DEEP SUMMARY - The Hunger Habit_ Why We Eat When We're Not Hungry and How to Stop - Judson Brewer



Here is a summary of the key points from the introduction:

  • Jacqui has struggled with her relationship with food her whole life, going through periods of restriction, bingeing, weight fluctuations, and intense self-criticism and shame.

  • As a child she felt pressure from her parents to eat more quickly. As a teenager she felt pressure to be thin and started dieting, which sometimes led to bingeing.

  • She developed a cycle of restricting her eating for long periods and then bingeing, which has continued into her 40s.

  • The author, Dr. Brewer, sees many patients struggling with disordered eating behaviors and strong negative emotions about food and their body. Typical dieting advice does not help many of these patients.

  • Dr. Brewer wants to help patients address the underlying psychological and emotional factors driving their relationship with food, rather than just focusing on calories or rules.

  • Jacqui's story introduces the challenges many people face and sets up the need for a different approach, which the book aims to provide over a 21-day challenge process.

    Here is a summary:

  • The passage discusses how for many patients, no amount of calorie counting or dieting makes a difference in their eating habits and relationship with food. Traditional advice to simply eat less and exercise more does not work for most people.

  • The author realized that for many patients, unhealthy eating patterns were deeply rooted in habitual behaviors and emotional struggles, not just willpower or lack thereof. Problems with food went beyond physical issues and caused deep psychological distress.

  • Research uncovered that habits, not calories or willpower, are a core driver of eating behaviors. Applying principles of habit change from smoking cessation research, the author developed a program to help patients understand their minds and change habitual eating patterns in a sustainable way.

  • Clinical trials found this habit-based approach significantly reduced cravings and helped patients feel in control of their eating instead of feeling controlled by food. It not only changed eating behaviors but also how patients felt about themselves. Breaking unhelpful habits broke destructive cycles with food.

  • The book aims to show readers how to use habit change science and mindfulness to abandon unhelpful eating habits, develop new helpful ones, and ultimately heal one's relationship with food and self through compassion instead of willpower-driven diets or restriction.

    Here is a summary:

  • The passage discusses how habits are hard to break and introduces a 21-day challenge program to help unwind unhealthy food habits by working with the brain.

  • It will focus on identifying eating patterns, interrupting them using awareness instead of willpower, and leveraging the power of the brain to step into new healthy habits.

  • Science-based ways to develop mindful and intuitive eating habits will be covered, drawing on the author's own research studies.

  • Examples from the author's clinic and research will be used to illustrate the science. The goal is to help the reader change their relationship with food so it is no longer a source of stress or obsession.

  • The introduction gives an overview of the chapters to come and sets up the 21-day challenge program to establish new healthy eating habits using insights about how the brain works.

    Here is a summary:

  • Tracy realized through eating carrots while working that she had anxiety. This was the beginning of transforming her relationship with anxiety and food. She realized she was eating to feed feelings rather than actual hunger.

  • She later tried to change her eating habits by having blackberries as a self-care treat when feeling anxious. However, she ended up compulsively eating the entire pint very quickly and still felt unsatisfied afterwards. This highlighted how emotional eating does not actually satisfy the underlying feelings.

  • The passage draws on the Buddhist concept of the "hungry ghost" - having a small mouth but enormous stomach that can never be filled, representing trying to stuff down feelings with food. Emotional eating goes against how our bodies evolved to work.

  • The food industry profits by manipulating foods to be highly addictive, finding the "bliss point" of salt, sugar and fat that drives overconsumption for profit. Food is increasingly engineered for addiction rather than nutrition.

  • When emotions, convenience foods and biological drives get tangled together, it becomes very difficult to change eating habits and imagine alternatives. Understanding how the brain works is an important first step to unraveling these patterns.

    Here is a summary:

  • Jack describes having a problematic relationship with Corn Nuts, a salty snack. He says he eats "about a hundred at a time", which is likely an exaggeration but illustrates how much he consumes.

  • Jack says he has "automatic eating" where he just shovels food in without thinking. He gives examples of eating large amounts of pasta, bagels, and ice cream without being able to control himself.

  • The psychiatrist explains that Jack's brain has both a survival brain and planning brain. The survival brain is focused on immediate needs like eating, while the planning brain uses memory and predictive processing.

  • Positive reinforcement explains how we learn to remember and seek out food sources through rewards like dopamine release. Negative reinforcement teaches us to avoid dangers through unpleasant experiences.

  • Jack's brain learned through positive reinforcement that Corn Nuts were high in calories. This led to the habit of automatically eating them without thinking whenever they were available due to reinforcement of that rewarding behavior.

So in summary, the psychiatrist analyzes Jack's overeating in terms of the brain's survival and planning functions, and how reinforcement learning shapes behaviors around food seeking and avoidance.

Here's a summary:

  • Negative reinforcement can teach us to eat our feelings in response to stress and emotions. Our natural biological response to stress is to lose appetite, but over time we learn to use food to numb unpleasant emotions.

  • When stressed, our survival brain takes over from the thinking prefrontal cortex. It looks for quick ways to relieve the bad feelings, like eating comforting foods. This wires food and mood together in our brains.

  • Every time we eat to soothe emotions, it strengthens the habit loop. Distraction from eating gives temporary relief but doesn't solve the underlying issues causing stress.

  • Over many repetitions, this negative reinforcement can lead to emotional overeating and weight gain. However, the habits can be rewired by tapping into the brain's ability to change patterns and listening to fullness cues from the body.

    Here is a summary:

  • Rob was referred to the author's anxiety clinic due to severe panic attacks he would experience while driving.

  • Rob had been struggling with anxiety since the 5th grade. He would use fast food to numb himself from anxiety and panic. This became a coping mechanism and habit for him over decades.

  • Like many patients, Rob used eating and weight loss/diet cycles to try and cope with or repair his anxiety issues. Fast food provided temporary escape and numbing of feelings.

  • Rob's habit of binge eating fast food secretly in his car had taken a toll on his physical and mental health. However, he felt unable to break the cycle.

  • The author hopes sharing Rob's story of overcoming severe anxiety, including addictive eating behaviors, can help others who suffer from similar issues. Rob has since gone on to coach others dealing with anxiety after making progress in therapy.

