Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Psychological Effects of Calorie Restriction Dean Pomerleau “Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary-line.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Psychological Effects of Calorie Restriction Dean Pomerleau “Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary-line."— Presentation transcript:

1 Psychological Effects of Calorie Restriction Dean Pomerleau “Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary-line and adding to one's liberty.” - Henri Frederic Amiel

2 Introduction Thesis: CR can have profound psychological effects on its practitioners. These effects are (or can be): Independent of health/longevity effects Independent of health/longevity effects Positive or negative Positive or negative Vary from individual to individual - YMMV Vary from individual to individual - YMMV Happen whether we recognize them or not Happen whether we recognize them or not Gradual, and therefore sometimes hard to recognize Gradual, and therefore sometimes hard to recognize Sometimes disguised as “virtues”, so hard to accept as potentially harmful Sometimes disguised as “virtues”, so hard to accept as potentially harmful Hard to quantify or “prove”, so often ignored by CRonies, who generally are a hard-nosed science types Hard to quantify or “prove”, so often ignored by CRonies, who generally are a hard-nosed science types

3 Overview Topics to be addressed: Topics to be addressed: CR and obsession - food and otherwise CR and obsession - food and otherwise CR and Appetite CR and Appetite CR, sex and libido CR, sex and libido CR and emotions CR and emotions CR and Spirituality CR and Spirituality Topics go from most concrete and scientifically demonstrable, to most speculative and subjective. Topics go from most concrete and scientifically demonstrable, to most speculative and subjective. Talk not meant to be definitive treatment on the subjects covered, but starting point for discussion Talk not meant to be definitive treatment on the subjects covered, but starting point for discussion Caveat – Personal observations from me and other long-term “hard core” [1] CRonies, with some scientific support - your mileage may vary! Caveat – Personal observations from me and other long-term “hard core” [1] CRonies, with some scientific support - your mileage may vary!

4 My CR Pedigree / Style 3.5 Years on CR 3.5 Years on CR Dropped from 172 to ~120 lbs Dropped from 172 to ~120 lbs Exhibit all the supposed CR markers Exhibit all the supposed CR markers Very meticulous, regimented CR style Very meticulous, regimented CR style Same meal, 3/day Same meal, 3/day Carefully formulated and measured Carefully formulated and measured Family man – minimize CR impact on family Family man – minimize CR impact on family My life’s an open book My life’s an open book

5 CR and Obsession CR appears associated with obsessive behavior, but is CR the cause, or the effect? CR appears associated with obsessive behavior, but is CR the cause, or the effect? Does CR encourage obsessive behavior? Does CR encourage obsessive behavior? Semi-starvation induced hyperactivity (SIH) in rodents – suggests yes. Semi-starvation induced hyperactivity (SIH) in rodents – suggests yes. Rodents subject to CR and given access to running wheel, will run more than AL fed rodents, sometimes to the point of death – accepted model for anorexia [2] Rodents subject to CR and given access to running wheel, will run more than AL fed rodents, sometimes to the point of death – accepted model for anorexia [2] Mediated by hormones and neurotransmitters - Treatment with leptin or seratonin uptake inhibitors block SIH in rodents, as they do in anorexic people [2]. Mediated by hormones and neurotransmitters - Treatment with leptin or seratonin uptake inhibitors block SIH in rodents, as they do in anorexic people [2].

6 CR and Obsession Minnesota Starvation Study [3] – suggests a definite yes. Minnesota Starvation Study [3] – suggests a definite yes. 40 physically and psychologically healthy male subjects 40 physically and psychologically healthy male subjects Subject to 6 mth of 50% calorie (w/ reasonable nutrition) restriction Subject to 6 mth of 50% calorie (w/ reasonable nutrition) restriction Results: Results: 4 dropped out, 3 developed binge-eating, 2 began to steal food, 1 suffered severe depression, and 2 were admitted to hospital because of symptoms of psychosis. 4 dropped out, 3 developed binge-eating, 2 began to steal food, 1 suffered severe depression, and 2 were admitted to hospital because of symptoms of psychosis. Other side effects: hunger, weakness, lack of drive, decreased ability to feel happiness, osteoporosis, hypoalbuminemia, dependent edema, decreased muscle mass, alopecia, hypotension, poor wound healing and depression Other side effects: hunger, weakness, lack of drive, decreased ability to feel happiness, osteoporosis, hypoalbuminemia, dependent edema, decreased muscle mass, alopecia, hypotension, poor wound healing and depression Variety of food and food-related obsessions – see below Variety of food and food-related obsessions – see below 50 years after study, abnormal eating behaviors/attitude remained in all 24 subjects who consented to be interviewed. 50 years after study, abnormal eating behaviors/attitude remained in all 24 subjects who consented to be interviewed.

