Why was I hungry after dinner?

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Speaker 1:
Irrelevant, entertaining, cool. You're listening to LA Talk Radio.

Speaker 2:
You're listening to the Dr. Nina Show with Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin, only on LA Talk Radio.

Dr. Nina:
Hi, there. Welcome to the Dr. Nina Show here on LA Talk Radio. I'm your host, Dr Nina Savelle-Rocklin, and I'm here to help you stop counting calories, carbs and [inaudible 00:00:46] weight and get on with your life, because that is my mission, that is what want for you. I want you to wake up and think about your day, not your diet. If you want to call in and talk with me today, the number is 323-203-0815. That's 323-203-0815. I would love to hear what is on your mind and what is eating at you because the real problem with binge-eating, stress-eating, any kind of emotional eating, the real problem is not food, the real problem is what is eating at you.

So I want to start with a question from one of the people in my Food For Thought Community on Facebook. If you're not a member, head on over, do a search for Dr. Nina's Food For Thought Community and join us [inaudible 00:01:43] on the show. This is from Nicole. She says, if you're allowed to have dessert, so you don't feel that sense of deprivation, the deprivation that leads to a binge, how can you determine… Yes, I will take a caller in just a second. How can you determine when it's okay to have dessert and when you're using it to comfort or self-soothe? I'm going to get back to this question from Nicole after the caller. So, welcome, caller. Hello? I don't hear… Hello? Hi, caller. Hi, Karlygash. Karlygash?

Karlygash:
Yes.

Dr. Nina:
Okay, good. I saw these phone numbers and I recognized yours after a different one that left. Welcome to the show, Karlygash. What's going on?

Karlygash:
Good morning, Dr. Nina. A lot going on. This festival [inaudible 00:02:56] calmed down, so I kind of overeat every day, binge, overeat in lunch, and I noticed that I have a lot of anxiety but in general I always have an ongoing anxiety. [inaudible 00:03:07] about that, suppressing that and somehow functioning. But I'm worried that recently I will slightly I have a [inaudible 00:03:19] or something like [inaudible 00:03:20] I should go eat right away [inaudible 00:03:24] really not organized, especially today they have a [inaudible 00:03:32] day. Very hard to be organized and more keeping the consistency.

Dr. Nina:
Cake and anxiety. If you weren't focused on eating as a way of relieving your anxiety, sometimes we eat to just calm our bodies down. If you weren't focused on that, what thoughts would be going through your mind? Let's just wipe out all those food thoughts and see what's really going on there.

Karlygash:
I just don't like my job [inaudible 00:04:06].

Dr. Nina:
Karlygash, can you speak up. I'm not hearing you very clearly.

Karlygash:
Yes. I just don't like my job.

Dr. Nina:
Okay. You don't like your job.

Karlygash:
I think I'm wasting time, I think I'm capable of doing much more in [inaudible 00:04:24] the path, but I don't believe in myself so much right now that it really frustrates me. I feel like while I was [inaudible 00:04:36], I feel like [inaudible 00:04:41]. Organization is also challenging for me. Honestly, this weight I put on during pandemic is just frustrating so much every day.

Dr. Nina:
[crosstalk 00:04:48] Stop. Stop. Stop. Okay, because guess what? This is a zone where you don't get to turn on yourself and talk about the weight you gained, because I want to point out what you just did. You just went from really having the courage to say what the true problem is that the food is a solution to. The problem is you don't like your job, you feel left behind and you feel it sounds like you're capable of doing more than what you're doing, and then you went to weight.

That is a distraction, and I know it's a real thing, and I know it bothers you and all of that, but when you go to food, when you go to weight, when you go to what you are eating and focusing on that, or what you weigh and focusing on that, you are distracting yourself from what is weighing on you, what is eating at you, and that is, and again very poignantly, Karlygash, that you don't like your job, and you feel left behind. So this is the problem. Cakes are the solution to the problem, not the problem.

“I don't like my job. I feel left behind. I'm too educated to do this job,” those are the things that you said. Now, how do you work towards dealing with that? What is one thing that you can do? “I don't like my job and I feel left behind,” by the way, are two separate things. You don't like your job, there is something you can do to change it. “I feel left behind,” is something else.