    Here is a summary of the key points:

  • The Rescorla-Wagner model is a mathematical equation that describes how learning works through positive and negative reinforcement. It takes into account how the brain compares reality to expectations.

  • The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) calculates reward values for behaviors based on past experience and sets up a reward hierarchy. Behaviors that are better than expected cause a positive prediction error and increase in that behavior, while worse than expected causes a negative prediction error and decrease.

  • Habits form when a behavior is repeatedly positively reinforced, locking in its reward value and priority in the reward hierarchy. Habits are automatic until something changes the reward value.

  • Our brains balance exploring new options for rewards vs. exploiting known high-reward options. Too much of either can be problematic. Dopamine levels affect this tradeoff by promoting exploration with increased tonic firing and exploitation with decreased tonic firing.

  • Directed vs. random exploration strategies resolve whether to try something new based on available information from others vs. randomly exploring on one's own. Both have advantages for learning about new reward opportunities.

    Here is a summary:

  • The passage discusses why diets and willpower-based approaches to weight loss often don't work in the long run. It cites evidence that willpower is more of a myth than a muscle that can be strengthened through force of will.

  • When people try to restrict or deny themselves certain foods, they often want those foods even more due to the "abstinence violation effect." Forbidding something makes the craving persist and intensify until people break down and overindulge.

  • This effect, also known as the "f*ck-its", has been well documented in addiction research. When people relapse after a period of sobriety, they often don't just have a small indulgence but return fully to problematic use.

  • Dieting puts the focus on willpower and restriction rather than understanding how our brains work. This leads to failed diets and yo-yo weight fluctuations as people cannot sustain willpower-based approaches long term. A different solution is needed that accounts for cognitive and emotional factors influencing eating behaviors.

So in summary, the passage argues that traditional dieting doesn't work because it relies on willpower, whereas our brains are actually wired in a way that makes sustained willpower very difficult and contributes to the rebound effect of forbidden foods. A better approach needs to work with our brain's natural tendencies.

Here is a summary:

  • The passage discusses some of the problems with a willpower-based approach to dieting and controlling food intake. Research shows willpower is limited and trying to exert self-control can be counterproductive in the long run.

  • When people break their diet rules or "food rules", they may feel like they've already screwed up so they say "f*ck it" and abandon their diet altogether through binge eating. This is known as the "abstinence violation effect."

  • Counting calories and restricting food intake puts the body into "starvation mode" where it decreases metabolism to conserve energy. This makes long-term weight loss difficult.

  • Measuring food intake and exercise (e.g. through apps) gives the illusion of control but can actually be undermining genuine habit change. It often leads to obsessive behaviors like constantly checking progress.

  • Uncertainty is anxiety-provoking for our survival brains. Behaviors like overplanning and excessive tracking are ways we try to gain a sense of control and reduce uncertainty, but they are avoidance tactics that don't address underlying issues.

So in summary, the passage discusses research showing the limitations of willpower-based diets and how behaviors like strict measuring can paradoxically undermine long-term progress by increasing anxiety and avoidance rather than cultivating sustainable habits.

Here's a summary of the key points:

  • The passage discusses how our brains crave certainty and feel more satisfied by absolute claims rather than ambiguous responses like "it depends." Certainty gives us a sense of control and predictability.

  • Tracking things like food, steps, weight, etc. can provide a sense of certainty and control, which is rewarding for the brain. It reduces ambiguity.

  • However, tracking/measuring can become addictive due to completion bias and intermittent rewards (like closing activity rings). This activates the brain's reward system in a way that can become compulsive.

  • When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. In other words, obsessively tracking something changes its purpose from information to control, which can enable disordered behaviors.

  • In summary, while measuring gives short-term satisfaction, it is ultimately a "crutch" that promises control but does not truly provide it and can enable unhealthy compulsions if taken to an extreme. Moderation and balance are important.

So in essence, the passage discusses both the rewarding aspects of certainty and measuring for the brain, but also how it can become an unhealthy addiction or enable disordered behaviors if not approached mindfully. Moderation is key.

Here is a summary:

This chapter introduces a 21-day challenge to help change unhealthy eating habits. It acknowledges that habits have often developed over many years, so changing them will not happen overnight. The challenge aims to reset unhealthy patterns, not wipe the slate clean.

It recognizes the common impulse for quick results but urges patience. Lasting change requires understanding habit loops through direct experience over time. Mapping out triggers and cues in the early days helps develop awareness to navigate challenges ahead.

While habits were not the person's fault, it is within their power to relearn new patterns. The brain can learn quickly, even if unlearning takes longer. But lasting transformation need not take as many years as it took to form unhealthy habits. With kindness, curiosity and practice over 21 days, a new foundation can be laid for a good relationship with food and oneself.

Here is a summary:

  • The article discusses how the idea that it takes 21 days to break or form a new habit originated from a 1960 book by plastic surgeon Maxwell Maltz. He observed it took patients around 21 days to adjust to their new appearance after nose jobs.

  • However, there is little scientific evidence to support the 21-day claim. How long it actually takes depends on the habit, the person, their genes, environment, and social factors. Habit formation is complex and varies significantly between individuals.

  • The author's research found eating habits can change relatively quickly, though they don't promise specific results or timeframes. They chose 21 days as the length of their program to balance content delivery and experience over time.

  • Changing one's relationship with eating involves 3 parts: mapping habits, changing brain reward values, and finding more rewarding behaviors. The 21 days provides steps to work through these parts.

  • The focus should be on developing awareness and self-kindness, which are crucial for change. Goals are set to provide direction, though they should be held lightly rather than forcing change. Factors like past efforts are reviewed to better understand approaches.

In summary, the article critically examines the 21-day habit claim, emphasizes variability between individuals, and presents a mindfulness-based approach to changing eating behaviors over 21 days focused on awareness, self-compassion, and exploration of habits and values.

Here is a summary:

  • Jacqui struggled with disordered eating patterns and dieting for most of her life. She felt trapped in unhealthy cycles and that she would need to be on diets forever.

  • However, her story has a happy ending as she learned to relate to herself and her body differently with more self-compassion. She understood how her body and mind work and learned to work with them, not against them.