7 CR and Obsession Are obsessive people drawn to CR? Are obsessive people drawn to CR? Mark Cummins’ Personality poll – influence of self selection in “free living” CRonies. Mark Cummins’ Personality poll – influence of self selection in “free living” CRonies. CRonies tend to be: Introverted, self-disciplined and persistent CRonies tend to be: Introverted, self-disciplined and persistent In other words, when we set our minds on something we give it our all and stick to it. In other words, when we set our minds on something we give it our all and stick to it. Can be a prescription for extreme and obsessive behavior Can be a prescription for extreme and obsessive behavior

8 CR and Obsession Manifestations of CR Obsession Food Obsession Food Obsession “Orthorexia Nervosa” – Obsession with healthful eating [4] - endless diet tuning, unwillingness to eat “forbidden” foods. “Orthorexia Nervosa” – Obsession with healthful eating [4] - endless diet tuning, unwillingness to eat “forbidden” foods. Sight – magazines, Food Network TV – ironic, most don’t actually make, let alone ever taste, featured recipes Sight – magazines, Food Network TV – ironic, most don’t actually make, let alone ever taste, featured recipes Taste – heavy, exotic spices, proclivity for strong tastes (e.g. peppers), flavor “spritzing”, sucralose reliance, toothpaste eating Taste – heavy, exotic spices, proclivity for strong tastes (e.g. peppers), flavor “spritzing”, sucralose reliance, toothpaste eating Food tasting, and even more harmful eating disorders (e.g. bulimia and anorexia). Food tasting, and even more harmful eating disorders (e.g. bulimia and anorexia). Perhaps a natural result of scarcity mentality – food is scare, so need to maximize experience from what one is willing to eat or contemplate eating. Perhaps a natural result of scarcity mentality – food is scare, so need to maximize experience from what one is willing to eat or contemplate eating.

9 CR and Obsession Obsession with Avoiding Waste, Hording Obsession with Avoiding Waste, Hording Also observed in Minnesota Starvation study Also observed in Minnesota Starvation study Similar to food obsession – likely stems from scarcity mentality Similar to food obsession – likely stems from scarcity mentality Personal examples: Personal examples: Unwillingness to discard food, even unhealthy food Unwillingness to discard food, even unhealthy food Collecting food prep equipment/containers, even those not used Collecting food prep equipment/containers, even those not used Reusing ziplock bags, stockpiling rubber bands, etc. Reusing ziplock bags, stockpiling rubber bands, etc.

10 CR and Obsession Obsession w/ conserving energy – esp. personal energy Obsession w/ conserving energy – esp. personal energy Partly physical – less energy reserves due to fewer spare cals Partly physical – less energy reserves due to fewer spare cals Likely stems from scarcity mentality – limited food means limited energy, so we feel compelled to conserve Likely stems from scarcity mentality – limited food means limited energy, so we feel compelled to conserve Personal examples: Personal examples: Plan actions carefully to minimize effort – Limiting trips up and down stairs. Plan actions carefully to minimize effort – Limiting trips up and down stairs. Abstain from (or limit effort in) high energy activities – sports, self- prescribed exercise, active play w/ kids Abstain from (or limit effort in) high energy activities – sports, self- prescribed exercise, active play w/ kids

