Saturday, November 7, 2009

Binge on rationalizations.

To tell you what I think of the "Emotional Eating" theory, I have to tell you what I think about "Germaphobia".

This is what happened to me.

I remember (when I say remember, I mean that going back in memory I have been able to analyze my feelings to some extent) as a child that certain things were "Yucky" to touch. I could feel every fiber or they seemed to cling to my fingers or I could continue to feel their touch after I let them go. So there were certain things I wouldn't touch, which caused a whole lot of social problems, partly because other people's hands were one of those things. I could feel the oils or sweat or anything that was on their hands, little callouses or cuts... and I kept on feeling them for several minutes to a half an hour.

This turns out, in my case to be an issue of hypersensitivity. I really can feel the small amount of oil on your hands and it really does leave a lingering touch on mine. But for the longest time I didn't know why I hated to touch other people when the other children seemed to enjoy holding hands with each other or their parents. Worse were certain things like cheap molded cut glass, knitted clothing, unpolished metals and woods and many of the coarser fabrics. I could feel them almost as intimately as tasting them. Many times the sensations got to be too much and I would either refuse to touch them or have to go soothe my sense of touch with a vigorous handwashing.

But when school started, that was not an option most of the time. I had to use crayons covered in cheap paper, handle craft materials like modeling clay and Popsicle sticks. The undersides of the desks were unpainted and the metal parts were paint over rust. The Catholic School I first attended even used unpainted pencils, which were just nasty to the touch.

MY father worked at a service station near the Catholic School, and I would go there after school and he would have me clean his tools for him in a big tub of gasoline. I used to love that because I would scrub the tools and then scrub my hands. Gasoline seemed to take the day's accumulation of sensations off my hands quite well. I know now it was the stiff bristle brush more than anything. But after the first year or so I got moved to a State School.

Suddenly, as a slightly older child, my behavior started to be noticed. Teachers would ask me why I was washing my hands so much and I had to have an answer. I would say things like "They got dirty", when really it was to randomize the sensations again because I could still feel the brushed stainless steel of the door knob. Eventually I learned about germs and convinced myself that what I was feeling was the sensation of germs moving around on my hands.

This has a dual effect, not only did it explain to me why I felt things long after I touched them, but it also gave me something to tell people who asked me. I no longer didn't want to touch things because they were "yucky", I didn't want to touch them because they "might have germs".

This was very liberating. Suddenly I had a rationalization that would work on a host of things. I hauled it out for just about anything I didn't want to touch and sometimes I would haul it out for other reasons. If I didn't want to play kickball because the kids would pick me last, the playground had too many germs. If I didn't want to go to a neighbors house for a birthday party, I thought their house was too dirty and might have germs. As a ten year old this was the perfect excuse. It would justify nearly anything, even though it made me seem peculiar and my parents worried.

But then I took a course in microbiology. It was an elective available to a few children who did really well in 9th grade "Biology". But I learned enough about "germs" to know that my sensations were not being caused by them. If that were true, then the smooth porcelain sinks in the high school bathrooms would be the worst, and I didn't mind them at all. Worse, I learned that every breath inhales dozen of types of viruses and bacteria by the thousands. I had to breathe!

My rationalization crumbled, but I now had real germaphobia. While I can look back on it now and know that it was hypersensitivity, at the time I really thought it was germs. I had convinced myself - but my new knowledge assured me that I was wrong. I believed I could actually feel something I knew wasn't true. I started down the path of being convinced that it was my emotions that led to the handwashing, not an actual sensation.

This lasted for decades. I tried various therapies, eventually went on drugs, learned self-hypnotism, meditation and even tried past life regression to alleviate this and some other symptoms, to no avail.

It was just a few years ago that I finally found something that helped. It's those new ultra-soft fabrics. I got a comforter made out of them for Christmas, packed in a clean plastic wrapper, opened it up and recoiled in horror at the first touch! It was the nastiest thing I had ever touched! I went through a whole series of mental steps that pretty much capsulized my whole childhood and adult life. The word "yucky" came out of my mouth without me even noticing it. I tried to convince myself that it was covered in germs. I started searching my ego for signs of sexual abuse or repressed memories or anger at my mother. But over it all was the certain knowledge that I could still feel it on my fingers after just one touch.

All this while my mother-in-law (whom I love) stood over me beaming because she was sure I would like her gift.

I had to force myself to touch it again, and say how nice it was. I tried to cover my "yucky" slip by saying, as if repeating, how "lucky" I was to have it. But I think she noticed my full body shudder when I put my hands back on it. This time I had to pay attention to my physical feelings. It clutched at me, each microfiber got hooked on every imperfection of my skin and tugged in different directions. I could almost feel it sucking moisture out of my hands and leaving a fine layer of dust or (as I know now) residual sensations. I don't think I hid my feelings very well, but I did try.

