Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dueling Desires

Is the weight about dueling desires, the mutually exclusive desires to eat and to be thinner? So which desire is stronger? But weight, on one side it is not just desire, but also a biological imperative also tipping the balance. So WTF now?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

On Desires

First, (desires vs needs) we need to understand what desires are and separate them from needs.

Needs are rational, logical, and arise from the body or the rational mind. There is no passion associated with needs. We don't needs chocolate (newfieism, nf). Plato termed them the white horse of reason, needs are logic based, we do need some food.

Desires arise from the automatic part of the brain and are connected to passion.  Plato termed them the black horse of passion, desires and passions are noncognitive, automatic mind responses, and are connected. These are deadly and can be classed as wants as " I wants it "(nf). Desire and passion for those desires are the deadly part. These can also arise consciousness, and must be rooted out to avoid eating because of them. These can be induced by the senses, temptation, availability, advertising, sight, smell, hearing, feeling. We can whet up desire easily by thinking how it would taste, feel, smell.

We need to separate desires into two types; appetition and volition. It is appetition group that give us the most trouble. These drive consumption. Volition can also be a issue, they can drive the act of eating.

Now what does (nf) we need to do to eliminate desires for food, or almost all desires? Buddha implied: extinguishing all desires is enlightenment.  Delusions, expectations, aversions, are all forms of desires. Vices are unskillful, virtues skillful. There is nothing wrong with skillful desires or impulses. Sense desires must be cut out completely. Skillful desires are ok, liberating and enhancing, while unskillful desires should be avoided and cause obsession, resentments, embittered negative issues.

One issue with food is too much desires. Beyond a point, some skillful desires become unskillful, and must be cropped. Over-consumption, OK.

Self-consciousness causes desires according to Kant. Passion is "agitation of the soul".
Stoics advise to live by virtue, and avoid vices. This is essentially the same thing Buddha recommends. Buddhists "generate desire" for the fostering of skillful qualities and the abandoning of unskillful ones.

So WTF does this have to do with overeating? Next we need to separate three more things; hunger, cravings and desires. Hunger is physical, cravings arise in the body or primal mind, desires  arise in the automatic mind, are whetted by senses, temptation, availability. Occasional the rational mind can give rise to desires, and these are attached to passion to give them life. So do I (we) suffer from excess hunger, cravings, or desires?

After much searching, I realized that it is desires that drive me, not cravings. These are within my control, and my responsibility, even though there is not modern training available that teaches how to control these not how to manage them either. This is a failing of modern society, and one more cause of the obesity epidemic.

Now I need to explore desire control.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On Habit

So if overeating is `just a habit` who does one address such a persistent habit?  The net does not offer much help. Overpower it with a new habit. So how does one overpower a necessity of life? Displace the habit? Just eat the prescribe bit of food and then go away. Yah sure. What about the craving or desire for more? Well it will not hurt you. Just ignore it. Yah Sure.

It is the craving or desire function that drives this whole problem. So how did the stoics handle excessive desires?
Suppression of desires.
Desires are the root of all evils, all vices, and slavery to organizations, money, property and other things. It is the desire for goods and services that drives consumerism. It is desire that drives greed, lust for power, property, prestige, control and the like. Freedom is not attained through the satisfaction of desires but through the suppression of desires. Diogenes lived free of desires, well so the book says. He did tell Alexander to get out of his sunlight, so he desired sunlight.

Desires are within our control, well sort of. We have control over them, they are generally within our power, except if the desire is from some physical or chemical source. When other polish it, to make it shiny, we can then metaphorically "piss all over them to make it unsuitable to consume." Brutal but effective. It is in the extinguishing or all desires that relief can be found.

So where does this all leave me? It is me that is primary on my mind, as it is with each person, even if few will admit that fact. Well I need to control my desires, and not let anyone polish them up to make them attractive. Perhaps with food it should be a small limit of freely consumable food, say for now spinach, cabbage, kale and perhaps boiled potatoes, but no fats with those. Limit all other foods to the prescribed quantities.  I do not know how else to eliminate desires yet. I have never been schooled in such things, other that to walk away muttering.

Expectations of how life should be, delusion of how life should be, and desires are intimately connected.  Inner peace is the result of no desires and living by virtue. No desires result in inner peace. Circular logic, either we have inner peace and no desires or we do not. It is a mental triple pole double throw switch, as with three phase delta connection, where ground is a true neutral. Rare, but possible. But we humans are guided by the dark horse of passion and the white horse of reason, but not equally so. We who have the passion higher have the more difficult time. Those who have higher reason guidance should be able to follow logic. Ah yes, but it is their logic, and we may not understand the reasons or their weighting of the reasons, as there is likely more than one. Perhaps that is the clue; to weight logic higher, to give some thing more emphasis or value, long term, or possible future pain, or current pain, in the case of weight management.