11 CR and Obsession Advice: Recognize problem behaviors/attitudes – not easy – denial common Recognize problem behaviors/attitudes – not easy – denial common Positive mental attitude – Believe strongly that an unhealthy obsession, once recognized, can be overcome. Corny, but worked for me. Positive mental attitude – Believe strongly that an unhealthy obsession, once recognized, can be overcome. Corny, but worked for me. Cold turkey worked best for me: Cold turkey worked best for me: Cut out negative activities entirely – food magazines/TV, food tasting, flavor spritzing, heavy spicing Cut out negative activities entirely – food magazines/TV, food tasting, flavor spritzing, heavy spicing Force self to engage in positive activities once avoided – find less self- centered and counterproductive obsession. Force self to engage in positive activities once avoided – find less self- centered and counterproductive obsession.Outcome: With time (in my case a month or so), the obsessions subside. With time (in my case a month or so), the obsessions subside. Reward – Conquering CR-related obsessions brings with it profound sense of peace and personal mastery. Reward – Conquering CR-related obsessions brings with it profound sense of peace and personal mastery. Conversely, when one feeds CR-related obsessions, it perpetuates attachment to food, leading to extremes like food tasting, and negative emotions. Conversely, when one feeds CR-related obsessions, it perpetuates attachment to food, leading to extremes like food tasting, and negative emotions.

12 CR and Appetite Anorexia – “Lacking normal appetite” [4] By this broad definition, I (and at least some other CRonies) indeed are anorexics. By this broad definition, I (and at least some other CRonies) indeed are anorexics. Like anorexics, I’m virtually never hungry anymore – likely due to increased gastric emptying time and reduced gastric secretions [5] and/or reduce leptin [6] seen in anorexics Like anorexics, I’m virtually never hungry anymore – likely due to increased gastric emptying time and reduced gastric secretions [5] and/or reduce leptin [6] seen in anorexics Extends beyond food – especially to sex for many of us Extends beyond food – especially to sex for many of us

13 CR and Sex/Libido Reduced libido pretty common in long-term, “hard core” CRonies Many potential causes: Evolutionary - Shift of resources from reproduction to maintenance/repair. Evolutionary - Shift of resources from reproduction to maintenance/repair. Hormonal - testosterone and other androgens reduced Hormonal - testosterone and other androgens reduced Psychological - CR requires delayed gratification. May lead to focus on things other than sex. Psychological - CR requires delayed gratification. May lead to focus on things other than sex. Social - CRonies (particularly men) don’t fit the societal model of physical beauty – less opportunity – “use it or lose it” Social - CRonies (particularly men) don’t fit the societal model of physical beauty – less opportunity – “use it or lose it” Spiritual – For some people, CR’s appeal is partially its ascetic nature – spiritual benefits to self denial. Spillover to sex? Spiritual – For some people, CR’s appeal is partially its ascetic nature – spiritual benefits to self denial. Spillover to sex? “A moderate, unspiced, minimally cooked, and quickly prepared meal of simple, unprocessed food is the dietary basis for brahmacharya (Hindu vow of celibacy).” Gandhi [7] “A moderate, unspiced, minimally cooked, and quickly prepared meal of simple, unprocessed food is the dietary basis for brahmacharya (Hindu vow of celibacy).” Gandhi [7]

14 CR and Sex/Libido Advice: No real good answer: No real good answer: Even testosterone therapy (which I would caution against on many other grounds) didn’t increase my libido Even testosterone therapy (which I would caution against on many other grounds) didn’t increase my libido Increasing calories would likely help Increasing calories would likely help Bright side – not all CRonies experience reduced libido Bright side – not all CRonies experience reduced libido Best solution (IMO) – come to terms with it: Best solution (IMO) – come to terms with it: Easier than you might think – cessation of desire Easier than you might think – cessation of desire May not be possible due to relationship constraints May not be possible due to relationship constraints Many positive aspects… Many positive aspects…