Karlygash:
That's the hardest part. I think that's why I overeat, because I don't know what I want to do. Anything I take is either overwhelming or I have to study and I'm already above 30, almost 40. I honestly like art, music and I really enjoy studying and doing it. I used to study music at school, but then I had very bad experience with the [inaudible 00:07:02].

Dr. Nina:
Karlygash, I want to share something with you, because the first thing you said was you're too old to be in school. When I was in graduate school the first time, because first I got my masters and then I got my doctorate, but when I was getting my masters, there were five women in my program who were 50 years old, and they were 50 years old when they'd all had different past lives. One had been a banker, one had been a nurse, a couple had been stay-at-home moms, another one was some kind of business. At 50, they decided to change their lives.

Karlygash:
I forget that I'm in America, because in my country at 50 you are done. If you're a woman, you're 50, you're done. Go lay in the casket and just [inaudible 00:07:59].

Dr. Nina:
Well, tell that to our soon-to-be vice president, who just became a lot of firsts. So, Karlygash, you want to challenge the idea that you're stuck. You are in America, you're not in Kazakhstan. Kailene is writing on Instagram, she says, “I got my bachelors at age 40.” So, there. Thank you, Kailene. It is never too late to do something new. By the way, I was in grad school 21 years ago, and those people have had a new career, those women, for 20 years. Now in this profession, especially now there's 70, and guess what? When you're a therapist and you're 70, people just think you're really wise. There's no retiring. You can do it as long as you want. What you want to do is focus on the problem-

Karlygash:
[crosstalk 00:09:14] That's the thing. I don't want to be a therapist, I want to be in music business, where everything is either young people starting out there at 10 or 15, or if you're older you're supposed to be experienced so you can create music, or do stuff or manage them. I don't know. Those are ineffective ideas-

Dr. Nina:
Okay. These are ideas.

Karlygash:
Those ideas are pretty much 100% sure I can make it, more than a hundred, because I have it. I know it.

Dr. Nina:
You also are not starting out. You've talked many times about how you were at a special music school when you were a kid in Kazakhstan. So the point is that cakes and food that you talk about binging on, that's not the problem. This is the problem. Problem is you're not satisfied and unfulfilled in your life and in your job. By the way, look at the words that we use for feeling unsatisfied, unfulfilled, that's also when we talk about food. That was a really satisfying meal, or that was a very fulfilling high tea that I had. Focus on what is eating at you and challenge these ideas, these roadblocks that say you can't do whatever because of your age. You said you're almost 40. Didn't you just tell me you turned 36?

Karlygash:
This is back in September, four months ago.


Dr. Nina:
Now you're so much closer to 40. You know what this remind me of? I don't know if you've ever seen the American movie When Harry Met Sally, but there's this one point where Meg Ryan says, “And I'm going to be 40.” He says, “When?” She says, “Some day.” You have just under four years. A lot can happen in four years. Four years ago, you first came to America. These are ideas. These are ideas.

Karlygash:
That's true.

Dr. Nina:
These are ideas. You want to challenge those ideas, not give in to them, give up and then use food to comfort and distract yourself from what's really bothering you.

Karlygash:
Thank you so much, Dr. Nina. Also, I recently noticed clearly working with you for such a long time and your work always shows itself, opens up from different angles. Recently, I shed off some layers. Now I can clearly see without being terrified and avoiding it. I think a lot more clear. I see tons and tons of fear. One of my friends just sent me my old college picture when it was taken back in 2003, so 16 years ago. I thought of myself that I was brave. I looked at this picture and I saw myself scared. I have PTSD too, I was beaten as a kid, that's why I'm hyper-vigilant all the time, but I guess it also affects my thinking. As much as I physically wait for the blow to hurt my body as a kid-

Dr. Nina:
So Karlygash, what happens is then we expect the past to repeat in the present. This is not about talking about what happened in the past. You can talk about what happened in the past for a hundred years, it doesn't do anything. You have to accept, maybe you heal, you mourn and you come to some resolution in a way, but it's recognizing in how the past is in your present that makes the difference. So recognizing that if you were beaten as a child, and you were beaten down and no one believed in you, how are you beating yourself down in the present? How are you not believing in yourself? How are you expecting other people to treat you the way you were treated? When you can recognize this and unpack it, and make peace and [inaudible 00:13:33] in saying that you ate too many cakes, you'll be calling and saying, “Guess what? I realized that fear got a grip on me and that was fear of the past in the present. So Karlygash, I got to jump off this call because I have another person behind you, but I want you to think about one step that you can do from a practical standpoint to take towards having the job, the career that you want. Just one step without the nay-saying, “I can't. I can't. I can't,” and what is the antidote of fear, which is what is?