Understanding where my desires arise, and how to eliminate them may be the next challenge.

Any ideas? 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Or Habit

What if the problem with overeating is an automatism or habit? Then we need a replacement behavior of equal or better effect and longer duration than the existing habit.

Is the reason that overeating - obesity is so difficult to successfully treat, a problem of mistaken identity, we are trying to treat the symptom or object when the real issue is the habit. The behavior, learned behavior, and the simple method of treatment is replacement of an undesirable behavior with a better habit.

So what is a suitable habit for replacement?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Where to?

Where do I go from here? We need to start change at where we are. OK. So where do I go from here?
The problem that remains is lack of interest in doing anything. Most evenings I just want to sit, and the TV is on already. My eyes will not stand more reading. My body will not stand more activity. I have no sense of community, beyond a few hours each week, that is enough.  Other people seem to prefer time with others than me. Well OK. It has always been thus. It is likely my nature. Yous all are lucky, I did become more radical. Perhaps it is time to write a manifesto stating my beliefs.

Equality of all is a fine ideal, yet we are not equal. We have non-equal abilities, interests, skills, and personalities. Certainly not our earning potential. Knowledge was, at one time, worth something. Now with internet, not so much. It is only valuable if it is very specific, and is salable. If nobody is buying, tough. 

It is the outliers in personality that have issues, yet there is no method for identifying and correction of those personality characteristics that cause isolation. Isolation results from the lack of social contact, as those of us who were trained to survive alone, in isolation, may have personality issues. When it is more comfortable to be alone that to be abused by others, we will stay alone, more or less. So which came first, the personality issue or the isolation?  

So this is the dilemma. Lack of interest and isolation. That which I am interested in, the mob is not. That which the mob is interested in, I am not. A Stoic description, but it fit me.

OA and AA is a religion in my opinion. To me, it is only my opinion that matters in my decisions. AA is dependent on faith, has rituals and tradition, a set of beliefs, and is resistant to change or correction when parts are demonstrated to be wrong. Belief in a god is just wrong, it is a wrong concept, but we need to have a belief system. Belief in a rational human system would be better,  but that would require cooperation and submission of some concepts. It would require time and study, and in the end, does anyone care? Some will understand, some will not. So what. Carry on.

That is not to say that OA/AA is not without value. The steps describe some of the processes many of us need to go through to clean up our lives; yet it includes a god concept, that is not needed but the overall message is simple enough to teach to the masses. Programs do promote a sense of community, but a unchanging devotion to a system which I struggle with because of the god concept and the limitations placed by the program meme. It must hold true to the meme philosophy. Perhaps I need a new life meme.

What is needed is a understanding of the processes required; a summing of AA/OA, psychological, SMART, Peele, DiClemente, Stoicism, and Buddhism processes to under one hat or tent.

We would then understand a bunch of concepts useful for life
  • What is up to us and what is not up to us
  • Living by nature, rationally, with virtue, 
  • Temperance in all things and pleasures
  •  Life in the present time, present moment, our relationship with time
  • Consistency, all day, day to day
  • Contentment and satisfaction, joy
  • knowing that all mankind are born to cooperate
  •  a sense of community, 
  • equality of all, 
  • gratitude for life as it is, 
  • an sense of wonder,
  • within our priorities. 
There again we need to understand our precognitions, what we now believe, and clean out the garbage.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Letting go

What does it mean to let for of the food? More correctly from a stoic point of view, the desire to eat is within our control. We can therefore counter the desire to eat, and go do something else. Easily said, not so easy to do, or is it? But the desire is always there, weak but there, sometimes strong but there. That feels like a craving, but what if it has a physical cause? Hyperinsulinema? Excess ghrelin? Adrenalin? Adrenalin is a natural response to stress, anxiety, even mild allergy, the body dumps out a bunch if adrenalin to deal with the issue, and adrenalin cause hunger through the re-feed cycle.  So it is a natural effect to feel hunger from stress, anxiety, boredom, etc.

Now one more twist in all this. Sugar, or more exactly high blood glucose, and also high insulin are both relaxants. So we want to relax, we eat carbohydrates, the "comfort" foods. Now we know addiction is typically a cue-consume-benefit-want more (crave)-consume-cycle over again and over again-until we can stop problem. We get a benefit, we like the feeling, and this would not be a problem if we did not eat too much. There is the problem, we can be addicted and yet limit eating to a suitable amount, and not get clear of the problem, problem foods.