Because I had learned to avoid touching so many things since I was a child, I don't think I ever paid attention to exactly what I was feeling. I didn't have to, I could just not touch them. But now I was forced to and I later forced myself to feel other things I knew were "yucky". Because I thought I was on the track of something.

Maybe, just maybe, my sensations were real.

Not germs, not a phobia, not imagination. The sensations were real, the rationalizations were what were false. Now I could touch things (well it really took months and I still have to work on it) and just know that my hands would feel phantom sensations for a while and I could stop them by any of several randomization techniques, if I wanted to.... or not.

(I see my sensations as being an alignment or patterned stimulation of touch that leaves "echoes" for some length of time. These patterns can be disturbed by rubbing my skin in "randomizing" ways, such as washing, brushing or wiping.)

The point being that my rationalizations, engendered by my subconscious or barely conscious mind, hid me from the actual sensations, which I might otherwise have been able to work on 30-40 years ago. It might have saved my marriage.

So how does this all relate to "Emotional eating" and "Binge eating"?

Oh, that requires that I do my first "Two part" blog post. I'll try to get to it this afternoon.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reality shows rot your brain.

As if sitting and letting someone else fill your brain with sludge was not bad enough, they invented "Reality Shows".

First of all, you have to realize what TV really is. There are rooms full of people right now, hooked up to machines like polygraphs, which sense every change in a person's emotional state, and they're just sitting there watching TV. The experimenters note every slight change in breathing, pupil dilation, heartbeat and compare it to what they are showing on the screen.

The goal is to show things in a way that keeps the person satisfied to just sit there.

It's not some big mind control conspiracy, it's just simple profit. They want to be able to show advertisers that their product will be shown to people who are happy to sit there and look at it. But to do so, they have to change the way you look at TV. They have to connect with your emotionally and physically.

To connect with your physically they do things like switch frames in a randomized (but within specific medically determined limits) schedule. Never more than so many seconds of a still shot, never too much of one person, switch away from some shots and give multiple views of this other shot. The goal is to draw your attention, keep it, and make you sit down and watch.

It's bad enough when it's just a simple entertainment show, cowboys or spaceships or spies. But when they started the Reality shows it moved to a whole new level. Now it wasn't about watching, they were going for a sense of participation. You were invited to identify with the characters, manipulated into feeling as if they were just like you, not an actor, not a character, but someone you might know.. Or, if they did their job right, someone who could have been you.

Now we no longer just watched, we were part of the show. This allowed us to feel like we had actually done something while just sitting there watching TV. I noticed this in myself after the first few days of "Survivor". When my favorite contestant won, I felt like I had won. It was at this point I stopped watching it. Because I knew I had not won, instead I had watched TV when I could have been doing something else.

But if I had watched it more, why would I need to do anything? I was accomplishing so much on TV! I swung from ropes, I built shelters, I related with and antagonized other people. My innate desire to do something of significance was completely fulfilled.

Then came "The Biggest Loser". A reality show about losing weight! Each week we were to be invited to feel as if we had changed our diet, as if we had done rigorous exercises with skilled trainers, as if we had actually lost some weight. We could cheer with the winners and cry with the failures (can't say "losers" here).

Why, then, would we need to experience our own successes? So we could sit there, watching TV, eating chips, and dreaming that we were making vital health changes just like those folks on TV. Even knowing that their efforts were not healthy, that they were cheating, that the losses in many cases would not be sustained, we felt like we were doing the things we were supposed to do to gain a life we didn't have.

And all so some company can earn a little more money on ad placement.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

No danger of that happening...

As far as me getting started...

I've had this page for several days now and this is the first thing I've written just for it. Everything else is cut and pasted, and there's very little of that.

I have a penchant for procrastination that I plan to deal with sometime maybe after I deal with some of my other issues. It's not really so much that I procrastinate, it's that I forget that I've procrastinated. I say, "I'll do it as soon as I'm finished with this" (whatever this might be) but by the time I've finished, it's completely gone out of my mind. I might even say, "OK, what was it I was going to do when I finished this?", but there's no way I will ever remember.

I've forgotten to pay bills that I remembered to set the money aside for and had services turned off. That really sucks, because I'm poor. A $35 reconnect fee hurts.

I forgot to go to my own birthday party once. I was planning to go, I got ready to go, I had to wait a few minutes so I started working on something out in the yard and didn't think about what I was doing for almost two hours, by which time they had given up on me.

