My good friend Meredith commented on my blog post about whether I was experiencing hunger, desire, need, or craving, that my challenge was less to figure it out than to ride it out. And I got to thinking about that marvelous and instructive animated section of the movie What the Bleep where they demonstrate the brain pathways of addiction and the need to establish new habits and thus new pathways. If we don't respond to the old promptings, if we don't go down those well-establish pathways, they will atrophy and go into disuse and the new pathways will take over.
I know this is true for me, for the old alcohol-craving and using pathways have shrunk to next to nothing. I occasionally get an urge, something deep in the body responding to a trigger or an old electrical impulse, but it passes quickly, usually within seconds, so those pathways don't run my life as they did 23 years ago.
Riding out these urges to eat seems a little tougher. For sometimes, they're honest hunger, not a need for emotional soothing. At the same time, I am willing to ride in a way I haven't been since giving up alcohol all those years ago. Most of my attempts to shift my food patterns in the last decades have met with huge resistance of the "Hell, no, you can't make me" kind. Now I'm willing to respond with "How?"