Do you know where is your over-desire coming from? Desire on its own is perfectly normal, healthy, and necessary. Desire is driving us to get out of bed in the morning and stay productive. However, when we aren’t paying attention, it’s easy for our desire levels to creep up. As humans, we don’t have a backup system to keep our desire in check. Ultimately this leads to over-desire.
We all have our delicious favorites. Whether it’s sweet or savory, I’m discussing how your favorite little things aren’t what create your over-desire. I know it feels like you’ve lost control over your desire, but you have more agency than you think. So, in this episode, I’m showing you how to take your agency back.
Tune in this week for a story about chocolate biscotti. If you feel like your favorite treat is calling you and you just can’t resist it, I’m sharing three steps for healing your over-desire in a simple but scientifically-proven way, without resorting to willpower.
Hey, I'm Dr Priyanka Venugopal, and you're listening to Weight Loss for Unstoppable Moms episode two, Over-Desire and the Chocolate Biscotti. Yes, we all have those delicious favorites, don't we? Sometimes sweet, sometimes savory. We're talking about how your favorite little things, the biscottis, the pasta, the chips, the wine, aren't what create your over desire. We're going to talk about how to take agency back.
If you want to reach your ideal weight and create lightness for your body, you need to have simplicity, joy, and strategic decisions infused into your life. I'm a physician turned life and weight loss coach for ambitious working moms. I've lost over 60 pounds without counting points, calories, or crazy exercise plans. Most importantly, I feel calm and light on the scale and in my life. There's some delicious magic when you learn this work and the skills I'm going to be teaching you. Ready? Let's get to it.
Welcome back. So as promised, in episode one, I'm going to be sharing a little story and a little science. Before I get into the story, I want to share with you the intention of this episode first. It's really to build a foundation for you to deeply understand where your over desire is coming from. Because desire on its own is perfectly normal. It's healthy and necessary. It drives us as humans to seek resources and survive.
It makes so much sense that our brains have hardwired us to optimize desire. We have thoughts like I need food and water to survive. I'd like shelter to keep my family safe. I want to protect my children so they can thrive. I want to work and earn an income to support the food and shelter we need.
We have hundreds of thoughts like this, and these generate desire. It prompts us to get out of bed in the morning and get to work on time to feed and clothe your children, to buy food and prepare it. These thoughts and feelings are driving us to take actions that are creating a cycle of productivity. But here's the trouble.
When we aren't really paying attention, it's fairly easy for our desire to slowly and over time creep up. As humans, we haven't developed a backup system to prevent this. So the creep up leads to over desire, which is an excess of desire than is productive. It's important to deeply understand this because over desire is one of the core components that lead us to overeat. It's getting in the way of you being at your ideal weight.
Okay, so settle in for story time. So whenever I visit my parents, I make sure to go to the local grocery store because it has this little coffee shop, and the coffee shop has my favorite coffee beans. Now we're getting to know each other so there's one thing you have to know about me. Coffee lover is one of my favorite hats to wear. I have nothing against a nice cup of tea in the evening. But generally speaking, if you see me with a mug in my hand, it is brimming with coffee and a dash of cream.
So every time I visit my parents, I go to this little store to stock up on my favorite pounds of coffee. The last trip that I made there a few weeks ago, they happen to have these treats on display. They had cookies dipped in chocolate, pretzels dipped in chocolate, espresso beans covered in chocolate. Are you getting the vibe? I decided on the fly to get my two kids biscotti dipped in chocolate, and they happen to have a sprinkle of peppermint on them.
Now at the time of this recording, my kids are six and a half and three and a half, and the halves are very important to them. They love all biscotti and biscuity types of things, and they love chocolate. So as I get home, being the fun parent that I am, I decided with a little extra grandiosity I would announce, “I have to chocolate biscottis!” Of course, as anticipated, they both squealed in excitement and came running towards me. I could see the anticipation on their little faces.
But you will not believe what happened. My daughter, she's the younger one, took one look at the sprinkle of peppermint and said, “Ooh, never mind. I don't want it. Remember? I don't like that minty stuff.”
Okay, so I did know this about her but I had totally forgotten and didn't pay attention. So lesson learned. She doesn't like minty things. But here's the fascinating thing. When she thought I had a chocolate biscotti in hand, she had desire. It was coming from a little story she had in her mind. Oh, it'll be so good. Oh, I can't wait to have it. Yummy. The chocolate, I love chocolate. Her eyes were lit up as she tore into the bag.
So what changed? What dampened her desire down in three seconds? Simply it was a sentence in her mind. I don't really like that stuff. I don't love the minty stuff. I don't want it. In mere moments, her fired up desire centers cooled off. She didn't have to willpower or muscle anything.
Like so many of us when we have that favorite food in front of us and we feel the swell of desire, what usually happens? Either we just give in and eat it and then over eat it, which is the more likely pattern. Or we try to muscle our way, thinking about the points and the calories and the apps that we're tracking with. Or worse yet, we have it in hiding. Pretend it didn't happen, we don't log it, and vow to start again tomorrow. This is what I like to call battling over desire. It feels terrible.
How often have you heard yourself say that you feel food calling to you, or you feel that special treat just calling to you from the pantry or the fridge? You can get through the grit and grind with a little bit of willpower for short periods of time. But after a while the grit and grind just isn't sustainable.