Karlygash:
What is. Reality, and checking the fears. That's as far as I know.

Dr. Nina:
False evidence appearing real. So the way you deal with fear, which is what if, is to stay with what is, what you know to be true. Do that, let me know, let us know how it goes and I look forward to hearing your update.

Karlygash:
Okay. Thank you so much for your help.

Dr. Nina:
You're welcome.

Karlygash:
I'm giving you a hug.

Dr. Nina:
I feel it. Thanks Karlygash. Right back at you. Hug, hug, hug. Bye for now.

Karlygash:
Thank you.

Dr. Nina:
Hello, caller. You're on with Dr. Nina. Hello?

Josh:
Hello.

Dr. Nina:
Hello? Hi, caller. You're on with Dr. Nina. I can't really hear you though.

Josh:
Can you hear me?

Dr. Nina:
No, I can't hear you. Your voice is very mechanical.

Josh:
Hello.

Dr. Nina:
That's better.

Josh:
Yes. Okay, hi. How are you? This is Josh from Instagram.

Dr. Nina:
Hi, Josh from Instagram. Welcome to the show. Nice to hear your voice.

Josh:
Yeah, nice to hear your voice too. I was just calling because last night I was hungry. I already ate as much as I was going to eat that day. From time to time I will not more food towards the end of the night, especially if I'm thinking of deep things or on the edge of being emotional or whatever.

Dr. Nina:
Josh, I'm sorry to interrupt you. Your voice is just a little muddy or something. Maybe are you really close to your… Were you on speaker or something?

Josh:
Is it better now or no?

Dr. Nina:
It's still a little bad. It's slightly out of focus. If your voice was a picture, it would be out of focus, if that makes sense.

Josh:
Okay.

Dr. Nina:
That's better.

Josh:
That's better?

Dr. Nina:
That's a little better. Yeah.

Josh:
A little better. Okay. Do you want to do it or not? Should I keep going?

Dr. Nina:
Do you have any suggestions how we can make Josh's voice a little bit clearer? He's typing. He's not sure. Okay. We'll just keep going. We'll keep going.

Josh:
Okay. So I tried to basically imagine that something was eating at me,. Does that make sense?

Dr. Nina:
So what you're saying is that even though you had had enough to eat, you were still hungry?

Josh:
Yes. Yes, that's right.

Dr. Nina:
So here's the amazing thing about our minds: our minds are so cool, that we also have a mind-body connection, so sometimes hunger is the physical manifestation of a state of yearning. You can not be physically hungry but feel physical hunger as a replacement for some kind of emotional yearning or wish. I think I saw you wrote earlier on the Instagram feed something about love, and I wonder if that resonates with you.

Josh:
Yes. So, what I was looking for once I started imagining that in the moment it seems crazy to me at least from what I understand about the unconscious that something would be eating at me. So I did really try hard to say something is eating at me and eventually what I got to was that I was trying to look for love in food that's unconsciously there, and it was physically making me hungry, like you just said. It's really amazing when those things happen. So I wanted to thank you because what I was able to do is eventually I was able to say I'm not hungry anymore, because at least I shone a light on what it was that was really going on. It was not physical hunger, like you've just said, it was emotional hunger, if you will. I did not eat. I didn't need to eat, and that actually opened up to [inaudible 00:19:38] meditation. In that way it was great.

I don't have a problem with food necessarily, but if you clearly see that there's something going on underneath. By the end of the night it opened up very nicely, where I was able to what I would consider do a little bit more deep work on myself, because I do a podcast on meditation and some things that are deeper subjects, so I do a lot of work on myself, but the fact that it's tied to food was something that I would have never figured out unless I had heard you mention it.