  • Her story provides hope that others can also break free from unhealthy cycles through gaining awareness, identifying existing patterns, and applying new tools and approaches.

  • Before solving a problem, we must establish a baseline to understand where we are currently at. Readers are asked to reflect on their own history with food and eating patterns over their life to identify their personal baseline.

  • Mapping out "food habit loops" by identifying triggers, behaviors, and rewards can provide insight into why unhealthy eating patterns develop and are maintained. This gives awareness to work on making changes.

  • Examples are given of others who saw success by gain insight through mapping out their loops to better understand their relationship with food and how it relates to emotions. Mapping seems to be a simple but powerful first step prior to trying to alter behaviors.

    Here is a summary:

  • The author argues that we often ignore or override the signals and feedback our bodies provide through senses, physiology, etc. We live disconnected from our bodies.

  • Learning to listen to bodily signals is important for breaking habit loops. The body constantly provides feedback through signals like hunger, fullness, tiredness, discomfort, etc.

  • However, we've gotten in the habit of ignoring these signals and overriding them with habitual behaviors. This keeps us stuck in old patterns.

  • Early experiences like trauma, abuse, shame, etc. can lead us to distance ourselves from our bodies through behaviors like overeating or restricting food. We lose touch with our bodies.

  • Reconnecting with bodily signals and feedback is an important part of changing habits and regaining a sense of trust and comfort in one's own body. We need to listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us.

So in summary, the author argues we need to reconnect with our bodies by listening to the feedback and signals it constantly provides, rather than ignoring or overriding these signals through habitual behaviors. This helps break loops and regain control.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Anne struggled with food restrictions and dieting for decades, trying to follow strict rules and plans from nutrition books. This just created more distance between her and her body.

  • She had over 70 food rules at one point and would meticulously count and weigh her food. But she would often binge on forbidden foods later in the day when she lost control.

  • Focusing so much on rules and experts rather than listening to her body made it difficult for Anne to discern her bodily signals like hunger and fullness. She had spent years ignoring these signals.

  • The passage encourages noticing how we ignore bodily sensations like needing to use the bathroom, getting tired, or feeling stressed. Paying attention to these signals can help relearn to listen to our bodies.

  • Cravings are different than general hunger. Hunger wants calories, while cravings focus on a specific food. Food craving involves intense desire, urges, and thoughts that we can't get the craved food out of our minds.

  • Brain areas like the prefrontal cortex and ventral striatum are involved in food craving and anticipation of reward. Dopamine release helps reinforce learning where to find rewarding foods and urges us to seek them out.

    Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters produced naturally in the body that bind to the same receptors as THC in marijuana. They help regulate processes like appetite, digestion, pain, mood and sleep.

  • Running's high is likely caused by the body's natural release of endocannabinoids, not just endorphin release as previously thought.

  • Dopamine is involved in "wanting" or motivation/drive rather than pure "liking". It motivates us to take action to obtain rewards.

  • There is a difference between "liking" which is the pleasant feeling, versus "wanting" which involves urges/cravings to obtain something. Thinking of clothes you like doesn't trigger urges, but favorite foods can.

  • Cravings originate in the brain, not stomach, as the brain interprets stomach signals. Paying attention to bodily sensations can help distinguish true hunger from emotional eating.

  • Low-fat foods are problematic as they lack fat to induce fullness, leading to overeating and sugar cravings to replace fat. This traps people in craving cycles.

  • The "hunger test" is outlined to help discern true homeostatic hunger from emotional/habitual hedonic hunger by checking physical and emotional symptoms. This helps determine if eating is appropriate or if another coping strategy is needed.

    Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Habits are driven by habit loops that involve cues, routines, and rewards in the brain. Increased awareness of these loops is important for changing habits.

  • Hunger and cravings can be caused by both physical hunger (homeostatic hunger) and emotional/psychological factors like stress, boredom, etc. (hedonic hunger).

  • The "hunger test" is proposed as a tool to help distinguish between homeostatic and hedonic hunger by evaluating factors like time since last meal, hunger cues, emotions, etc. This helps identify the true cause behind urges to eat.

  • Paying attention, like really noticing food flavors and body sensations, is important for recalibrating reward responses in the brain and breaking unhealthy habits like overeating or emotional eating.

  • The book recommends using awareness tools like mindfulness to pay close attention to eating behaviors and cues in order to learn new habits. Simply being more conscious and present during eating can help make wiser food choices.

  • The goal is to make paying attention a new "comfort zone" habit to support long-term behavior change, rather than relying on willpower which isn't sustainable. Awareness is key to changing habits.

    Here is a summary:

  • The chapter discusses how paying attention can change reward values and habits related to eating. Specifically, it focuses on paying attention to the reward/result part of a habit loop when making food choices.

  • Paying attention allows the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in the brain to accurately assess the reward value of different foods based on taste, fullness, and how they make you feel. This helps update reward hierarchies in the brain.

  • Positive or negative "prediction errors" reinforce or weaken behaviors depending on if a food is better or worse than expected when paying attention. This guides future choices without using willpower.

  • The author shares her personal experience using mindfulness to break her gummy worm addiction. By paying attention while eating them, she realized they weren't as satisfying as she remembered and lost interest over time.

  • Paying attention also helped her learn natural hunger/fullness cues and stop overeating out of a past fear of running out of food before her next meal. Examining habit loops was useful for understanding and changing behaviors.

  • In summary, the chapter argues that awareness and paying attention are crucial for accurately assessing rewards and using prediction errors to guide new habits and food choices. This facilitates change without relying on willpower alone.

    Here is a summary of the key points:

  • The passage describes the "raisin exercise" that is done in the first class of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs. Each person is given a single raisin and instructed to observe it in a mindful, curious way using their senses.

  • People take time to closely examine the raisin visually from every angle, listen to any sounds it makes when rolled between fingers, smell its scent, note the bodily sensation of salivation before eating, and then eat it very slowly, paying attention to the taste and sensations in the mouth.

  • The goal is to observe a familiar food, the raisin, with fresh, beginner's mind curiosity as if experiencing it for the first time, rather than on autopilot. This exercise teaches mindful eating techniques of slowing down and bringing awareness to all sensory aspects of eating.

