A raging battle is underway; it’s me against Smaug, the fire eating sugar dragon. Who will win the war? I have one great advantage over the dragon, I know his ultimate weakness. He may be powerful but he is also an illusion created in the mind.
There isn’t a real dragon and definitely not one called Smaug. As most of you will know I borrowed the name from J R Tolkien’s The Hobbit. I wanted to give my dragon a character that I could identify with. So, what or who is this dragon? He represents our brains unrelented demand for sugar, junk foods and simple carbohydrates. We all have one. The more we feed it the more demanding it becomes. It is fuelling the current obesity crisis but is also responsible for a myriad of conditions that fall under the heading of chronic systemic inflammation. Our immune systems are working hard silently in the background trying to manage the effects of inflammation within our bodies. In my case this shows up as long-term mild eczema – I would have a daily scratch, a little like Baloo the Bear! I was also suffering from arthritis in one of my thumbs. I often felt bloated and sometimes lacked the energy levels I expected. For others it might show up as high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, migraines or IBS, to name a few.
Enter Smaug, the sugar dragon and battle lines are drawn. I had switched my diet to predominately natural, non-processed foods and quickly became aware of a new sensation in my body that I was surprised to recognise and label as hunger. I knew that it couldn’t possibly be hunger as I was eating more than before the switch (3 substantial meals a day). It wasn’t that my diet had previously been unhealthy, just that now there was no sugar, no processed foods, no grains, no dairy and definitely no snacking. This hunger sensation persisted and I realised the power that our brain exerts over our bodies. The messages from my brain were telling me I was hungry, but this was a big fat lie (no pun intended). The illusion of hunger created in the brain by a lack of addictive sugar, was carried in thoughts that resulted in the sensation of hunger. Whilst the sensation was real it certainly wasn’t true.
It struck me that this was a really useful piece of information to know. Diets have tended to fail in the past because I believed that the sensation of hunger was real and true, meaning I needed to eat more! So, I failed to stick to the diet for long. The difference now is that Smaug the sugar dragon has lost most of his power, I’m seeing through the illusion. Hunger, in this case, is a trick of the mind. Of course, some people in the world are truly hungry due to a lack of food, but for most of us in the western world have more than enough food, it’s just the wrong sort of food.
I now know not to respond to the sensation of hunger in the moment, because I will be eating a big, healthy meal soon enough. The results so far are amazing, and it’s early days, weight loss, no more eczema, no more arthritis and more energy.
It’s worth asking yourself this powerful question: if the brain is capable of creating the illusion of hunger when you’re not actually hungry, what other real sensations are the result of these powerful, yet untrue illusions?
You may find the answer hard to swallow… it’s all of them. That is how the brain (our personal mind) works. Every sensation that you will ever experience is the result of thought in the moment. Every thought that you will ever have is created within your personal mind and can never be objectively true. The moment we see this for ourselves we open up to the possibility of the space before thought, before the personal mind, that which powers all of this creativity and within that space is pure potential.