Dr. Nina:
I'm so glad to hear this, because once you have information you can use it and I just want to acknowledge you for asking yourself the hard question, to be curious. Now, I often say be curious, not critical. I'm sure you've heard me say it a thousand times.

Josh:
Yes.

Dr. Nina:
Maybe a little bit less than a thousand times, but critical would be, (which is not what you did) “Why am I hungry? I just had dinner. What's wrong with me? I can't be hungry. This just makes no sense.” That's critical. Curious is, “I just had dinner. Why am I still hungry? What's going on with me? Doesn't make sense that I be physically hungry given my dinner. Maybe it's emotional.” That set you off on asking yourself questions. When you asked yourself questions, you're more likely to find the answers, because it's really that which is the root, and the root creates the weed and the weed represents the behavior.

Josh:
Yes. What's so amazing to me during a previous time that I was hungry for no reason that I tried working out is very difficult for me to do this, I guess. I imagine it's not a snap of a finger to someone who's never done it, but what happened the first time was I started digging a little bit and it just sort of went away and I didn't really see the goal. I didn't really see that I was really looking for love the first time. Actually taken two times for me to get to the root of what the physical sensation of hunger was.


Dr. Nina:
Why would you expect yourself to know it instantly? It does take time. Sometimes people ask themselves the question and they don't find the answer. That's why I developed my food mood formula that I talk about in my book, but the fact that you were able to persist and to stay curious, what's this about, led you to realize that you were hungry for love.

Josh:
Yeah

Dr. Nina:
Yes.

Josh:
The best way I can say love is I was just hungry for love food, not physical food that I would put in my stomach that alleviate the feeling of hunger. It was, I needed something else that was emotional. I basically rectified the situation by just [inaudible 00:23:11] for a little bit. It sounds easy but it was not. It wasn't easy, I would say. What's amazing is it's completely unconscious. I had no idea that there was something else. I figured I was actually hungry. Literally hungry. There was no other mental aspect of it. My stomach was literally growling. I needed food, but it was not hunger. It was emotional

Dr. Nina:
It is astounding to many people that there are unconscious motivations that are actually much stronger than what we consciously know. It's not logical, it's psychological. Discovering those motivations that are hide from us, they're in the dark, my work is all about helping people bring them into the light, because once you see that then you can deal with it. One way that I have a pudding is, you can't fight an invisible army. You'll just get beaten up. But when you make that army visible, then you see what you're fighting, then you can fight back. Karlygash was talking about cakes, but ended up the real problem was her lack of satisfaction in her job. You're talking about food but as you came to realize, the real problem was some emptiness within, some yearning within.

Josh:
Yes, and I just want to say that when I called a couple of times there was no answer, and that I had just gave up and then I got a text saying that you'd call me, which is really nice actually. I'm glad that you guys do that but I felt it again just from calling. The unconscious was still there telling me you're calling a psychoanalyst to talk about this [inaudible 00:25:18], in a sense. Here's that same feeling of hunger [inaudible 00:25:23]. It had occurred to me as I was calling in to the show for no reason, because I just actually [inaudible 00:25:29]. I'm never going to fall for that again. That sometimes now, that physical hunger that transforms into a completely different universe of growling and emotional stuff that has nothing to do with the fact that I haven't eaten enough. Nothing to do with that. Amazing.

Dr. Nina:
And I love your enthusiasm as you realize something is going on. This is why I call myself a detective of the mind, because we're looking for clues, and when you see the clue and you go, “Whoa! There's another clue. There it is again.” It is exciting. It's exciting because you realize that you now understand something about yourself that you didn't, that you were focusing on food or focusing on whatever it was instead of this. Now you can deal with this. You're obviously doing a great job at being self-reflective and staying open, and good for you.

Josh:
I feel like it's so hidden and so unbelievable that you would almost think if I didn't explain to you on the show, someone would think I was crazy. It's not even connected to any reality. It's like instead of [inaudible 00:26:59] very well-versed in this or who had never experienced that before, I'd say that it's not so easy to come to the realization that what you're doing is you're looking for love in food, and your body doesn't know it. You don't know it.

