Tipping the Scales

“Is it possible to be mouth hungry but stomach full?” a friend asked – and I knew just what she meant. I look at chocolate and, stupidly, ask my watering mouth. Oh, yes it is definitely hungry, and ignores my sated stomach.

Is that why everyone is hooked on diets, in principle if not in practice? The taste and texture is so satisfying and so immediate and the subsequent overstuffed muggy feeling so distant. No wonder we have trouble saying no.

I have always been struck by our obsessive love-hate relationship with food – and the expressions:”sinful,” “decadent”, “death by chocolate.” We tempt ourselves, spoil ourselves, give in guiltily. We delight our taste buds and then hate ourselves. Is it worth it and how do we stop?

It suddenly came to me that we are asking the wrong question, and having the wrong conversation – a dialogue between warring parts. NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) teaches that the way we portray something to ourselves determines how we perceive and react to it. Change that and you change the way you handle it.

If, for example, you picture a project as large and looming, you will be cowed; Make your mental image smaller and it becomes more manageable. So how am I approaching chocolate? I present the feel of it to my mouth, whuch waters, then to my stomach to see if I am hungry. My mouth is closer to me and more immediate. “Just a small piece,” I placate – and am lost.

So instead I tried picturing an old fashioned weighing scale like a teeter-totter with baskets. In one I place the delicious feeling of chocolate swirling and melting on my palate. On the other, the bloated, regretful feeling I will have down the line.

This distances the food and I can see quite clearly that I don't want to feel heavy and bloated all night. The long term unpleasantness well outweighs the instant taste. It is easy to turn away. I have been using this for a time and find I am more considerate of my body in many ways. Just the fact of putting the decision out there instead of in here makes it much easier to see it clearly.

Yes, I have scales, but not in the bathroom – in my head!


About UntraveledRoads

Fascinated by life, looking for answers to chronic pain and finding unexpected gifts. Interested in people, ideas, healing and humour. I am very happily married with three children and a kitten. As English born immigrants to Canada, we have family spread overseas, a daughter in South Africa and one in England. We also run a charity in South Africa to educate black, rural South African Women. Our first girl from a rural township has just graduated as an accountant from Johannesburg University and got a good job in a bank.
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