So rather than battling with over desire, I have a better approach. I want to help you heal your over desire instead. Can you imagine how much better you would feel if you weren't in battle with over desire? I share the story because I want to reveal the power of your thinking and how a simple sentence about food can create over desire.
There are many, many conscious thoughts and stories that you have about food. Remember what we talked about in last episode. You aren't just a biscotti lover or a pasta lover or a wine drinker. You don't just want it. You've just goo-ed on a label or a story to yourself. You're just telling yourself I love biscottis. You're just telling yourself I want it. That's it. You're just telling yourself a simple sentence, and you're allowing two neurons in your brain to fire.
The more often that you tell the stories in this way, the I love biscottis and I just want it, the deeper these neural links becoming your brain, and the easier it is for those two neurons to familiarly fire. The more familiar and practice your story becomes the more boxed in you become to the confines of over desire. This creates habit patterns. Really coming from habitually feeling over desire.
Now I told you I'm a science nerd. So I want to tell you why this matters at a chemical level. Imagine that biscotti isn't even in front of you. You can't see it or you can't smell it, and you definitely can't taste it. But you just think of it with fondness. A little sentence, oh, a chocolate biscotti would be so lovely.
Just this sentence releases dopamine in your brain. What? Yes, the food isn't even in front of you, and your brain is having a chemical response because of the sentence. Guess what dopamine does. It lowers your threshold for decision making. So even if you weren't hungry, if the biscottis were stale or they were sprinkled all over the place with peppermint. If you think ooh, that biscotti would be lovely, your brain will chemically lower the threshold for you to reach out and go eat it. This is what over desire does.
This actually kind of reminds me of mushrooms. I used to look at mushrooms, this is like from my childhood. I'd see them in the fridge or like thrown pizza and immediately feel like ugh. But over the last 10 to 15 years, my husband, who loves mushrooms, has taught me that mushrooms can actually be really delicious. So now when I see mushrooms and I imagine them being sauteed and cooked with all the amazing ingredients that he cooks with, I can imagine how delicious they are. My thoughts about them have changed.
So before I might have thought those mushrooms were gross. They're disgusting. I don't like the texture of them, and immediately felt no desire to eat any food that had them. Now I can look at them, see them seasoned and deliciously prepared, and imagine like, oh. That's gonna taste so good. The mushrooms were never the thing that changed. It's just my thoughts about them that did.
This is what is the power of our thinking when it comes to creating desire and over desire. So from now on when you feel over desire in your body, just remind yourself of this. A little or a lot of dopamine is influencing your decision making threshold.
Now, what can you actually do about this? I want to tell you three steps for healing over desire. Step one is just knowing that it's normal and it happens. Desire is a normal human function. The narrator tool that I taught you in episode one is going to help you become familiar and know your stories. Know your familiar patterns of thinking and how you're thinking about food.
Know that these are just stories. They're not facts or universal truth. My mushroom story is perfect example. The mushrooms were never good or bad. It's just that I had thoughts about them, a story about them that made them tasty or not.
Step two, get familiar with what desire and over desire feels like in your body. I want to help you become a ninja of your body. Women and most working moms are so disconnected. Why? Because we're used to calculating and planning from our heads. We're used to being the ninja taskmasters that are constantly calculating and trying to figure out the perfect plan. But this very valuable skill of calculating planning has also led to a deep disconnection from your body.
So this step, step two, is an invitation to drop your awareness to your body again. Remember, she just wants some attention and love. I promise you if she isn't hungry, she doesn't actually want the biscotti.
Step three is to redirect your brain to immediately dampen over desire. When you notice yourself in step one two, gently redirect your thinking. Just like my daughter went from, ooh I want it to ooh, actually, no I don't. Redirect your brain to something that feels believable and loving. This is what I call creating joyous relief. When you free your brain from over desire, you will feel a joyous relief in your body because you're putting the battle weapons down and you're healing from the inside.
Just think about the struggle that you have had so far with over desire, and how it's created the result on the scale and for your body. You never need to give into over desire ever again, and you don't need to use willpower to muscle out of it. Creating joyous relief is going to really be the work that we did together in this episode. It's going to help you heal over desire from the inside.
So to recap, the way you think about food is creating over desire at a chemical level. You have some familiar stories over the years that are deeply familiar and patterned in your brain. You've been battling with over desire either giving in or muscling through it. This has created your current results so far. Instead of battling it, we're going to start healing it. By going back to the narrator tool, dropping your awareness to your body, and redirecting your brain.
Let yourself experience the joyous relief as you practice this skill starting today. In the next episode, we're going to talk about how over hunger is another obstacle to reaching your ideal weight, and exactly what to do to overcome it.
I want to celebrate the launch of this podcast with you, the amazing ninja moms who are ready to create some extra ooey-gooey magic. To celebrate us now being in each other's world, I'm going to be giving away a pair of Apple air pods to three lovely listeners who subscribe, rate, and review the show. I know that working moms are on the go, and I want to help you listen on the magic of your favorite music, audiobooks, and of course podcasts with joy.
I would love your honest feedback so I can create an awesome show that honors your time and provides you golden nuggets of value. Visit theunstoppablemombrain.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the celebration and how to be a part of the magic. I'll be announcing the ninja rockstars on the show in an upcoming episode. See you there.
Thanks for listening to Weight Loss for Unstoppable Moms. It's been an honor spending this time with you and your brilliant brain. If you want more information or resources from the show, visit theunstoppablemombrain.com.