  • Graduates of MBSR consider the raisin exercise to be a rite of passage and memorable introduction to mindfulness practices. It illustrates how paying careful attention to eating can reveal new things we hadn't noticed before about familiar foods.

So in summary, the passage describes the iconic "raisin exercise" mindfulness practice and how it teaches skills of mindful, Slow eating through multi-sensory observation of a single raisin.

Here is a summary:

  • Mindful eating involves paying attention to how food tastes, smells, feels and looks while eating, which allows for a more enjoyable eating experience. It doesn't require special conditions, just being in a quiet, distraction-free space.

  • Most people lose focus on their food after the first couple bites. A mindful eating questionnaire evaluates how distracted or emotionally driven people tend to be when eating. Most score high on mindless eating behaviors.

  • Mindfulness is rooted in Buddhist psychology but doesn't require a high level of attainment. Paying attention in the present moment is something we all can do.

  • Mindful eating isn't synonymous with slow eating. While some exercises like contemplating a raisin for 30 minutes emphasize slowness, normal life doesn't allow that. We can eat mindfully even with time constraints by paying attention to why and how we eat within our existing routine. Moving quickly doesn't preclude awareness or mindful eating.

So in summary, it frames mindful eating as bringing awareness to all aspects of eating, not just slowness, and shows it is achievable even for busy lifestyles by paying attention within one's existing rhythms and habits.

Here is a summary:

  • The passage discusses mindful eating in social situations, which can be challenging but is an opportunity to practice paying attention to one bite at a time. Even taking a short moment of mindfulness with each bite can help develop the habit over many experiences.

  • It provides an example of someone who mindfully enjoyed four M&Ms instead of eating the whole bag automatically.

  • It addresses three common myths about mindful eating: that it must be slow eating, can only be done in isolation, and turns eating into a chore rather than pleasure.

  • It introduces the concept of a "raisin ritual" mindfulness exercise to explore the sensory experience of eating a single food slowly and with curiosity.

  • The next section discusses reconnecting with the body through a body scan meditation exercise to become more aware of physical sensations and hunger cues. It provides instructions for performing a body scan to anchor awareness in the present moment sensations of different body parts.

    Here is a summary:

  • The passage provides instructions for doing a body scan meditation, where one brings focused attention to different parts of the body to notice any physical sensations.

  • It guides the reader through systematically scanning areas like the feet, legs, abdomen, chest, arms, neck, face and whole body.

  • The purpose is to cultivate awareness of physical sensations without judgment. It helps tune into subtle body signals that can provide insights into emotions and drives behaviors.

  • The body scan is suggested as something that can help calm the mind before sleeping if thoughts are racing. Regular practice may help better interpret hunger cues.

  • A story is shared of how dropping into the body helped a woman realize she wasn't physically hungry when craving junk food out of anger - she was able to meet her emotional, not physical, need.

  • In summary, the body scan meditation is presented as a tool to develop insight into one's physical and emotional states from a place of non-judgmental awareness.

    Here is a summary:

  • Chapter discusses a study where participants ate their favorite chocolate in a brain scanner to see how pleasure changed with increasing amounts. Pleasure peaked and then rapidly declined, showing a "pleasure plateau".

  • The pleasure plateau refers to how liking and wanting food starts high, peaks, then declines after reaching a tipping point where more is no longer pleasant or wanted.

  • It's easy to unintentionally go past the plateau and overeat, feeling unpleasantly full. Mindlessly eating or eating desserts makes plateau harder to detect.

  • Practicing awareness of each bite helps map one's own plateaus. One can pay attention to whether each subsequent bite is more, same or less pleasant than the last. This awareness avoids declining enjoyment but continuing to eat by habit.

  • Finding individual plateaus helps stop at a natural, pleasantly satisfied point rather than unintentionally overeating and feeling uncomfortably full.

    Here is a summary:

  • The craving tool is meant to help reconnect our brain and body when it comes to eating by bringing more awareness to how indulging cravings actually makes us feel.

  • When you have a craving, indulge it as usual but pay close attention to what you're eating, how it tastes, your physical and emotional reactions as you eat.

  • After eating, reflect on how much you ate, how your body and emotions feel now, and what thoughts you're having. Rate each on a scale.

  • Adding up the ratings gives you a "score" - positive means you're still enchanted with what you did, negative suggests disenchantment as your body shows indulging wasn't as rewarding as your brain expected.

  • The goal is to gain insight through experience into how indulging cravings actually makes you feel versus what your brain expects. Over time this helps reconnect brain and body and recalibrate your reward system and pleasure plateaus.

    Here is a summary of the key points about our brain from the passage:

  • Our brains are heavily influenced by language and how we describe experiences to ourselves. The words we use to think and talk about things can shape how we perceive them.

  • Asking about feeling "satisfied" vs "content" after eating can yield different insights. Feeling momentarily satisfied is different from ongoing contentment.

  • The brain does not like to suddenly change established reward values or behaviors based on a single data point. It takes multiple instances of noticing a behavior's consequences to really recalibrate reward values and drive behavioral change.

  • Using the "craving tool" (paying attention to thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations after eating) was shown in studies to recalibrate reward values and drive shifts in eating behavior after only 10-15 uses. Changes can happen relatively quickly with awareness.

  • Suffering and dissatisfaction are natural motivators for change since they drive curiosity to explore outcomes and become disenchanted with unhelpful habits or cycles. Willpower is not needed if curiosity is cultivated.

So in summary, the passage discusses how our brains are wired for language and habit, but also adapt and change rewards values relatively quickly through repeated experiences of paying attention to outcomes with curiosity rather than willpower.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • The craving tool helps build a "disenchantment database" by tracking negative experiences from eating certain foods or overeating. This undermines the appeal of habitual behaviors over time.

  • It takes repeated use of the craving tool to accumulate enough negative experiences in the disenchantment database. This helps curb cravings and weaken habitual behavior patterns.

  • Breaking long-held habits developed over many years still does not take as long as it took to form them originally, but it does take some repetition to build awareness.

  • Our brains prefer immediate, small rewards over larger, delayed rewards due to a phenomenon called "delay discounting." We are wired to choose what gives instant gratification rather than waiting for future benefit. This explains why habits are hard to change.

