Copyright © Kathleen Alleaume 2012. All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Copyright © Kathleen Alleaume 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this book is for reference only and is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you are currently under the care of a medical practitioner or have any specific dietary needs, I strongly suggest that you seek medical advice prior to commencing any exercise program or changing your eating habits.

A Bantam book Published by Random House Australia Pty Ltd Level 3, 100 Pacific Highway, North Sydney NSW 2060 www.randomhouse.com.au First published by Bantam in 2012 Copyright © Kathleen Alleaume 2012 The moral right of the author has been asserted. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity, including internet search engines or retailers, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying (except under the statutory exceptions provisions of the Australian Copyright Act 1968), recording, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of Random House Australia. Addresses for companies within the Random House Group can be found at www.randomhouse.com.au/offices National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication Entry Alleaume, Kathleen. What’s eating you / Kathleen Alleaume. ISBN: 978 1 74275 189 4 (pbk.) Eating disorders in women – Psychological aspects. Food habits – Psychological aspects. Dewey Number: 362.1968526 Cover design by Yolande Gray Design Internal design and typeset by Xou Creative, www.xou.com.au Printed in Australia by Griffin Press, an Accredited ISO AS/NZS 14001:2004 Environmental Management System printer. The paper this book is printed on is certified against the Forest Stewardship Council® Standards. Griffin Press holds FSC chain of custody certification SGS-COC-005088. FSC promotes environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests.

Copyright © Kathleen Alleaume 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

For my son, Ethan Quade

Copyright © Kathleen Alleaume 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Co nte nt s
Introduction 1

Chapter 1: ‘I will eat until satisfaction, not fullness.’
Why do we eat so much and how do we stop? Need versus desire Trigger 1: G-spot Trigger 2: ‘Low fat’ – a licence to eat more Trigger 3: Busy bee Trigger 4: Put food in front of me and I’ll eat it Trigger 5: Emotional anaesthetic Trigger 6: Let’s get physical Wrapping it up 7 7 8 15 21 25 31 34 35

Chapter 2: ‘Make peace with food.’
What’s your style? Eating style 1: Health food detective Eating style 2: Pro-dieter Eating style 3: Mayhem eater Eating style 4: Self-diagnoser Wrapping it up 43 45 49 56 66 71

Copyright © Kathleen Alleaume 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Chapter 3: ‘Rather than saying “no”, think substitutes.’
Are all diets created equal? Fad diet: Low-fat/high-carbohydrate diets Fad diet: Low-carb/high-protein Fad diet: No carbs at night Fad diet: Detox diets Not a diet fad: The GI method Not a diet fad: The European way Wrapping it up 75 76 81 89 97 102 108 110

Chapter 4: ‘Eating is a necessity, but eating intuitively makes all the difference.’
Food affects mood, which affects food The biological connection Stress and the mood/food connection The art of breathing Gut versus brain hunger Wrapping it up 125 128 134 141 146 152

Chapter 5: ‘It’s my choice in every moment.’
Mind over platter Setting the scene for change Self-shifting four-step technique Shift your attitude Same choices, same results How is change created? Mindfulness Wrapping it up Recommended reading Acknowledgements Index 165 170 172 179 182 185 189 196 199 201 203

Copyright © Kathleen Alleaume 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

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Why do we eat so much and how do we stop?
It’s irrefutable. Eating is one of the most complex human behaviours. In today’s modern world, where food is everywhere, it’s no wonder we eat too much. And when we’re not eating, we’re thinking about eating or feeling guilty about what we just ate. Most of the time when I talk about overeating, I mean the learned habits of modern-day food consumption: many people are timestarved and so eat greater amounts at a faster pace than in the past. Before I go on to explain the various reasons behind our eating trends and provide strategies on how to cope with these problems, allow me to shed some light on the difference between hunger and appetite.

need versus desire
We eat for two reasons – hunger or appetite. Hunger is the physical need for food. Appetite is the desire to eat food. The desire

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Copyright © Kathleen Alleaume 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

K AT H L E E N A L L E A U M E

to eat is most often influenced by our emotions, habits, lifestyle, culture and memories, as well as the sight, smell and taste of food. In other words, hunger tells you when it’s time to eat. Appetite tells you what to eat. Here are six common triggers for overeating and tips on how to get back in control.

