This is a critical piece for allowing weight loss to occur in your body. Mindful eating is part of the solution.
Mindful eating is defined as maintaining an in-the-moment awareness of the food and drink you put into your body. It involves observing how the food makes you feel and the signals your body sends about taste, satisfaction, and fullness.
Ask yourself...am I ever eating without belly hunger or beyond fullness (even one bite)? Most people, especially people who struggle with weight loss, will say Yes!
There are several reasons why that must be understood in order to stop the cycle of eating without hunger and gaining weight.
Even though it is NOT true that people who are over weight eat a lot more than their thinner friends that are the same height and genetic body type, most often they actually eat less and still keep the extra weight on, unless they are in the binge mode of the Yo-Yo Diet Cycle (which is driven by dieting).
Usually that is because they have dieted more and their body has become very good at defending the fatty weight in case another famine is coming (a diet).
Thank goodness this is all reversible to a great extent and that is what the information in this web site is designed to do.
Conscious eating or Mindful Eating in connection with your inner belly wisdom will correct that phenomena of defensive fat storage from continuing and you will feel calm around all foods and feel better about your body without having to “be in control” through dieting.
The body has an exquisite mechanism hard wired into it that can guide you through each eating experience. This mechanism (the inner belly wisdom)will never misguide you, it can’t, it can’t lie or trick you like to mouth or the mind can try to trick you into eating without hunger.
The key is to first interrupt the disconnect from your body/belly wisdom. That is the inner wisdom that resides in you that will guide you away from eating without hunger.
Mindful eating or conscious eating is your way back to the truth and freedom from overeating.
You must also interrupt your old diet thinking and body hatred tapes playing in your head all the time. Often that is the first trigger to make you want to eat to comfort yourself. Check out the Anatomy of a Fat Thought or Bad Body Image in this website, it explains this more thoroughly.
Guided Imagery Tapes for weight loss, body image and self esteem like those recommended in the Resources section of this web site will help tremendously with that if you use them often in the beginning. Plus they will shift your thinking and vibration to a much more positive empowered state.
Understanding Why Diets Fail and The Causes Of Weight Gain in previous sections of this web site will help you to embrace Diet Free Thinking and Mindful eating. This will then begin to let the body calm down, release fat stored out of defense, and guide you to a healthier stable weight.
Eating beyond fullness never feels good in the belly, although the mouth/mind would direct you to just keep eating anyway like a bratty little child that wants its way, even if it has negative consequences.
Usually the thought is something like “Oh well, I will start again tomorrow, or just this one time won’t matter” . These are all tricks of the mind to get you to disconnect from your belly wisdom and let the ego mind run the show, it is connected to the mouth so this is what is called mouth hunger…which just keeps the cycle going and keeps you overweight.
Mouth Hunger is a Signal that something is up for you that you need to pay attention to.
Another example of what you might be thinking is in The Lies You Believe that are running in your head all the time many of which were created in our families or culture. These lies come up when you listen to the mind as it tries to convince you to eat without hunger, like "if I don't clean my plate it is bad for starving children somewhere". Nuts! What does that have to do with my fullness?
The next step is to interrupt any judgment about what you have done or want to do, and instead to begin to learn from each eating experience. Even if you do eat beyond fullness or without hunger in the belly.
Stay Fascinated…this will allow you to unravel the way it plays out in your unique experience and discover what you are really needing, thinking/believing or feeling. Use mindful eating the Bucks for Tuning In to capture and briefly "check in" with each eating experience. Stay curious remember you are just gathering information with no judgment.
Then and only then can you begin to truly and easily interrupt the eating without hunger behavior forever, and lose excess weight down to a healthy weight for your body.
The additional problem with eating without hunger is that it is difficult to stop because you started without hunger. How can you register when you are full or if it is satisfying in the belly, when the entire time the belly would be gently saying …..I really don’t want this right now?
You can’t rank your hunger and fullness on the hunger scale because you started without hunger to begin with. Usually at that point you just eat until you are stuffed or your belly yells louder at you to please STOP.
Mindful eating and asking the questions below will help interrupt this.