Dr. Nina:
And why food, by the way? Because our very first experience of being fed is being fed by another person. Our very first experience of relationship of bonding, of being held and feeling safe and secure in someone's arms is bound up with the experience of being fed, so in our psyche we don't consciously think of it this way. Food is relationship. We talk about food is comfort but really we're saying it's a wish to be comforted by someone else. I love your enthusiasm and I'm glad that you called to share this and that you had this experience and may you continue to be curious about what's going on within you and come to a deeper understanding of yourself.

Josh:
Yeah. I've been meaning to call in because I was [inaudible 00:28:27] Instagram making comments and asking questions. I just knew that I needed to talk to you today. With everything going on in the news, I just thought it would be nice to have an actual conversation with the Washington DC, which is so far removed from my life but it's still unconsciously there affecting me negatively to think of these men who took it upon themselves to try to take over our country for a moment. [inaudible 00:29:02] to think of that entirely that someone would do that, but I don't think it has anything necessarily to do with my eating but you'll never know. Maybe it does. Maybe I'm calling in because it does.

Dr. Nina:
Wait. It's also about feeling helpless with an intrusion, feeling helpless all you can do is watch as people decide for themselves how things are supposed to be. The atmosphere of violence. I don't know anything about your situation but for a lot of people watching this activated their own experiences of an unpredictable parent or unpredictable world or even someone had been in a car accident and she said this re-traumatized her because it was so unexpected just like the car accident. She found herself eating while it was really her trauma had been reactivated. Sometimes it's not the actual thing that's happening, it's how that impacts you and how that touches a place within you.

Josh:
Yes, and I just want to say that this is a deep wound and I think that it does bring up things from the past, from childhood, from parents. If your parents were ever cruel to you, looking at these men doing this might bring up that theme. I think that's not so far-fetched. Yeah. And I bet it did have something to do with why I'm calling you today, because I needed to talk to you probably in some way just to feel safe again. I don't know. You're such a good [inaudible 00:31:14] because it's not just that you're an analyst, because I've [inaudible 00:31:18] with analysts, it's that you're an analyst on a radio where someone like me can just call in. I don't mean to embarrass you but the fact that you're talking about food, which everyone is involved with, if you will, is amazing because it actually provides an opportunity to talk about deeper things that really we're just talking about food but everything is in that. Everything is in food. It's not like you have to be overweight, I feel like, maybe you can [inaudible 00:31:56] on that. I don't know.

Dr. Nina:
Thank you for bringing that up. Not everybody who struggles with food and not everybody with binge-eating disorder is overweight. You cannot tell whether someone has an eating disorder by their weight. It's internal and it's not something that is tied to weight. Lots of people are overweight and they don't struggle with food, they're just making bad choices, or that's genetically where they are, whatever. A lot of people struggle very much with food [inaudible 00:32:31] and if you pardon the expression, consumes them. Josh, I'm so glad that you took the plunge and you tried again to call. I hope that you will call me again and bring up some of the things that are eating at you and we can talk about that.

Josh:
It was a pleasure to talk to you, Dr. Nina. Thank you very much.

Dr. Nina:
I hope it is not the last time. Thank you for calling, Josh. Take care.

Josh:
I'll see you on Instagram. Take care.

Dr. Nina:
Okay. All right. Bye. I love that he asked himself the question of, “Why am I hungry,” not from a place of actual physical hunger but from a place of, “What's going on with me?” I'll just share briefly an experience which I've had–and that is to be an analyst, you first have to be an analysis. You've got to go to an analysis, you've got to go do the whole academic part of training, but you also have to be in analysis.

So I went to my analyst four times a week and I knew that she was a warm, kind even loving person but I sometimes would experience her as rather cold and found me difficult and thought I was challenging, by the way that would be my mother. I also thought that she was 5'6 and a half. This is so funny. I logically knew she was not my mother, but I experienced her as if he was my mother.

Keep in mind, four days a week she would open the door, I would walk past her, take my seat on the couch and she would sit and I literally walked past her. I'm 5'7, I usually wear heels so I experienced her as my height. One day, I go in and I look at her and she suddenly looks so much smaller to me, and I said, “You just seem like you've shrunk. You just seem like overnight you just shrunk. You just seem smaller.”