  • Understanding how delay discounting works can help leverage it by choosing to change habits now rather than continually putting it off into an uncertain future when habits will be even stronger. The craving tool is one technique to overcome delay discounting.

In summary, it discusses how using the craving tool regularly helps build negative associations with habitual behaviors and curb cravings over time, despite the brain's preference for immediate rewards due to delay discounting. Understanding delay discounting can motivate choosing change now versus delaying it.

Here is a summary of the key points about renched in the passage:

  • Renched refers to becoming disenchanted or losing enthusiasm for something over time through repeated experiences.

  • Tracy describes how it took her many Thanksgivings and holiday meals to become renched with overeating to the point of feeling ill or in a food coma afterwards. It was a process over multiple trials.

  • Our brains tend to discount or forget the negative outcomes of past behaviors and focus on the positive memories. Repeated observations over time are needed for the truth to sink in and for lasting change.

  • As we pay careful attention each time and observe the results, our reward signals in the brain get updated. Our "pleasure plateau" and satisfaction point gets recalibrated based on reality.

  • By accumulating these observations over many instances, we fill our "disenchantment database" with this new information which eventually crowds out the old patterns. This makes the new behavior our new habit.

  • Renching or becoming disenchanted with an unhelpful behavior is how we accrue enough negative experience to be able to rely on past learning and say "no thanks" instead of repeating mistakes.

So in summary, renched refers to losing enthusiasm or becoming disenchanted through accumulating negative experiences over repeated trials and observations over time. It's part of establishing new habits and behaviors.

Here is a summary:

  • Retrospectives involve replaying past experiences where one overate or indulged in an unhelpful way. Recalling the sensations, thoughts, and emotions vividly helps rewire the brain's associations.

  • Recalling discomforts like a stomachache from overeating lowers the reward value assigned to that behavior. This helps weaken future urges and cravings.

  • Retrospectives are most effective when the feelings are relived vividly, rather than just analyzing cognitively. This recreates the brain patterns from the original experience.

  • The retrospective process was demonstrated with a participant who indulged in unhealthy chips and cheese when tired. Recalling the discomfort helped shift her mindset from criticism to learning.

  • Part 2 of the craving tool builds on retrospectives. When craving something, one imagines eating it and envisioning the likely consequences - how it will feel physically and emotionally. This allows assessing the stored reward value to predict future outcomes.

So in summary, retrospectives and part 2 of the craving tool involve vividly recalling past indulgences and envisioning future ones to rewire brain associations and predict rewards/consequences, helping weaken future unhelpful urges.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Part 2 of the Craving Tool asks you to imagine eating the food you're craving and pay attention to how it makes you feel physically, emotionally and mentally.

  • After imagining eating it, you rate factors like how much you ate, how you feel physically and emotionally, and the types of thoughts you are having.

  • This allows you to simulate the experience of eating it without actually doing so, drawing on past experiences stored in your memory ("databank").

  • If you have paid careful attention in the past, imagining it may make you less excited to eat it. If you don't have much data, it can increase cravings temporarily as you build more experiences.

  • The tool relies on awareness - remembering past experiences predicts future behavior and helps regulate urges.

  • Practicing it deposits more "disenchantment data" that your brain can draw on to say eating something won't feel good.

  • Examples are provided of how others have used imagining eating to feel empowered over cravings and not act on urges.

  • Readers are encouraged to use Part 2 the next time a craving strikes to potentially help pass the urge without eating.

So in summary, it introduces Part 2 of the Craving Tool which involves imagining eating to simulate the experience, draws on memory/awareness, and aims to help regulate cravings by building "disenchantment data".

Here is a summary:

  • Mary Beth, a substance abuse counselor, shares her experience with using food as a reward growing up. Her father would reward her with ice cream or a banana split for good grades in school, unintentionally creating an association between accomplishment and food.

  • As an adult, Mary Beth found herself using food as a reward for any achievements, creating an unhealthy habit loop.

  • The author discusses how many of us unintentionally develop habits of using food to reward or soothe ourselves through conditioning as children.

  • Jacqui struggled with intense cravings for forbidden foods like Chinese takeout whenever she tried to restrict her eating. Her cravings felt like a monster growing bigger over time until she gave in.

  • The author introduces RAIN as a mindfulness practice to help work with cravings - Recognize, Accept, Investigate, Note. This involves consciously observing and describing craving sensations non-judgmentally rather than giving in or ignoring them.

  • The author has seen RAIN successfully help people curb cravings by changing their relationship with the experience through mindfulness instead of reactionary behavior.

    Here is a summary:

  • The author introduces RAIN, a mindfulness practice for riding out cravings. It involves Recognizing, Allowing, Investigating, and Noting the sensations of a craving without acting on it.

  • They tested RAIN with patients in their clinic and through a formal research study, finding it helped people reduce craving-driven eating by 40%.

  • The story of Jacqui is shared, who used RAIN to successfully ride out a craving for Chinese food in a grocery store parking lot, realizing she didn't need to indulge it. This gave her a newfound freedom around food.

  • With continued RAIN practice and focusing on how foods made her feel, not weight, Jacqui developed a normal relationship with food, lost 28 pounds healthily, and found balance.

  • Cravings are shown to typically only last 1-12 minutes, much shorter than expected. RAIN helps ride them out without feeding the craving monster. The practice of RAIN gives freedom over cravings.

So in summary, RAIN is introduced as an effective mindfulness technique for managing cravings by allowing, investigating and noting the sensations without acting on the craving, as demonstrated through a patient case study.

Here is a summary:

  • Noting is a mindfulness practice where you label or describe your present moment experiences in brief, non-judgmental terms. This includes thoughts, emotions, sensations, sights, sounds, etc.

  • Noting helps create distance and perspective from your experiences. It frames them mentally so you observe them rather than getting caught up in them.

  • This allows you to respond thoughtfully rather than react habitually when strong emotions or thoughts arise.

  • The author found noting especially helpful for riding out panic attacks. By noting symptoms, the thinking brain could process what was happening and prevent escalation.

  • Noting anything from 6 senses is recommended to start - seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting, thinking.

  • With practice, noting can become more nuanced by labeling specific thoughts, emotions, body sensations.

  • Frequent, consistent noting is needed to make it a habit. The advice is to "note your ass off" throughout the day to build the skill over time.

