I Like the Feeling of Drowsiness after Eating Too Much
I spent yesterday afternoon messaging a friend back and forth with various dates. Traying to nail down a day that our families can come together and enjoy a gloriously hot sunny day in the garden. A BBQ, paddling pool for the children, relaxing and calm with fresh summer salads. The kind of day that is only found on an Instagram grid. Expect burnt sausages, muddy water trailed through the house and probably rain in reality. Quite the opposite of recent Sunday afternoons spent quietly alone in front of the fire barely able to keep our eyes open, stuffed full of roast dinner that we had time to cook. Popcorn to hand as we settle in front of the TV to watch yet another episode of Lives in The Wild.
The part of the paragraph above that stands out for me is “barely able to keep our eyes open”. You see, I have helped people that seek weight loss for around thirteen years now and only one person has ever said to me “I like the feeling of drowsiness after eating too much”. In hundreds of clinic hours, no one else has expressed this feeling so concisely. There are some different theories into why many of us feel sleepy after eating, especially after carb heavy or too much food.
The Tryptophan Theory
Some foods contain tryptophan. The amino acid tryptophan is what your body uses to create serotonin (you can read more here). As a precursor for melatonin serotonin plays a part in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle. As a result, you might feel sleepier after eating tryptophan heavy foods.
Carbs and Insulin
Carbohydrates break down into sugar inside your body. Your bloodstream absorbs the sugar and stimulates your pancreas to release insulin which moves the sugar from your blood into your cells at which point it is available as energy. Some carbohydrates break down more easily than others causing your blood sugar level to rise quickly. Others are harder to break down and create a gradual rise in blood sugar. As your insulin level peaks you might experience a blood sugar crash which causes tiredness. A sugar crash is a result of your body rapidly producing insulin when it has an abnormally high amount of sugar. This is an attempt to keep your blood sugar level consistent. The rapid production in insulin decreases blood glucose which results in the sudden drop in energy.
Seeking the Sleep
If you find yourself deliberately seeking foods that give you the sleepy feeling, it might be time for some introspection. Do you know why you use food to help you feel relaxed? Is it something that you struggle to achieve without food or is it the only way you have ever known to relax? Possibly you use the food to dissociate.
If you have previous trauma, once upon a time you might have eaten unhealthy foods to try and create a protective layer of fat. In time the eating becomes habitual, or you become dependent on the physiological response to the food. At this point it feels almost impossible to stop.
Choosing the Change
Changing how you use food might be too great a task to take on alone. If this resonates with you, seek support in a capacity that is possible for you. A private therapist is useful but a financial commitment. In the past I have suggested that you seek out the best therapist for you and calculate the cost of a block of sessions (4 – 6 on average). Set yourself the task of saving up this amount of money, at the same time research a new food lifestyle that will work for you. I have a friend that spent years investigating the different opinions of the perfect diet (by diet I mean the food you each day, not ‘a’ diet). After all her own research she found it easier to narrow it down to an eating lifestyle that resonates with her.
Only when you feel ready will you make the choice to change the choices you make. Changing the way you eat means taking control of yourself as you choose to change. A good friend will help you with accountability, share what you find challenging and create a plan of how you will change. Speak openly about why you overeat, how you feel when you do it and what causes you to make the initial choice. Sharing with a journal might feel like a safer first step.
I would like to remind you to be kind to yourself with some parting words taken from Russell Brand when he interviewed Merlin Sheldrake;
“I have to meditate myself into a near stupor to experience for a moment the idea that what I want, what I prefer, what I need, what I am afraid of aren’t the most important things in the world and they are kind of constructed … I’m thinking about my own household where I have access to men like you and your dad and all sorts of other people who are talking about beautiful esoteric ground-breaking radical ideas. I still watch TV, I still eat dumb food, I am still deadening my sentience through 21st century lifestyle choices that are not in harmony with the kind of understanding that you are conveying.”
If you enjoyed this article you may wish to read more about how to Lose Weight when Food is Your Culture