Normal eating may not sound that exciting. Being free of a chaotic relationship with food certainly should bring a smile to your face. After years of feeling confused and out of control, your search has ended. This program will free you from the chokehold of restriction and binging. You should have completed about 2 weeks of the first phase of The Best Weight Loss Program. Now you are probably starting to feel more stable and energetic.
You are noticing some hunger cues popping up between meals and snacks. This may be scary at first, but it means your metabolism is getting ramped up. You have probably experienced a natural decrease in your binging. The first phase helps eliminate binges driven by physical urges. The residual binges will be coming from emotional urges, and we will begin to address that in this discussion on normal eating.
Let’s continue on the path to normal eating:
Principle 1: Use Hunger and Fullness Cues for Portion Control. Say goodbye to willpower for portion control. You will no longer use some external measure for how much you should eat. You have all of the tools to guide you in your normal eating right inside of you. Many people are completely out of touch with their hunger cues. This is caused by grazing or overeating frequently. At this point, you should be starting to feel hungry between meals. Use the hunger fullness scale to help you fine-tune your use of these cues. It will take focus and practice at first, but soon you will find it second nature.
Fullness cues require you to eat slowly enough for them to register. This is typically 15-20 minutes for a meal. No need to chew your food a million times. Simply put your fork down between bites. Do not stab your next bite as you are chewing your current one. Take a drink between bites. Pay attention to your surroundings and engage in conversation when appropriate.
As much as possible, try to use your senses while eating. Try to smell the food before you start eating. Notice the presentation. Really focus on the taste and texture of each bite. This type of mindful eating will enhance your experience and will leave you feeling more satisfied. You cannot binge and eat mindfully at the same time so if you want to prevent a binge, be very conscious of your eating. It is not possible to eat mindfully at every meal and snack, but aim for once a day.
Principle 2: Legalizing all foods to prevent binges. People are very resistant to this concept. They think if they allow themselves to eat whatever they want, they will be out of control with food. I argue that this is how they feel now not allowing foods makes you more likely to binge on them. Or you will binge, instead, on foods you think are more healthy. A binge is a binge, and it doesn’t matter what food is involved.
Think of your favorite food. I want you to make yourself have it every day for at least the next week. Even if you don’t want it one day, you need to have it for at least this week. You should also go out and buy mass quantities of your favorite food. This is called stocking, and it takes away that feeling of wanting to finish off the box to get it out of the house. This is such a crazy rationalization, but people do it all the time. What does it matter if you eat it all now or over the next few days you still eat it all? Stocking means there is no way you can eat all the food at once, so it can decrease the urge to eat more since you cannot finish it.
Principle 3: Identify nonhunger urges to eat. Nonhunger urges to eat are the number one reason for weight gain. Many people believe they do not emotionally eat. If you are eating for reasons other than physical hunger, you are emotionally eating. The reason this is confusing is because there is usually no identified emotion. There is typically just a sudden impulse to eat something.
If you pay attention, there is a feeling underneath the impulse. It can be initially described as uncomfortable. You may find that words like anxiety or frustration better describe what you are feeling. You have to be a bit of a detective to figure out what is going on for you. We are very bad at identifying our emotions in this culture. It takes practice, but soon it will get easier. Also, note that you may have been using food to cover your emotions for a long time. When you initially stop using food, you may feel overwhelmed by emotion. As you process through some of the issues that come up, you will find it easier after a while when you are just handling day-to-day stressors. You may need a therapist to help you handle any suppressed baggage you discover.
The path to normal eating can be a long and difficult process. If you don’t hang in there, though, you will never cure your issues with food. I would recommend you use additional resources to further guide you towards a healthy relationship with food. The good news is you cannot be fooled anymore. Now you understand what is going on with you and your food. You won’t fall for traditional weight loss programs or a friend’s great new diet. If you experience a little weight gain at some point, you will know to look out for non-hunger eating. Normal eating is the answer to the eternal question of how to lose weight. If you really work at these techniques, you will find yourself finally free.