And she said, “Well, how tall do you think I am?”

I said “Well, 5'6 and a half,” which of course, it will come as no surprise to you that that is the exact height of my mother, 5'6 and a half.

She started laughing and she tells me she's 5'1, and even in heels she's 5'3 and I experienced her as literally my height. I'm probably six feet tall wearing heels. Even though I literally passed her, that is the power of our minds.

I made her my same height because my mother and I are the same height. As she became less, as my maternal transference diminished, she became more who she actually is. That is the power of the mind. It's crazy, but not in a bad way crazy, not in a pejorative crazy.

Our minds are freaking powerful. When we understand what's going on, we can really change the way we think, change the way we feel, and change what we do, change what we do with behavior.

So I want to get back to the question that I had from Nicole at the very beginning. She said, again, if you're allowed to have dessert so you don't feel that sense of deprivation that leads to binge-eating, how can you determine when it's okay to have dessert and when you're using it to comfort or self-soothe? This is a great question, Nicole.

First of all, the first part of her question has to do with my suggestion that the anticipation of deprivation or the experience of deprivation only makes you want something more. If you tell yourself you can't have dessert, what's going to happen? When you finally have dessert, you're going to have a ton of desserts. You're going to binge on dessert or you're going to have more than you would have if you just allow yourself to have dessert. If you say, “I can have dessert,” then you can choose to have it or not. You can choose how much of it you want or not, because otherwise you get into the position of, “I'm not supposed to be eating this, so I'm going to eat all of it now, because I'm not going to be able to have it later.”

So she's saying, how do you determine when it's okay to have dessert and when you're using it for comfort. Well, the answer to that is it's always okay to have dessert. Have dessert. There's nothing wrong with dessert. However, if you are using dessert or something sweet or chocolate or whatever to change the way you emotionally feel, if you're using it to feel better as opposed to, “That sounds really good. I'm going to have dessert after my meal.” Cup of coffee or tea and dessert, sounds good. Yum. That is one thing.

When it's, “I've got to have that dessert so I feel better. I want some comfort. I want to feel better emotionally,” then that would be emotional eating. That would be self-soothing through the dessert, and if that is the case, then instead of soothing with dessert, you want to soothe with words. You want to have compassion with yourself with words, and that means talking to yourself as you would talk to anybody you love.

We often talk one way to ourselves and another way to other people. If your friend or your loved one said, “Oh my God, I totally want dessert. I ate dessert, I totally did it because it was emotional eating,” would you say, “Oh my God, you suck. That's terrible. You should never do that again,” you'd say “It's okay. It happens. So what was going on? What was bothering you?” So the next time you reach for dessert, Nicole, and anyone else who can relate to Nicole's question, ask yourself are you eating this because it is a yummy thing to have post-dinner, or are you eating it because you want to feel better emotionally in some way. If it is the latter, ask yourself what you would say to someone else to make them feel better. You would not say, “You want to feel better? You feel bad? Eat this dessert.” You might say, “What's going on? I'm here for you. Talk to me. What's happening?”

So talk to yourself as you would a friend instead of turning to dessert as a way of comforting yourself and practice makes progress. You will get better at it and better at it, and actually next week, I'm going to be sharing some ways to cultivate more self-compassion. Josh, I really enjoyed talking to you as well. Jenny, nice to see you. I'm glad that you liked Josh's call.

Thank you everybody for being here today. Sorry for the technical issues if you were on Instagram before we officially started. We had some technical issues, so you guys got a chance to see how hard it is to make this show actually happen. Again, thank you all for joining me here today on the Dr. Nina Show. I am here live Wednesdays at 11:00AM pacific here on LA Talk Radio, and also on Instagram or you can listen later on Apple Podcast or anywhere you get your podcasts. If you are interested in joining my free Facebook community, just go to Dr. Nina's Food For Thought Community, ask to join and you can join a group of hundreds of (I think we're up to 700, something like that) women and men, there are guys there too, who all get it and are there to support themselves and each other. Have a great day everyone. Have a great week. I'll see you next week. Stay safe. Bye for now.

Speaker 2:
You're listening to the Dr. Nina Show with Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin, only on LA Talk Radio.

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