trigger 1: G-spot
Let’s face it: there is a widespread availability of food, as well as a powerful drive to consume it. The trouble is many highly processed foods have an intense taste sensation that kicks your brain’s ‘pleasure system’ into overdrive, leaving you with a desire for more. The role of the pleasure system in the brain is to make you feel good. It’s the brain’s G-spot. When something is enjoyable, your brain is flooded with a pleasure chemical called dopamine, which causes a feeling of euphoria. Think about the times you eat chocolate. What happens? You want more! Almost every experience that humans find pleasurable is linked to dopamine – whether that be savouring chocolate, making love or smoking a cigar. Dopamine has a powerful ability to form a trigger, that is, an urge or feeling of being compelled. Your mind starts to play tricks and you become fixated on that pleasurable sensation until you think of nothing else. The food hunt begins. The philosophy of hedonism claims that there are two principle motivations driving behaviour: pleasure or pain. Humans fundamentally seek pleasure and avoid pain. It all begins in the mouth, the original site of pleasure. Simply put, when you eat, you are seeking the pleasure of food and avoiding the pain of hunger. However, there are healthy, positive pleasures

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Copyright © Kathleen Alleaume 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

W H AT ’ S E AT I N G YO U?

as well as destructive, negative ones. Unfortunately though, food can be both: normal amounts of nourishing foods are lifesustaining and pleasurable, but overeating can be harmful. The truth is food manufacturers have become exceptionally savvy in exploiting the brain’s G-spot with the use of cheap palate-pleasers that permeate our food supply. I sometimes wonder whether we are part of a massive, uncontrolled science experiment. Foods continue to be laced with sugar, salt or saturated fat (SSS) and are carefully engineered to stimulate the 10,000 tastebuds in your mouth into sending euphoric signals to the brain. These signals tell the body to ignore the information it’s getting from hunger-regulating hormones – so your desire is to keep eating. In the end, your palate becomes hardwired to certain tastes and the appreciation for natural and wholesome flavours diminishes.

Decisions, decisions
Sadly, for the hedonistic among us, the pleasure effect has a limit. Pleasure does not last long. It must switch off so that we can move on to the next task. In an enlightening book called The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life, Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd give a huge insight into how people make decisions, in particular the common traps people create for themselves. For example, some focus on the past to the detriment of their daily lives; others focus on the present to the detriment of their belief in their ability to change the future; and others focus on the future but lose their sense of happiness. The issue is many people these days fall into the second group and are focused much more on present hedonism and much less on future goal orientation, making it very difficult

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Copyright © Kathleen Alleaume 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

K AT H L E E N A L L E A U M E

to resist the pleasure in the present versus their future goals. Every day we are faced with conflicting goals. For example:
Pleasure now = chocolate versus future goals = health and losing weight or Short-term gain, long-term pain

According to Zimbardo and Boyd, some present orientation is needed to enjoy life. However, decisions should also be balanced with a healthy future time perspective. By learning to make choices based on this balanced viewpoint, you’re more likely to do the things today that will bring you success and health in the future. You will exercise more often, eat better, drink less alcohol, take other preventative health measures and enjoy an improved quality of life.

The ability to delay gratification, as opposed to succumbing to instant gratification, brings success.
Re-wire the tastebuds
Regrettably, consuming less salt, sugar and saturated fat isn’t easy. Many processed foods contain hidden fats and sugars, and almost 75 per cent of the salt in our diet is found in processed foods. Foods that are deemed ‘bad’ for us often taste good. A wise doctor once told me, ‘if it tastes good, spit it out’. Okay, maybe a little

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Copyright © Kathleen Alleaume 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

W H AT ’ S E AT I N G YO U?

over the top, but the point is, fat is palatable. Fat gives desserts a rich creamy texture and makes pastry melt in your mouth. Salt and sugar work more like a drug: apart from enhancing taste, they manipulate your tastebuds and cause them to adapt, meaning you need increasingly more salt or sugar to be satisfied. This leads to habits like unconsciously grabbing the salt shaker without tasting the food first (a sure way to insult the chef) or pouring three teaspoons of sugar in your tea, absentmindedly. If you are accustomed to eating food with lots of salt, sugar, fat and other additives, you can retrain your tastebuds to appreciate the more subtle and wholesome flavours of foods. Truthfully speaking, your tongue is coated with a whole new set of tastebuds approximately every 10 days, so growing fond of new flavours over time is achievable. I’m of the belief that we seek out the things we’re most familiar with, right? When it comes to healthy habits, the more you do something, the more you’ll want to repeat that habit. Why not allow yourself the opportunity to be exposed to new foods every day? Wean yourself off the chicken-flavoured chips or three teaspoons of sugar in your tea. Okay, sure, it may take a little while to get used to. Expect an average ‘weaning off’ period of two to three weeks to allow your taste receptors to adjust and become more sensitive to natural goodness. Believe me – you’ll soon be wondering how on earth you ever consumed so much in the first place. And if the craving happens to strike, you can always distract yourself by taking a 10-minute walk (giving you the ability to delay the gratification).
More information on food cravings in Chapter 4.

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