15 CR and Sex/Libido Benefits of reduced libido: Benefits of reduced libido: Frees up time for other more productive pursuits Frees up time for other more productive pursuits Eliminated tendency to treat others as objects for personal gratification – no more “what can they do for me” attitude (not just sex) Eliminated tendency to treat others as objects for personal gratification – no more “what can they do for me” attitude (not just sex) Helps one realize the changeable and dependent nature of one’s existence. I still feel like “me”, despite libido drop. Helps one realize the changeable and dependent nature of one’s existence. I still feel like “me”, despite libido drop. Demonstrates possibility of transcending worldly attachments, which can be quite empowering. Demonstrates possibility of transcending worldly attachments, which can be quite empowering. Globally, Gandhi used fasting, simple diet, abstinence and material comforts to foster/demonstrate personal power and self discipline for himself, inspire others, and draw attention to his political/social causes Globally, Gandhi used fasting, simple diet, abstinence and material comforts to foster/demonstrate personal power and self discipline for himself, inspire others, and draw attention to his political/social causes “Fasting and restriction in diet now played a more important part in my life. Passion in man is generally co-existent with a hankering after the pleasures of the palate. And so it was with me.” Gandhi [7] “Fasting and restriction in diet now played a more important part in my life. Passion in man is generally co-existent with a hankering after the pleasures of the palate. And so it was with me.” Gandhi [7]

16 CR and Emotions Cessation of compelling desires goes beyond food/sex in some “hard core” CRonies. Cessation of compelling desires goes beyond food/sex in some “hard core” CRonies. Hypotheses (from observations by me and others): Hypotheses (from observations by me and others): If starting on the heavy side, CR  Euphoria in short term If starting on the heavy side, CR  Euphoria in short term If starting on the light side, CR  irritability and “snappishness” in short term If starting on the light side, CR  irritability and “snappishness” in short term CR  emotional “smoothing” in long term CR  emotional “smoothing” in long term

17 CR and Emotions Potential causes of emotional smoothing: Potential causes of emotional smoothing: Hormonal: Reduced androgens  less emotional turmoil/aggression Hormonal: Reduced androgens  less emotional turmoil/aggression Social: CR is a solitary activity – may foster isolation, if not egoism, and result in emotional detachment from others Social: CR is a solitary activity – may foster isolation, if not egoism, and result in emotional detachment from others Behavioral: CR encourage introspection and rational evaluation, thereby discouraging knee jerk, emotional reactions Behavioral: CR encourage introspection and rational evaluation, thereby discouraging knee jerk, emotional reactions

18 CR and Emotions Personal Anecdote: 180 ft. bungee jump Personal Anecdote: 180 ft. bungee jump No fear No fear Max HR – 103 BMP Max HR – 103 BMP Exhilarating! Exhilarating!

19 CR and Emotions Advantages of emotional smoothing: Advantages of emotional smoothing: Detachment – little things aren’t bothersome anymore Detachment – little things aren’t bothersome anymore Appreciation - Realize needs are few when it comes to happiness Appreciation - Realize needs are few when it comes to happiness Equanimity – Less “playing of favorites” with people, compassion Equanimity – Less “playing of favorites” with people, compassion “One should eat not in order to please the palate, but just to keep the body going. When each organ of sense subserves the body and through the body the soul, its special relish disappears and then alone does it begin to function in the way nature intended it to do.” - Gandhi [7] “One should eat not in order to please the palate, but just to keep the body going. When each organ of sense subserves the body and through the body the soul, its special relish disappears and then alone does it begin to function in the way nature intended it to do.” - Gandhi [7]

20 CR and Emotions Danger: “smoothing  “deadening” Force of will – consciously seek to experience joy Force of will – consciously seek to experience joy Go out on a limb – face + revel in personal challenge Go out on a limb – face + revel in personal challenge “Fake it ‘til you make it” “Fake it ‘til you make it” Personal example – Promoting family happiness Personal example – Promoting family happiness Apply CR-fostered zeal and self-discipline to build family relationships Apply CR-fostered zeal and self-discipline to build family relationships Decided to do everything I could to make family happy – and enjoy doing it! – not just satisficing Decided to do everything I could to make family happy – and enjoy doing it! – not just satisficing Self-fulfilling prophecy Self-fulfilling prophecy

21 CR and Spirituality CR Promotes/Attracts: CR Promotes/Attracts: Introspection / awareness Introspection / awareness Self-discipline / zeal Self-discipline / zeal Cessation of desires Cessation of desires Smoothing of emotions – equanimity Smoothing of emotions – equanimity Recognition of cause and effect - interdependence Recognition of cause and effect - interdependence Realization of impermanence – tough one for CRonies Realization of impermanence – tough one for CRonies

