Humans are creatures of words, and we just can’t stop talking. Cell phones and computers are now extensions of our minds connected on some bio-technological level that none of us fully comprehends. We can’t shut up. And If we’re not talking, texting, emailing or instant messaging, we’re thinking about the next thing we’re going to say to someone, somehow. What is less obvious but equally omnipresent is our internal conversations. We just keep talking whether someone is there or not. Most of the time this isn’t problematic. There is one situation, however, where blathering away in your head is outright dangerous, and that’s when you’re eating. This is especially true if your internal monologue is fueled by anger.
You see, when you talk in your head the rhythm of speech and breathing continues as if you’re actually talking. Hence, at the same moment in time when you would normally take a breath- which would happen frequently if you were expressing anger -the wind pipe opens up and quess what happens? That’s right, that big junk of food you were eating suddenly gets sucked into that small opening. Now most of the time this happens coughing typically dislodges the food, and we go back to eating, a bit shaken but okay. But every so often someone needs the Heimlich maneuver, that violent stomach pull that forces air up through the trachea and results in that large piece of food being dislodged and propelled at warp speed three tables over into someone’s salad. “Excuse me waiter, I was unaware my salad came with a partially chewed piece of meat.” Everyone reading this has had food caught in their windpipe. It falls into the category of universal experiences. What is equally univeral is nobody remembers why it happened. And the reason is simple. The trauma caused by the potentially life threatening situation generates immediate amnesia. You simply don’t rememember precluding the possibility for any learning ever to take place.
So next time you’re eating.. and your mind begins to focus… on an internal conversation…. perhaps,….. sooner than later….. an awareness will take over……the kind of awareness that’s useful….in a variety of different ways…..that brings you back to focusing on eating…… and in doing so you can realize that in noticing your eating…….you can realize…..really realize…. how easy it is to become satisfied……and as you become more aware of those sensations of fullness ….you can become more satisfied with less food…. and stay safer along the way. So feel free to remember…. what you need to remember from what you learned today….for you clearly have a right as well as an obligation to make useful changes in your life….for who else is going to make them for you.