So in summary, noting is a mindfulness technique that helps create observer-perspective through brief labeling of experiences, to respond thoughtfully instead of reacting to thoughts and emotions.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Noting helps train the mind to be more present and less identified with thoughts, emotions, and sensations. It can help break habit loops related to eating.

  • Start with short moments of noting throughout the day, like when brushing teeth or bathing. Note sights, sounds, feelings, and thoughts. Layer noting onto daily routines to build the habit.

  • Noting may initially feel like work or distraction, but with practice it becomes easier. Keep notes simple like "seeing", "hearing" if more specific notes cause effort.

  • Note if the practice creates its own expectations, like wanting cravings to go away. Note resistance or wanting to change experience instead.

  • Noting while driving is possible by keeping it simple and focused on presence over thought. It can help anxious drivers.

  • Our brains can be harsh critics, judging ourselves for food choices. Noting can help observe these thoughts objectively versus internally.

The key is using regular, brief noting practice throughout the day to build the habit of presence and objectively observing inner experiences, like self-criticism, without internalizing or resisting them. This "fires the committee" of judgment and breaks eating habit loops.

Here are the key points:

  • Our brains create emotions in response to our eating behaviors, specifically guilt and shame. Eating can trigger negative emotions, and negative emotions can trigger more eating.

  • We have internal "committees" or voices in our heads that judge our food choices and behaviors. This committee gives opinions, advice, rules, and judges us when we break rules.

  • Listening to these judgmental internal voices can lead to shame, guilt, and unhealthy eating habits as we try to soothe those negative emotions with food.

  • By becoming aware of these internal voices and committee members, we can gain distance and stop being pulled around by our thoughts and judgments. We are not our thoughts - we can observe them without identifying with them.

  • Naming the different committee members helps us recognize when they are speaking up so we are less likely to believe them or be controlled by them. This observing gives us perspective and power over our internal conversations.

So in summary, our emotions and behaviors around food are interconnected, and becoming aware of negative self-talk can help break cycles of emotions leading to overeating and vice versa.

Here is a summary:

  • Curiosity comes in two types - deprivation curiosity and interest curiosity. Deprivation curiosity is driven by a need to acquire specific information when deprived of it. Interest curiosity is more about enjoying the process of learning and gathering information.

  • Deprivation curiosity feels urgent and closes us down to just achieving the goal of getting the information. Interest curiosity is more open and focused on enjoying the learning process without feeling rushed.

  • Both types of curiosity drive us to seek information like hunger drives us to seek food. Acquiring new information stimulates the brain's reward pathways, similarly to consuming calories.

  • Cultivating interest curiosity is presented as a key mindset for changing behaviors. It allows focusing on enjoyment of learning and discovery rather than just achieving a goal. This opens us up to new experiences rather than feeling closed or driven to achieve something.

In summary, the passage discusses the two types of curiosity - deprivation and interest - and promotes cultivating interest curiosity as a mindset that can support behavior change by focusing on enjoyment of learning rather than just achieving goals. Both types stimulate reward pathways in the brain but interest curiosity is suggested to create a more open learning experience.

Here is a summary:

  • The passage discusses two types of curiosity - deprivation curiosity and interest curiosity. Deprivation curiosity is aimed at fulfilling a lack or need for information, while interest curiosity is about enjoying the learning process itself.

  • Interest curiosity is more difficult to study scientifically compared to deprivation curiosity. However, one can experience it personally by discovering that being truly curious about something feels intrinsically rewarding. Interest curiosity feeds on itself as we enjoy the learning journey rather than focusing on an end destination or goal.

  • Interest curiosity helps promote an open and learning mindset. It allows us to see familiar things in a new light by subtracting out assumptions. This helps with learning, growth and survival.

  • The passage encourages cultivating interest curiosity when exploring practices in the book. This fosters open-mindedness over self-judgement and helps make the learning journey more enjoyable.

  • The final section will discuss developing the freedom to choose helpful habits through listening to one's body, disconnecting from "should" thinking, and replacing old habits with better ones that provide superior rewards over time. Kindness and curiosity reinforce each other and support learning and growth.

    Here is a summary:

  • The passage describes a series of personal experiences that highlight the connection between food and mood. As a child, the author realized sugar caused stomach upset.

  • As a middle schooler racing BMX bikes, the author's performance declined as sugar highs wore off, making them grumpy. Switching to a peanut butter and honey sandwich provided sustained energy and a better mood.

  • Nutritional psychiatry research shows links between unhealthy diets, inflammation, and mood disorders like depression. What we eat can impact both physical and mental health.

  • Knowing this food-mood connection allows us to choose "bigger better offers" - foods that make us feel good without cravings for more. The author has given up soda based on how it makes them feel versus healthier options.

  • In summary, the passage details the author's experiences discovering as a child how food impacts mood and energy. It also outlines emerging research supporting this link and how understanding the food-mood relationship helps make positive dietary choices.

    Here is a summary:

  • The passage describes a woman, Tasha, who was referred to a clinic for Binge Eating Disorder (BED). She met all the diagnostic criteria for BED, such as eating large amounts when not feeling physically hungry and feeling depressed/guilty after overeating.

  • The traditional treatment would involve medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and nutritional counseling. However, the doctor felt her full story was more complex.

  • Tasha had a history of trauma and had learned at a young age that eating allowed her to numb negative emotions. She would binge on entire pizzas 20 out of 30 days per month, and sometimes binge again after an initial binge.

  • Her binge eating had negatively impacted her health and mental state - she was overweight, depressed, felt guilty about bingeing and unable to stop the cycle.

  • The doctor felt hopeful they could help turn things around by understanding her habit loop - the triggers, behaviors, and rewards involved in her binge eating. Mapping this out also showed how bingeing led to further shame and another "binge on top of binge."

In summary, it describes a woman referred for binge eating disorder who used food to cope with trauma, but the doctor hoped to help by understanding her eating habits as a learned behavior and breaking the cycle.

Here is a summary:

  • The passage describes a woman, Tasha, who gets stuck in a cycle of binge eating, then feeling guilty and judging herself, which leads to more binge eating.

