Today, there are thousands and thousands of diet books out on the market; all promising to help you loose weight if you follow their program specifics. Whether you:
- Count your calories
- Cut out fats
- Drink a meal replacement
- Eat only high protein foods
- Choose to fast
None of these weight loss plans target the real issue, changing your relationship to food. It is not to say that these programs don't work. In fact some individuals are extremely successful on these programs. The vast majority, while experiencing some initial weight loss, find that all, if not more, of their weight returning once they go back to their "normal" eating habits.
Eating like a thin person is simple if you know their secrets. Once you begin eating this way, the pounds will easily and naturally be shed from your body. Eating like a thin person is not about starving yourself (anorexia nervosa), nor it about bingeing and purging (bulimia). The answer can be found by examining your beliefs, your habits and your attachments to food. This is not to say that there may not be an underlying metabolic disorder contributing to weight problems. In the majority of instances, however, issues surrounding our attitude towards ourselves and the food we eat are the main contributors to gaining and retaining excess weight.
If you took a moment and think about a "thin" person you know, evaluating their eating habits, how many times have you seen them only eat 1 slice of pizza or even turn it down completely, leave food on their plates or pick at their food "like a bird". These individuals typically have healthy beliefs and habits about food and food consumption. They eat when then are hungry and stop when they are full. Foods don't have a hold on them. They don't worry about when they are going to get their next meal, nor are they afraid to feel and experience hunger (the experience of being hungry).
If you currently have weight concerns and would like to become thin permanently, naturally, here are 7 straightforward steps you can follow to help you make some changes in yourself and your relationship to food.
Eat only when your body is hungry.
Listen to your body. It will give you clues, which will tell you when you are hungry and when you are not. If you are thinking about eating, take a moment to tune in to your internal barometer and check to see if you are actually hungry. Checking in is effortless to do. First, put your hand on your stomach and close your eyes. Then, ask yourself if you are really hungry. Finally, be open to receiving the answer.
Over the years, have you trained yourself to eat for a variety of inappropriate reasons such as: it is 12 o'clock, so time for lunch, or I paid for it, so I should eat all of it, or it's impolite to refuse food. Some of us eat because we are bored or because we don't have anything else to do. Sometimes we have trained ourselves to eat because we are angry, frustrated, insecure, nervous, anxious, guilty, overwhelmed or depressed. Whatever your reasons, in order to lose and maintain weight loss permanently, it is important to eat only when your body is letting you know when it is hungry, and stopping when you are satisfied, but not necessarily full.
Eat only when you are sitting, relaxed and not distracted.
This point and the next one go hand in hand. If the TV or radio is on, or you are sitting in front of your computer working while you eat, you will not have to opportunity to truly enjoy your food. You will instead go on autopilot and the internal signals that tell us that we are full may not be triggered. The same holds true if you walk while you eat. Many times, this food isn't mentally registered as a meal, and your body doesn't signal back letting you know you are full. Eating when you are upset, uptight or tense can cause the same problems. Enjoy and acknowledge the foods you are eating. You will find more pleasure and enjoyment in them if you do.
Eat slowly, paying attention to what you are eating.
Pay attention to the foods you are eating, savoring every bite. It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to send the message of satisfaction to the brain. By slowing down while you eat, you will be giving yourself the opportunity to take pleasure in each bite and mouthful of food you consume. In the end, you will find that you are eating less because you are feeling content sooner. In addition, the act of chewing increases the release of digestive enzymes in the mouth, which help your bodies digest the foods you eat better.
If you are not enjoying it, don't eat it.
Many times when we are running on autopilot we eat, just to eat. When this is the case, how many times have your found yourself eating foods aren't satisfying, that you don't really want or that just don't taste good? If you do, take a moment to stop, close your eyes and ask yourself, "Do I really want this?" If the answer you get back is "No", then put it down, throw it away or give it to a friend who might really want it. Why eat something that you are not loving!
Also, to help yourself along with this step, make an effort to eliminate foods that may tempt you. Throw away the bag of cookies that are sitting in the cupboard, leave the ice cream in the supermarkets frozen food case, buying smaller or individualized servings of tempting delights to help you control the amount you eat. If you enjoy going out to eat, perhaps sharing a meal with a friend or taking half or your meal home with you and have it for lunch the next day will help.
Stop before you are full.
This is another key point. If you consistently eat until you are full you are interfering with the delicate balance we are trying to achieve. It is important to allow the stomach to fully empty before you consume more food. It is only when your stomach is empty that you will honestly know that you are in reality hungry. In fact, think about how good it would feel to give yourself permission to be hungry for a little while. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it. If you eat until you are satisfied, but not full, using your internal food barometer to identify when your body has had enough to eat, you will be taking yet another step to permanent weight loss.
Leave a little bit of food on your plate.
For many people this is a really hard step to follow. As children, we are often time told to clean our plates, regardless of if we are hungry or not. This simple step begins to help you identify some of the beliefs you have with relationship to food. This is especially true in addressing any guilt you may experience. It will also provided you with a chance to learn how to say "No thank you" to food. By doing this effortless task, you will be surprised at what kinds of messages come up for you. Acknowledge the thoughts, feelings and emotions you experience when you do this. Thank your body for the insights. In addition to helping change your relationship to food, what you leave behind will be just that little bit more you are not eating, thus enhancing the achievement of your weight goals.
One Day At A Time
It's O.K. to make mistakes and fall off the preverbal wagon. We all do it. The important point here is to not quit. If you find yourself munching on some doughnuts first thing in the morning or pigging out at dinner last night, it doesn't make sense to beat yourself up about it. The important thing is to stop, evaluate your actions, recognize any changes you want or need to make and begin anew. Today is always the first day of the rest of your life.
Permanent weight loss is more than just dieting. It is about life changes. It is about turning it to your body and yourself. It is about discovering who you are, what you really want and moving forward in this new light. Many may find as they use these tools for weigh loss, that other parts of their lives begin to change and the overall quality of their lives improving. By following these 7 simple steps, you will not only make your ideal weight dreams come true, but you will also be taking steps in becoming a new happier, healthier you.
By Dr Rita Louise
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