I've forgotten to go to work when I was scheduled and I've forgotten what day it was and gone to work when I was scheduled off. Several times. I've never lost a job because of it but I'm sure I've lost some promotions.

I'm taking some Amino Acid supplements that might actually help a little with that, too soon to tell now. Anything would be an improvement, as far as I am concerned. I cannot tell you (who are you anyway?) how many relationships and opportunities have been lost because of this. One lovely girl I was really interested in seeing gave me her phone number and then came to where I worked about two weeks later and just laid me open for not ever calling her. I forgot. Dang.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's called MEAT!

The media and so called "Nutritionists" have been working for thirty years to teach us that Fat is bad. In part because they or their teachers feel it is wrong to kill animals for food. It's been proselytized as being because "Sat. Fat is bad for your heart", because "Fat makes you fat", although most of us know that both of those things are simply false.

They sneak propagandistic phrases into our daily language, such as "artery clogging fats" or "high cholesterol fats" and have even tried to associate fat with "grease" as in the petroleum product used to lubricate engine parts.

These are relatively overt methods of slipping unconscious trigger words into our brains. Worse are the ones they use that might go completely unnoticed, because the enemy you cannot see is more dangerous than the one you can.

These are thoughts and phrases that teach us that :
1) Fat is not food
2) Protein and carbs are food
3) Meat is Protein

Which leads to their real goal:

4) One protein is as good as the next
5) Tofu is better protein
6) Meat is not food

To do this, they have gotten everyone in the world to call meat "Protein" as if it were a box of dry white powder. It's not. It's animal flesh, from an animal that was probably raised, sold, killed and cut into parts because that's the natural food of human beings. Removing the word "Meat" from our vocabulary is their way of removing the idea that we naturally eat animals to live.

I don't want that idea removed. I like ideas. All of them, but particularly the true ones.

Using the word "Protein" when you mean meat has another effect. Because a low carb diet is almost always a high meat diet, it makes the WOE sound like a high protein diet, which can be attacked.

They don't have to say "Atkins is bad for you", which has been proven wrong. They can say "A high protein diet is bad for you", which can be shown to be true. Then we, WE OURSELVES, connect the word "Protein" to our diet by calling meat "Protein".

The uneducated masses come away thinking "High Protein diets are bad for you. LooWee says he eats mostly "Protein". LooWee's diet is bad for you."

It's MEAT! Say it loud and proud. If you are going to call it by one of it's macronutrient components, why not call it Fat? "I'm having a Fat for dinner with my veggie". We wouldn't do that because we have been taught that fat is bad for you. Then why call it a Protein?

It's MEAT! The flesh of animals which has been harvested for human consumption is MEAT! There's nothing wrong with that! Even though Walt Disney spent (and made) billions of dollars trying to convince us otherwise, animals are not talking friends who we should save from every forest fire and never hunt. They are food! That's why they are made out of MEAT!

So, I suggest that we start calling it MEAT and educating folks who use the word "Protein" incorrectly.

Glad I got that off my chest.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The illusion of free will and carb addiction

I've been thinking about the illusions we often have about self-control.

Not that we never have any control, but where the limits are in our behavior... on average. For instance, you can stop breathing for a while if you want to, but after a few dozen seconds, you'll make an excuse to start up again. It's not because you have to, obviously, because you're still conscious. It's because this is too hard or someone said something funny or you realized you need to pee... anything at all, and as the seconds pass, the reasons become less important than your simple desire to breathe.

Now obviously we need to breathe. We also need to eat. We don't need to eat carbs but what if our brain is telling us that we do? Don't we respond in much the same way? First we search for rational excuses, then we search for any excuse, then we just grab the Oreos with no thought of an excuse.

Perhaps it was always about the brain over-riding our conscious thoughts, and our mind making excuses to allow us the illusion of self-control. We convince ourselves that we did it because we wanted to, not because our actions are often guided by instinct.

I like to think that I have final say over what I actually do. But what if that's not true? What if I only have a 49% vote? The other 51% going to my silent partner brain and it only votes when it feels like it. I would be sitting in the big chair, thinking I was the top Executive of my life, when all of a sudden I get a phone call telling me that my plans were scrapped and we were moving forward on a different agenda now.

What if, like sailors pulled down in the ocean, struggling for oxygen, my behavior is completely out of my ultimate control. I will climb on the shoulders of my crew mates, tear my arms out of my sockets, do anything it takes to get what my brain tells me it wants, no matter what my mind likes to think when I am all satisfied and comfy.

That would explain a lot.