Sunday, June 26, 2011

Emotional associations - ARTICLE

Any food you eat brings back memories from the past.

When you try to give up on a certain type of food, you reject as well the emotions connected with that food.

Suppose that spaghettis and cheese remind you of the fun times you had with your college mates.

You go shopping years later, you will naturally be tempted to buy pastas because the memories associated with that type of food are fun.

If you try to eat more salads and you never really ate salads before, your neural network has little emotional associations connected with salads.

In other terms, you see salads and feel nothing!

No excitement!

That can be your starting point.

In another scenario, still with salads you might have visions of your mom forcing you to eat your vegetables!

Not nice!!!

You get the picture?

Each type of food that you eat is associated with a set of thoughts, feelings, emotions, impressions and vivid memories .

This is what I call emotional associations.

Sometimes, just by eating a certain dish or type of food, you can recall pleasure or a comforting situation.

One more example.

Imagine for instance that when you were a kid your dad was coming home with a box of pink donuts every Sunday morning.

This scenario repeated itself dozens of times years ago.

Each time you see pink donuts comforting memories are subconsciously recalled in you.

You might even still buy pink donuts today because you want to experience these same comforting feelings over and over again.

Suppose that one day you decide to give up eating these pink donuts.

You decide that a fresh smoothie is a healthier option.

You never really drank fresh smoothies before.

You have very few emotional associations connected with these delicious drinks.

On the other hand, you have years of conditioning around pink donuts.

As you get used to the smoothies, your whole neural network in your brain is building new associations and dissolving the old pink donuts ones.

In my experience I feel that it takes around 3 months to complete this emotional associations training connected with foods.

I am not saying this out of some detailed medical research.

This is what I experienced!

When I tried to make core dietary shifts in the past, I carefully observed how my tastes and emotional associations were evolving during that time.

For instance, I shifted to green smoothies for breakfast around 4 years ago.

I feel that it took around 3 months for the shift to be complete on an emotional level.

This is not an isolated example.

It happened many times in similar ways with other types of foods I experimented with.

And I agree! This is NOT an absolute model!

I am sure that you can for instance decide to become a vegetarian overnight and succeed with that.

Or you can give up alcohol suddenly and never drink a beer again.

All possible variations of this model do exist.

I am simply sharing with you a dynamic that I observed in me and in many people I coached.

The conclusion is that it takes some time to build new emotional associations connected with a certain type of food.

It takes as well a while for old emotional associations to be dissolved when you shift your diet.

Makes sense, right?