Bodily Awareness and Behavior

Being aware of my body and how it responds to certain substances has molded my behaviors. The trick is to become so acutely aware of my response to stimuli that behavior modification and habit-changing routines can be established.

Quitting Tobacco

When I quit smoking in 2006, I was acutely aware of my body’s response to each cigarette. I was smoking about 4-5 cigarettes a day and could watch my breathing, blood pressure, and pets, and how they responded to each one.

  • I’d been told that I wasn’t compliant with my medication for high blood pressure, though I was.
  • I’d watch my cats move away from me when I lit a cigarette.
  • My breathing would become shallow, and it was hard to get a deep breath.
  • My appetite was lower for a moment, then I was ravenously hungry.
  • I could smell stale cigarettes on my hands, my clothes, and in my car.

That’s what it took for me to be ready to quit smoking cigarettes. I still needed help. I needed a crutch to wean off the habit. I needed counseling to make the change.

Fast Forward to 2018

I’m shedding what I hope is my last vice – carbohydrate addiction.
carb-laden foods

I’ve been having trouble remaing in “Ketosis” and falling prey to random carbs that fall within my vision. I find them very hard to resist. The KETO lifestyle isn’t working very well if I keep eating foods that are not on the food plan.

My awareness of my bodily response to carbs goes something like this:

  • I desire something sweet or crunchy or salty that is “snacky” in food type. (emotional checking out, which I’m dealing with in therapy)
  • Such a food comes across my path and I grab it.
    • My body produces the insulin needed to process the carbs and I get sleepy as my blood sugar rises.
    • No amount of coffee will help, only sleep.
  • I feel crappy after I come off my food-induced-coma and am starving.
  • My IBS acts up later in the day.
  • My joints hurt more, swell more and seem stiffer.
  • Acne is prevalent and non-specific to type of food.

I’ve used my body’s response to carbs (going to sleep) to my advantage at times. When I go camping, I carb-load the first night out so that I can sleep in the trailer or tent.  Otherwise, my mind keeps me awake and I have trouble getting up in the morning.

What I’ve noticed about the KETO diet the way I’m doing it when I’m compliant with the food plan:

  • My nails are stronger and more brittle. They will grow longer but need protection from shattering.
  • IBS is under control.
  • Inflammation is less debilitating.
  • Pain is lower.
  • My skin is more clear.

Of course, the weight loss is important, but the inches lost when I’m compliant are more impressive right now. I eat a healthy portion of food at each meal, though I eat less meals per day.

Conclusion

It seems that I have significant psychological attachment to the weight I carry, which I still address in therapy.

behavior modificationIt also seems that my late-day eating habit is causing difficulty. Intermittent Fasting isn’t working very well for me.  I end up eating late into the day and evening, right till bedtime.  I’m not sure what the late-day eating is about. When it’s confined to “compliant” snacks, such as olives or pickles, I can remain in Ketosis, but too often it ends up being carbohydrates late in the day.

I’ll have to watch this tendency to eat late. It has significant drawbacks in any lifestyle, and being tired reduces my ability to act with agency.

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