Why you eat determines what you eat.
When I was deep in my struggle with weight issues, I was obsessing about losing weight, but still gaining 10 pounds a year. It was beyond frustrating! I would try eating less and less, thinking that I would lose weight. At first, that would work, but then the weight loss would slow down and stop. Our bodies have an amazing survival mechanism for times of famine that causes the body to reduce its energy needs and store more fat. This happens when the body detects a reduction in the food supply.
That just is not fair if we are trying to lose weight! The way to overcome this mechanism is to eat the right foods in the right amounts at the right time of day. If you wait too long between meals, the body will click into famine mode.
So, I would like you to consider eating an adequate amount of food every two hours, three at the most. An “adequate” amount of food satisfies hunger, but does not make the stomach feel “full.” Eat slowly and tune into the moment you feel “great” or “just right.” One more bite and you are harming yourself.
If you are willing to harm yourself by eating more than you should, I want you to do the following exercise. I call it “The Indulgence Exercise.” At the moment you know you are overindulging, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Close your eyes and search the deeper parts of who you are. Look for an event, an attitude, a perception, or a fleeting memory. Tune into you and pay attention to the clues you receive. If you get a response like, “Because I want to.” Then, ask yourself “Why do you want to hurt yourself?” Talk to your body and ask it to release its hidden messages – those emotions that it is storing in its cells. Whatever comes to you, I want you to put down your fork and pick up a pen. It’s a quick and simple choice. Put down the fork and pick up a pen. Then, write down what thoughts came to your mind in response to the question. I promise you will be less likely to pick up your fork again.
Even though it might seem silly to do all that, it’s important that you short-circuit your coping mechanisms and start communicating with your body. One chapter in the Feel Yourself Thin book describes how our body can act just like a teenager. Teenagers love to eat, so tell your body about how you are going to feed it every two hours. Your body will like that! To get even more benefit, add an instruction that says, “I want you to get all the nutrients out of the foods and efficiently discard what you do not need.” Tell your body that it does not need to store extra fat for future needs because its needs will be met.
More is less – the more needs that are met, the less the body will store. The more you explore your emotional issues, the less they will affect your choices.
Action Step: Consider recording in the morning what you intend to eat that day and when. At night, adjust the entries for what actually happened. Repeat the indulgence exercise as many times as is necessary. As an extra bonus, you can also benefit by doing a reverse of this exercise based on an occurrence of indulgence in your past. Record what you ate, then write what would have been a healthier choice. This could influence you to adjust your choices should that same situation arise again.
Affirmation: I can stop eating before I’m full.