22 CR and Spirituality Psychological state strived for in many religions/philosophies Psychological state strived for in many religions/philosophies Buddhism – “calm abiding” + realizations of interdependence + impermanence Buddhism – “calm abiding” + realizations of interdependence + impermanence “You will wish to know what the marks of a man are who wants to realize truth... He must be completely free from anger and lust, greed and attachment, pride and fear. He must reduce himself to zero and have perfect control over all his senses – beginning with the palate or tongue.” - Gandhi [8] “You will wish to know what the marks of a man are who wants to realize truth... He must be completely free from anger and lust, greed and attachment, pride and fear. He must reduce himself to zero and have perfect control over all his senses – beginning with the palate or tongue.” - Gandhi [8] Dietary restraint/control central to many religions/philosophies Dietary restraint/control central to many religions/philosophies Buddhist monks – two simple meals / day, before noon, vegetarianism Buddhist monks – two simple meals / day, before noon, vegetarianism Judaism – Lots of food prohibitions and fasting Judaism – Lots of food prohibitions and fasting Christianity – Lent Christianity – Lent What CRonies view as negative side effects – Religious seekers through the ages have spent entire lifetimes striving to achieve, often in vain. What CRonies view as negative side effects – Religious seekers through the ages have spent entire lifetimes striving to achieve, often in vain.

23 Take Home Message Not advocating all CRonies become monks/priests Not advocating all CRonies become monks/priests CR can have profound psychological impact CR can have profound psychological impact Needs to be recognized and managed Needs to be recognized and managed Best approach (IMO): Best approach (IMO): find another outlet for our inherent and CR-induced zeal find another outlet for our inherent and CR-induced zeal Use CR as a tool, not an end Use CR as a tool, not an end Extreme Personality Fear of Death CR Psychological Changes Extreme Personality Positive Outlet Sad Happy CR Psychological Changes

24 Take Home Message CRonies are blessed w/ incredible gifts CRonies are blessed w/ incredible gifts Zeal, self-discipline, confidence, creativity, health/longevity Zeal, self-discipline, confidence, creativity, health/longevity Shame to squander gifts solely on self-centered pursuit of maximizing personal lifespan Shame to squander gifts solely on self-centered pursuit of maximizing personal lifespan Especially since CR is far from perfect solution: Especially since CR is far from perfect solution: May not extend lifespan in humans May not extend lifespan in humans Even if works, benefits relatively marginal Even if works, benefits relatively marginal Can result in sacrificing what we seek to maximize – a fulfilling life Can result in sacrificing what we seek to maximize – a fulfilling life Advice: Find alternative outlet for gifts, let CR be tool Advice: Find alternative outlet for gifts, let CR be tool

25 References [1] By “hard core” CRonie I refer to degree of calorie restriction, rather than seriousness of practice. [2]http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crsociety/message/6994 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crsociety/message/6994 [3]http://river-centre.org/StarvSympt.html http://river-centre.org/StarvSympt.html [4] cancerweb medical dictionary [5] http://lists.calorierestriction.org/cgi- bin/wa?A2=ind0211&L=crsociety&P=R45112 http://lists.calorierestriction.org/cgi- bin/wa?A2=ind0211&L=crsociety&P=R45112http://lists.calorierestriction.org/cgi- bin/wa?A2=ind0211&L=crsociety&P=R45112 [6] http://lists.calorierestriction.org/cgi- bin/wa?A2=ind0209&L=crsociety&P=R57561 http://lists.calorierestriction.org/cgi- bin/wa?A2=ind0209&L=crsociety&P=R57561http://lists.calorierestriction.org/cgi- bin/wa?A2=ind0209&L=crsociety&P=R57561 [7] Gandhi’s Body - Sex, Diet and the Politics of Nationalism, Author: Joseph Alter [8] Gandhi, “All Men Are Brothers”, 143


Download ppt "Psychological Effects of Calorie Restriction Dean Pomerleau “Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary-line."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google