So letting go of the food is not what we must do, but let of desire to eat may be what is meant, in stoic terms. We must let go of the desires in general.

and about the net:  

But then perhaps we are looking for the other thing when we need to:
Learn to become content with a minor amount of food.
Learn to become content with less food.
Learn to become content.
Become content.

Stoic world view

Monday, October 20, 2014

Reasons we eat

The following is a summary of concepts, stimulated by KK.

When we get here, we are beyond lack of food knowledge issues. Those are required, but not sufficient to correct the problem. Self observation through meditative state or conscious patient observation will be required. That is shutting down your mind for a period of time, and watching what we are thinking. (see Jon Kabit-Zinn or equivalent if required) 

The difference between eating and overeating is in our utilization of energy since the last meal. If we eat more than we have used since the last meal, we are overeating. Food energy computations and estimates of used energy will be sufficiently accurate to divide the two. The scales is the ultimate test.

Hunger can be out of control, causing us to overeat. This is typically insulin resistance. Eliminate enough sugars, starches, carbohydrates, eat enough good hard fats, and this should reduce to make it manageable.  For true mild hunger, and a small amount of good hard fats will remove true hunger, as will warm liquids. If in doubt, fast for a couple of days and watch hunger. (Lustig, Taubes, Kessler, Moore, McNoughen, LoBag, Low-carb)

If we are overeating, and hunger is in control and not the issue, we must be dealing with cravings and/or:

  • Willful overeating, the FU's (See the Stages of Change, DiClemente)
  • stimulating desire, by self or others (See SMART, Peele, Epictetus)
  • habit, automatic plate cleaning, trained in behaviors (retrain yourself, the Stoics)
  • physical driven cravings, excess ghrelin, hyper insulinemia, leptin issues (learn to live with these problems, and there are some medical interventions possible)
  • Environment or temptation issues, living in a high food environment, low impulse control, continual baiting, hyperpalatible foods, prepaired, inviting, (change your environment, change yourself, or learn to cope)( if you try to change others behaviors... I wish you good luck)
  • Maladaptive behavior, eating over stress, boredom, anxiety, emotions, never learned to deal with emotions, stress, torpor, life, relationships, behaviors, beliefs, values, ethics, virtues, vices. This includes eating disorders. (learn to deal with life, issues, people, events, adopt or develop  a belief system)
  • Food addiction, chemical, (abstinence is the only solution). 
  • There may be other undefined causes
These are not logic based, rational problems. So without understanding the causes (likely) it will be difficult to stop overeating. Each of the foregoing is a group of causes, with specific issues fitting into one group, but there may be other issues.

Cravings can arise from four areas:

  • Body, pure chemical
  • primal mind, body-mind interface
  • automatic mind, unconscious mind
  • rational mind, conscious mind
The source will dictate how to deal with the craving. Mediation can show the source, or blunt force effort to eliminate the craving, regardless of the source. Remove the cause, remove the craving. For some there is much to know, while others can quickly remove the current problem.

Understanding our actual belief system, and having our belief system in the conscious mind, along with our personal priorities list is part of knowing ourselves.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Canadian Thanksgiving is over

Recovery from overeating and traditional holiday have nothing in common. We overeaters are not supported by those around us who pile the house full of tasty but poisons foods. They sabotage, destroy, vandalize, etc. any environmental controls we may have had.

For those of us who live with others, there are no non-program "helping relationships". Other people do not get it. Those processes of change do not work for us, but against us. WTF do I even try? 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Stoicism + Buddhaism = ?

Aha   duha  what?

 How well does Buddhism and Stoicism match? Well the emphasis out of phase. Stoics say virtue is necessary and sufficient for a good life. Buddha says do right knowledge, intent, speak actions, livelihood,  effort, mindfulness, concentration for a good life. Sounds like ethics to me.

Impermanence, well yes both b & s, is is contemplating our own death. No permanent self both.
Nature as the ruler yes.

Much is the same, but the emphasis is different. So what.

Karma give purpose, vs working together to satisfy human nature for food and propagation.

But what doe I know?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Acceptance - another Christian Concept

Acceptance - another Christian concept. Delving into stoicism/ skepticism ( the ancients)  and having delved into Buddhism, some concepts take on a flavor of the religion. Flavored philosophy from where they came. How is that possible, I here the skeptics scream. It is not so much the flavor of the religion, as the need of the people who believe in that particular flavor of brain washing. We are all unconsciously "brain washed" into believing whatever in our growing up, and until we clean up those beliefs we will tarry there.