  • Her brain has learned that binge eating is the only way to deal with negative emotions. This sets up an unhelpful habit loop that is hard to break.

  • Research is discussed showing that depressed individuals tend to choose sad stimuli (images or music) over happy ones, preferring familiar negative feelings. This is because the brain resists change and seeks familiarity and comfort.

  • The passage argues Tasha gets nothing rewarding from self-judging except more binge eating. It reinforces the habit. Kindness is proposed as a better alternative habit that feels good.

  • Research found kindness ranks very high in terms of mental states people prefer. It is discussed as a natural compassionate response to suffering that can replace self-judgment.

  • An example is given of how Tasha started recognizing self-judgment feels bad, while kindness like doing something for others feels good - and can then be directed inward. The goal is to replace the self-judgment habit with one of self-kindness.

    Here is a summary:

  • Tracy described the feeling of kindness as being like "wearing one of my softest sweaters, but I don't just feel the soft sweater on my skin—I feel it all the way through my body. It's a comfort."

  • Research by the author and their lab has found that practicing kindness, such as through loving-kindness meditation, quiets the brain regions associated with craving and negative emotions. Kindness "cools the brain regions that heat up with craving."

  • The author then outlines a kindness meditation exercise that involves bringing to mind a role model, being someone who shows unconditional love, and directing kind wishes like "May you be happy" and "May you care for yourself joyfully" towards them while noticing the bodily sensations.

  • The goal is to become familiar with the feeling of kindness in the body in order to more easily access and apply it towards oneself through small daily acts of self-kindness. Regular practice is encouraged to strengthen this habit.

In summary, the passage discusses framing kindness as a physically felt, comforting experience and provides a guided meditation to help cultivate feelings of kindness, both towards others and oneself. Neuroscience research supports that kindness has beneficial impacts on brain regions linked to stress and craving.

Here are the key points I gathered:

  • Practicing self-kindness and loving-kindness can help overcome self-judgment, shame, and negative thought patterns that may be fueling unhelpful behaviors like binge eating. Tasha was able to stop bingeing and enjoy food once she practiced self-kindness.

  • Self-compassion practices are found in many religious/spiritual traditions. Formal trainings like Kristin Neff's self-compassion course can also help build this capacity. But the most important thing is paying attention to how much better self-love and kindness feel compared to self-criticism.

  • During the day, check in with your thoughts and actions. When noticing unkind patterns, ask what you get from them. Practice viewing the world through "care and kindness glasses" instead of "judge and jury glasses." Do small acts of kindness for others and yourself.

  • Before bed, listen to a loving-kindness meditation to get in the habit. Note when kind inner voices show up during the day - name, notice, and give them a microphone.

  • While behavioral models provide valuable scientific insights, an individual's history and context are also important to consider, especially for those with trauma experiences. A full understanding requires an integration of both factors.

    Here are the key points:

  • Trauma can trigger avoidance mechanisms like overeating as a way to protect oneself from distressing memories and emotions. This is an unconscious process that the brain learns.

  • Feelings of guilt and shame are common for trauma survivors, thinking they could have prevented the trauma. But the author stresses it is not their fault, as children have little control over their circumstances.

  • Grounding techniques like mindfulness can help trauma survivors separate past memories from present experiences, recognize danger signals may be false alarms now, and decouple memories from emotional reactions.

  • Therapies like EMDR may help experience emotions as present-moment feelings separate from thoughts and memories. This can break habit loops tied to past trauma.

  • With practice, survivors can recognize how past coping mechanisms may now be harmful, but were understandable protective responses given their circumstances at the time. Healing involves honoring the past self while changing unhelpful present habits.

So in summary, the author discusses how trauma shapes avoidance behaviors through reinforcement learning, but that present-moment awareness techniques can help break those links to the past and change ingrained habits.

Here is a summary:

  • The participant talks about building trust in oneself through experience, not just reading concepts in a book. True change comes from practicing the concepts and collecting your own data.

  • There are two types of trust - a leap of faith when trying something new, and "evidence-based trust" which comes from one's own experiences.

  • By practicing the mindfulness exercises in the book daily, the reader has been collecting important personal data to build their own "disenchantment databank" and evidence that certain behaviors don't actually help solve problems or make them feel better.

  • As the reader gathers more evidence through practice, their brain will become disenchanted with unhelpful habits like emotional overeating. This helps build lasting change as they learn to truly trust themselves based on their own experiences, not just concepts in a book. Experience is what turns concepts into real wisdom.

The key point is that building self-trust requires going beyond just reading concepts, and instead practicing mindfulness exercises to collect personal evidence and data that supports changing behaviors and habits long-term. Experience is what cements new understandings.

Here is a summary:

  • The participant asked what to do when tired but needing to work, as they often use chocolate for an energy boost. This highlights relying on short-term "hacks" that don't address the underlying needs.

  • Maslow's hierarchy of needs points out that we should focus on meeting basic physiological and safety needs before psychological needs. However, we often short-circuit this by focusing on wants over needs.

  • Wanting food comes from an underlying need, but we can get caught in want-based cycles through habit. Over time we listen more to wants than needs.

  • Taking care of needs like sleep, recreation, etc. works better than short-term hacks and provides more lasting fulfillment. The participant quotes someone who focuses more on broader needs like hobbies instead of eating for negative emotions.

  • Becoming aware of habit loops and how certain behaviors make us feel helps replace unhelpful habits. Focusing on present experience and kindness toward oneself is important. Meeting needs through awareness provides a "bigger best offer" than focusing on wants.

    Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Mindfulness is not a magic cure-all, but it can help us learn and build wisdom through open-minded observation of our experiences.

  • Cultivating a "beginner's mind" allows us to see the world fresh instead of through lenses of past biases and judgments.

  • Vipassana means "special seeing" - clearly seeing the path forward removes doubt and uncertainty.

  • Curiosity helps take off the "glasses of expectation" so we approach experiences with wonder rather than assumptions.

  • Curiosity is a better option for dealing with cravings than resisting them, which tends to make them persist. Looking at cravings curiously can turn them into learning opportunities.

  • Checking in with our internal dialogue, tone of voice, facial expressions can help maintain curiosity and prevent autopilot reactions.

  • Pausing to be present gives our minds time to remember what we've learned - that impatience slows us down while patience moves us forward.

