Learn your hunger and satiety signals

Hello. Dr. Anita Johnston here. I am on Maui at the Black Sand Beach in front of ‘Ai Pono Maui, my residential treatment facility in Hawaii.

I wanted to talk to you a little bit about the reef. Here in Hawaii, the eel lives in a hole in the reef in the ocean. And the lobster makes its home at the mouth of this hole. This is a fantastic arrangement for the eel because it has a lobster on its doorstep keeping an eye out for predators.

But it’s a much more complicated relationship for the lobster, because eels eat lobsters. So, what the lobster has to do is have one antenna keeping an eye out for predators, but the other antenna has to go in and keep an eye out on the eel.

What I have found is that women who struggle with eating difficulties, are like lopsided lobsters.

They have this amazing, brilliant, extraordinary, outer antenna.

It’s so incredible that they can walk into a room, pick up on a vibe, know what anybody expects of them, and provide those expectations without that person even knowing that’s what they want in the first place.

But they have pretty lousy inner antennas.

So what that means is that they are way better at picking up on and responding to the needs and feelings of others than they are on picking up on and responding to their own needs and feelings.

So the problem is with this is, it creates a state of deprivation. It’s sort of like writing checks and not making deposits.

When you have this ongoing perpetual state of deprivation, it starts to feel like hunger.

And it actually is a hunger.
But it’s not a hunger for food.

Here’s where the wires get crossed.
Because you start thinking, oh, the problem is, my appetite.
Or I want food too much.
Or if I start eating, I’ll never stop.

But it’s a different kind of hunger that’s trying to be fed.

So what has to happen, is you have to put that outer antenna on automatic pilot. It is going to serve you the rest of your life. Now it’s time to develop a stronger inner antenna so that you’ll have some balance. You do that a number of ways.

One, is by tuning in. You tune in and develop proprioceptive awareness. This involves learning your hunger and satiety signals in your body. You tune into your body.

Another way is by changing the questions you ask yourself. Rather than saying, oh what’s she going to think if I say this? Or, how is he going to react if I do this? Or, what do they think about the way I’m handling this situation? You ask yourself, how do I feel about what he just said? What’s my reaction to what she did? What’s it like for me, being here with these folks at this point in time?

So that you’re tuning in, tuning in, tuning in. You’re tuning into your needs and feelings as well as the needs and feelings of others. We’re not talking about acting like your needs and feelings are more important. Simply equally as important.

As you do that, you develop balance. And as you tend to your feelings, as well as the needs and feelings of others, you strengthen that inner antenna. And now you have an amazing system for being in life. A way of keeping an eye out, taking care, responding to, whatever life sends your way, but also tapping into your own inner guidance system that’s going to clue you in.

So think about the lobster. And think about what it means to no longer be a lop sided lobster.

We would love to hear your thoughts, how can you develop a stronger inner antenna?   Please leave us a comment below.

Till next time,


P.S. We are getting ready to release a project we have been working on for a long time.  If you have been enjoying these short vlogs (video blogs) you will love what’s coming next!

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