The Musings of an Elective Orphan

Sarah Brandis

My limbic system loves cake?

Want :(

Want 😦

I’m a cognitive neuroscience student on a mission, a slim-getting mission.  I’m honest enough to hold my hands up and say that I have piled on a few pounds recently… and those pounds brought some of their friends along for the ride.  I’m beginning to get really uncomfortable with what I see in the mirror, so I’m working hard to get my figure back under control.  At first, this seems like simply mind over matter.  But then I got thinking about emotional eating, and started wondering if this is one of those mind-brain anomolies; an occasion where the two are working against each other.  It feels like it to me.  But I suppose this depends on if you believe the mind and the brain can be considered as different things – well I certainly do.

So I did a little background reading on comfort eating and the brain’s reward system (basically dopamine pathways).  The dopamine pathways are what get’s overused in drug addiction too, so this gave me a little “ah -ha” moment when I realised why food feels SO important for comfort.  And why stress makes the cravings worse.  And I think it is interesting that the dopamine reward pathway goes right through the limbic system (your brain’s emotion centre).

Blue - Dopamine

Blue – Dopamine

Anyway, the important thing is that I don’t just use this theory as an excuse to give in to my cravings.  The import thing is to know that it’s OK to find eating right hard, and not emotionally fulfilling.  But the end results will be better that a quick sugar hit.  And I NEED to get my groove back, I have a half marathon coming up early next year.  I have done a couple of full marathons before, so I know I can make the distance.  This time around I am going for speed, so I want to be a bit lighter.

It is just mean to put an ice cream van where the marathon runners can see it but not reach it.   Mean.

It is just mean to put an ice cream van where the marathon runners can see it but not reach it. Mean.

I am not going to use the extra distance and extra training as an excuse to over-carb-load, I made that mistake before!

When I next blog, I’m sure I will blog about how the healthy eating is getting easier.  I need to break some bad habits, and remember not to let my limbic brain screw with my mind power.

p.s. This is a pic that my friends took of me near the Brighton Marathon finish line.  The ice cream was on the wrong side of the barrier for me, but I did have the most awesome fish and chips on the beach when I finished the race.  Totally made up for it!  I wrote about my marathons in my memoirs, The Breaking and Making of Me.  It’s on most e-readers for now, but I’m changing to Kindle Select soon.

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