  • Reflecting on past experiences, like Jacqui did, shows how cultivating mindfulness, curiosity and self-kindness over time leads to enjoying life, food and self-care in new and positive ways.

    Here is a summary:

  • The passage discusses the process of developing habits and wisdom around food and eating.

  • Collectively, through sharing experiences, we can find paths that work for each individual. Learning from our own experiences builds personal wisdom about what foods work best for our bodies.

  • Over time, through listening to our bodies and gaining direct experience, we develop an unshakable trust in ourselves and our eating habits.

  • It encourages taking it one moment at a time and not getting overwhelmed by the information. Small, gradual changes can build up over time.

  • A retrospective looks at how far someone has come from the beginning of the program to now. It compares old habits to new habits and how the new approach leads to a better relationship with food through curiosity and kindness.

  • The journey has just begun, and with continual learning and self-care, positive changes can be maintained long-term.

So in summary, it discusses developing wisdom around food through sharing experiences, listening to one's body, gradual changes over time, reflecting on progress made, and maintaining a kind self-relationship to support long-term healthy habits.

Here is a summary of the reference "With Smoking Cessation," Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 55, no. 2 (1987): 145–49; doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.55.2.145:

This journal article studied the effects of relaxation training on smoking cessation. 107 smokers who wanted to quit were randomly assigned to one of three treatment conditions: relaxation training, health education, or no-treatment control. Relaxation training involved progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery sessions focused on coping with cravings. Results found that relaxation training led to significantly higher quit rates than health education or no treatment at both post-treatment and 6-month follow up. Relaxation training helped participants cope with cravings and withdrawal symptoms from nicotine, improving chances of successfully quitting smoking.

Here is a summary of the journal article:

  • Title: Mental health crisis care pathways: A scoping review of interventions to reduce use of emergency departments.

  • Journal: Community Mental Health Journal. Volume 54, Issue 5 (August 2018), pages 1648–1654.

  • DOI: 10.1007/s12671-018-1009-x

  • This scoping review article examines interventions aimed at reducing the use of emergency departments for mental health crises. It identifies 17 studies on interventions such as crisis respite facilities, mobile crisis teams, and clinical pathways to divert people from emergency rooms to other crisis services.

  • The review finds limited evidence that these approaches can reduce emergency department use for mental health crises. Methodological limitations of the included studies precluded determining the most effective types of interventions.

  • The authors call for more rigorous research on integrated models of crisis care delivery outside of emergency departments. The goal is to determine evidence-based solutions to address mental health emergencies without relying primarily on emergency rooms.

That covers the key details from the journal article based on the provided citation. Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Kindness and trauma are discussed in the context of habit change and mental health. Measuring food intake can be problematic and lead to diet failures.

  • The planning brain, reinforcement learning, sense receptors, and survival brain are discussed in the context of evolution and habit formation.

  • Buddhism, mindfulness, and Buddhist psychology are referenced. Cravings and addiction are examined, including habit loops, liking vs wanting food, and strategies like RAIN practice.

  • Emotional eating is explored in terms of brain function, emotions like anxiety, and the why, what, how of eating behaviors. Evolution also provides context for diet failures and explore vs exploit behaviors.

  • The Eat Right Now program is outlined, covering habit loop mapping in the early days and interruptions like mindfulness, noting routines, plugging into the body experience, using tools like the craving tool, and doing retrospectives.

  • Additional concepts covered include willpower myths, temptation curiosity, building disenchantment and enchantment databases, pleasure plateaus, committee in the head cognitive biases, freedom of choice, reinforcement hierarchies, and faith/trust.

    Here is a summary of the key points about ention in the passage:

  • Ention involves paying close attention to cravings, hunger signals, emotional eating triggers, and food choices in a non-judgmental way.

  • It aims to develop awareness of body wisdom and eating habit loops through exercises like mapping eating patterns, noticing hunger levels, and using a hunger test.

  • Practicing ention can help disrupt addiction to junk food by interrupting automatic eating behaviors and identifying underlying motives beyond physical hunger.

  • The passage provides several "right now" exercises to develop different aspects of ention over time, such as setting goals, establishing a baseline, building an "enchantment databank" of food/mood links.

  • Ention is presented as a way to overcome illusions of control over eating and break out of guilt/shame cycles by cultivating self-kindness and non-judgment through techniques like noting and framing experiences.

  • It draws on concepts from mindfulness practices and aims to drop habitual thinking and pay attention to present-moment experiences of cravings, gratification, and changing reward hierarchies.

  • Developing ention facilitates understanding of emotional eating, pleasure plateaus, and how to disempower the "committee in our heads" of self-criticism.

So in summary, ention involves mindfully paying attention to eating experiences and food choices in a compassionate, non-reactive way to develop self-awareness and break addictions.

Here is a summary:

  • The chocolate experiment discusses an experiment by Dana Small where participants ate chocolate while distracted or paying attention. Those paying attention reached satiation quicker.

  • Craving as a tool discusses using cravings to learn about oneself and practice mindfulness skills like RAIN.

  • Overeating and pleasure plateau discusses how paying attention to eating can help identify the pleasure plateau, beyond which eating is no longer pleasurable.

  • Paying attention to reward hierarchies discusses bringing awareness to cues, urges, and reward hierarchies to gain insight.

  • The right now exercise on day 9 asks the reader to find their personal pleasure plateau while eating.

  • RAIN practice introduces the technique of RAIN - Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nourish - for working with cravings. Instructions and examples of applying it are provided.

  • Retrospectives discusses the value of reflection and getting feedback to improve awareness and skills like paying attention over time. Exercises in retrospective are included.

  • The right now exercise on day 12 asks the reader to do a retrospective on their experiences so far.

    Here is a summary of the given statement:

The statement is comparing eating a cup of gummy worms, licorice, or other sweet versus reading a book passage. The passage refers to an unnamed person, describing that unlike other people mentioned in the book, her actual name is not used. However, it notes that she, like the others referenced, is a real person even without being named directly.

So in summary, it juxtaposes the immediate sensory pleasure of eating candy with the deeper experience of learning about an actual unnamed person through reading words on a page. The candy provides a quick hit, while the book passage offers insight into someone's reality.

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