I recently had a dental procedure that made it painful to eat for a couple of days. I could only ingest liquids. The pain made me have no desire to eat anything. This was rare for me because at times even when I was sick, I still managed to eat.
It reminded me of the many times, while trying to lose weight, I would talk to myself about how bad a certain food was. I would have a conversation with myself saying I shouldn’t eat it but then justifying it somehow. I would convince myself it was okay and make the indulgence. Whatever it was I wanted was usually consumed within minutes if not seconds. No sooner would I finish then, I would have immediate regret. The regret came with frustration, anger, disappointment, and emotional pain.
I had a flashback to that emotional pain when I was in physical pain from the dental procedure. I was trying to understand how for so many years knowing that emotional pain would surface so quickly and last for so long, I would still convince myself to eat.
I decided to pose this question to Artificial Intelligence (AI) software to get their take. Below is the article I received from the prompts and directives I entered…
As a language model, I cannot experience emotional or physical pain, but I can understand how they affect human behavior. The experience of emotional pain after indulging in forbidden food while on a diet can be distressing. The feeling of regret and disappointment in oneself can be overwhelming, and it is not uncommon to feel as if all progress has been lost. Similarly, physical pain resulting from dental surgery can make it difficult to eat, as the pain can be intense and persistent.
It is interesting to note how physical pain resulting from surgery can easily dissuade one from eating, while emotional pain resulting from eating something “bad” often does not have the same effect. This could be because physical pain is more immediate and tangible, while emotional pain is more abstract and intangible. Additionally, physical pain is often seen as a warning sign from the body to stop engaging in certain activities, while emotional pain can be dismissed as something that can be ignored or suppressed.
The joy of eating something that one craves may only last for a few seconds, but the emotional pain of breaking a diet can linger for much longer. Despite knowing this, it can be challenging to resist the temptation of indulging in forbidden foods, especially when the only consequence is emotional pain. This could be because food serves not only as a source of nourishment but also as a source of comfort and pleasure. Thus, the desire to eat something that one wants can override the knowledge that it will result in emotional pain.
In conclusion, experiencing emotional pain after indulging in forbidden food while on a diet can be distressing, while physical pain resulting from dental surgery can make it difficult to eat. The difference in how these two types of pain affect eating habits could be due to the immediacy and tangibility of physical pain compared to the abstract and intangible nature of emotional pain. Despite knowing the consequences of indulging in forbidden foods, it can be challenging to resist the temptation of food as it can serve as both a source of nourishment and pleasure.
The article was helpful on why I was indulging in food despite the resulting pain. However, I should have asked how one can remember this pain and overcome the desire to eat.
I thought about putting a rubber band on my wrist to snap to remind me of pain, but I equate that to punishment and I’m not fond of that strategy. The answer for me is to remember how great it feels to be in control and most importantly, healthy, and strong. Should I forget that feeling I have my little business card size cheat sheet to remember some of the things I can do being in shape and where I want to be.
I hope this helps you as well. Start now and never, never, give up!