go of your desire to eat whatever you want whenever you want will lead to more energy, more happiness, and living as a naturally thin person. Imagine that as a powerful business woman, with more energy and more happiness – what that will do for your business!
It’s completely possible. And you start by simply collecting urges.
So, probably not too hard to see what our action step for this week is. Start that Evernote file, grab that notebook.
Start collecting your urges. How does it feel, what was happening, where did it come from. How did it feel to get to the other side.
And I want to announce that I have big push here in September and October. (Which, if you are listening to this podcast at any other time, this part may not make a lot of sense!) But November and December are coming, and that’s often the time of year when our desire is through the roof! And we think we have to wait until January before we do anything about it.
And that’s just not true. Why not get a head start on January? What if you started the year with no New Year’s resolutions! Because you were already being coached on how to eliminate desire and handle food urges!
Find out what it’s like to have your brain coached by scheduling your free 30 minute mini-session with me. I won’t be doing these in November and December, because I want all my time to go to helping my clients with desire and overeating during the holidays, when it matter most. And to spend the rest of my time enjoying MY family during the holidays.
Yes, this session is absolutely free. This is not a scam. I know that most people don’t really know what it means to be coached, and this gives you a chance to see what it’s like.
Maybe its perfect for you. Maybe it’s not. But you won’t know if you don’t try.
And if I think I can help you, I will share my coaching offers with you and then you can decide if it’s a fit or not.
There’s no pressure on my end, and you will walk away with feeling better no matter what!
Typically, I only offer five free session a week. The week before, all five filled up right away, and one new client signed on.
Last week, no one scheduled a free session. Which is seriously stupid, because I’m an awesome coach.
So don’t assume it’s not for you. Don’t assume that you’re taking someone else’s spot.
Schedule your session now at AmyLatta.com/coaching. Because you are going to rock through the holidays, not be a slave to Christmas cookies.
Alright, my Grown Ass Women! I believe in you. Who do you know that needs to hear this episode? Who do you know who struggles with maintaining and overeating and desire for food? Share it with them. Let them know that there is help, there’s another way, and we are a tribe of Grown Ass Women who have their back.
Alright, you have been listening to Business Women Losing Weight with life and weight coach Amy Latta. And until Next Week…let’s go do Epic Stuff.

About Amy Latta

Amy Latta is a life coach helping female entrepreneurs lose weight. Some entrepreneurs struggle with not enough time and not enough energy, and are so laser focused on growing their businesses, they sacrifice their health - not realizing their personal health is imperative to the health of their business. Women hire Amy to help them get an extra hour or two back in their day while figureing out why they don't do what they say they're going to do. The result being more time, more energy, and weight loss. When she's not building her own business, you can usually find Amy on her yoga mat or experimenting in the kitchen. When in doubt, bring her guacamole.

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