Stocism separates what are our responsibilities are, for and against, what were are not responsible for in no uncertain terms. We need not accept history for it is fact, we cannot change it, we need not accept the future for it is not. We need to not accept stuff outside or us for it is not any of my concern. It is up to me to live in the present, without fear of the future, nor concern for that which is beyond my control nor for the past, as it is but history. To extinguish all desire to have or influence those things beyond my control is freeing. Acceptance is, as a result a minor part of my personal philosophy. Self acceptance of where I am at in my life, and acceptance that I live in an insane world, populated with crazies, is a different matter. Those are real, present and none of my business. Nature will just have to take care of herself.

What does this have to do with food issues. I personally am responsible for my behaviors, well at least the intention to act or not. The action itself may be beyond my control. I am responsible for my beliefs, habits, values. I am not responsible for those biologically driven cravings that grind on my mind (those primal lizard parts, that is body, beyond my control). At time the only reason to eat is to relieve those mind grinding cravings. Our personality and attitudes are built up by our culture, environment, and the like over our lifetime until we realize that. Now we can clean our beliefs, values and become a responsible for our beliefs authentic human being with purpose in our lives, whatever that may be.

In my working life, my purpose was "to provide information to build on", well at least some of the time. The remainder was spent figuring out what went wrong, and how to fix it. Some was done to support myself and my future. My future is now, and I need to fill this big hole in my life, time wise, that retirement has created, hence I have time to study this overeating problem. This study has led me here and there, good fun, sometimes useful information shows up, sometimes the information is less so. Some blind channels. Christianity looks like a misdirect. Oh well.

Personality is layered on top of the physical brain and learned skills and somewhere in that mix. If critical observation and analysis are there, we still have two choices, to chose not to analysis, or to withhold any comment. The automatic response can be silence, not for any reason than there is enough noise in the world. What can I add?


in response to

Friday, October 3, 2014


Now that we have met the triune brain, I will say there are three general or potential sources for the desire for food, a physical, secondly emotional, third - rational. That is not saying that there are only three sources. A few days back, I listed the physical causes.      So within the physical category, any one of these can be driving the desire to eat. Now how do we know which one?

Knowing the cause, it would be nice to remove the cause, and give relief.  Insulin / insulin resistance can be relieved to a large degree by going Low Carb, or LowBAG, low bio-available glucose. These plans are interesting in that they remove all sugar and grains, potatoes, rice, sugar rich fruits and similar sources of glucose, all processed foods, and hence return us to something paleo to primal type food plan. We need to watch for quantity creep, but they do remove the food desires. This concept helped a great deal in the beginning during weight loss. But all good things come to an end, we adapt to the lower glucose level, and insulin resistance grows. The desire for food returns, or is it from a different source? How does one tell? The only way to know the cause is to treat it, and if the problem is removed... maybe, we have found the cause.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Triune brain


Triune brain

 Paul D. MacLean
 The triune brain consists of the reptilian complex, the paleomammalian complex (limbic system), and the neomammalian complex (neocortex), viewed as structures sequentially added to the forebrain in the course of evolution.

The reptilian complex, also known as the R-complex or "reptilian brain" was the name MacLean gave to the basal ganglia, structures derived from the floor of the forebrain during development. The term derives from the fact that comparative neuroanatomists once believed that the forebrains of reptiles and birds were dominated by these structures. MacLean proposed that the reptilian complex was responsible for species-typical instinctual behaviors involved in aggression, dominance, territoriality, and ritual displays.

The paleomammalian brain consists of the septum, amygdalae, hypothalamus, hippocampal complex, and cingulate cortex. MacLean first introduced the term "limbic system" to refer to this set of interconnected brain structures in a paper in 1952. MacLean's recognition of the limbic system as a major functional system in the brain was not widely accepted among neuroscientists, and is generally regarded as his most important contribution to the field. MacLean maintained that the structures of the limbic system arose early in mammalian evolution (hence "paleomammalian") and were responsible for the motivation and emotion involved in feeding, reproductive behavior, and parental behavior.

The neomammalian complex consists of the cerebral neocortex, a structure found uniquely in higher mammals, specifically humans. MacLean regarded its addition as the most recent step in the evolution of the mammalian brain, conferring the ability for language, abstraction, planning, and perception.

An old theory based on behavior, but there is little doubt about three sources of motivation to eat, a physical, an emotion - automatic, and a rational. We have only power over the ration, which has never driven me to eat anything, but it is the only brake on the eating system.

Over at my other blog we have experts blowing smoke and telling us that the intellectual part is in control. Perhaps for them, but not for most of us. We (I) need to sell it to the emotional/physical part of me before recovery can happen. 

It is a lot to absorb. It may take a day or two. Ah well, life goes on.