So those moments that you want to eat, touch the belly and ask “Is my belly hungry?”. Always remind yourself “I will get to eat that food 100,000 times in my lifetime, there are no forbidden foods in my life. Now is my belly hungry for that right now? Then notice what the mind says, notice what you feel or believe.
In my experience I was inspired to ask at least 5 Investigative Questions before I started eating especially if I realized I might not even be hungry. Check those out in this website they really helped me then and still today.
Acknowledging what you are feeling gives the body and ego the signal that you are attempting to take care of it. Often this act alone can interrupt the need to eat without hunger.
You could eat without hunger, and feel terrible in the belly, and you will still have the feeling, the need, the thought or belief that wants your attention.
So you might as well figure it out, your inner wisdom is beckoning you to listen and take care of yourself and not with food. If you don’t know how to, you can learn or get help with learning how.
This web site is created for that purpose, YOU CAN DO IT one step at a time, or one eating experience at a time.
The mystery is now unraveling and you will find your unique truth by listening to your inner belly wisdom and using your creative brain to come up with some great ways to meet your needs.
Use the Rewards List, the Other Hungers List, the Lies We believe List, and the Universal Needs List a lot in this process to identify what is going on in the moment.
Here is a great article on mindful eating: Mindful eating 101
What is required to stop binge eating that allows you to keep the weight off for life?
As much as possible in the next few weeks and months practice having highly conscious/aware experiences with eating.
This is also called mindful or intuitive eating. This style of eating will allow for healthy weight loss that will stay off for life because.....
Once you have a practice of eating more consciously you won't want to eat without hunger or beyond fullness.
Below are some suggestions to help guide your experience to practice Conscious Eating .
Do this exercise when you are hungry.
1. Consider the when, where and who you are with as you plan your eating time.
When-where are you on the hunger scale 0-5? Always guard against getting overly hungry, and work on eating when you are hungry within 10-15 minutes of noticing hunger (before getting too hungry).
Getting overly hungry or postponing eating to "save up" for eating later doesn't work for weight loss, it generally makes you overeat when you do eat. This is one of the major behaviors that will keep you from being able to stop being eating.
Where-choose a calm environment where you can focus on the eating experience with a minimum of distractions (avoid radio, TV, conversations or eating on the run).
If you are distracted when eating very often you will not be connected to when you are full and you will eat beyond fullness, preventing weight loss or creating weight gain.
Who you eat with can result in various feelings (Spouse, parents, grandparents, children, boss, friends, enemies?)
Notice if eating with certain people pulls you away from being able to listen to your body’s inner wisdom (hunger & fullness or stimulates Other Hungers).
Are there any people you tend to overeat with? Sometimes other people eat fast and you are afraid if you don't eat fast and grab some food it will all be gone.
you are setting food aside for you, that doesn't mean you have to eat it
all, some can be saved in a container in the refrigerator with your
name on it for eating later if you belly gets hungry for it.
2. Whenever possible involve yourself in the process of preparing, serving, unwrapping, or cutting up the food.
Focus on the visual or sensual aspects of the food before you eat it, and while you eat it (visual, smell, feel, texture). This helps you become more conscious when eating which always helps to stop binge eating.
3. Tune into each bite of food while it's in your mouth. Try not to be
focused on the next bite before you have swallowed the food currently in your
mouth. MORE DOESN’T MAKE IT BETTER, stay in the moment. Remind yourself you will get to have this food many times in your life.
4. Keep your thoughts on the food you are eating. Try not to think about distressing situations or other things unrelated to your eating experience at this moment.
You can think on those things after your eating experience is over. Remind yourself there is nothing you can do about “that” right now anyway.
If necessary write down your worries or concerns and put them away, you can pick them up again after you finish eating.
5. Sit down- eating standing up is not a good way to be fully conscious, it is usually about hurrying. Take a deep breath, relax your body, eat slowly (5-15 chews/bite, depending on the type of food and size of the bite), pausing periodically.
Honor the food and your experience with gratitude calming yourself down and enjoying the moment (this is mindful eating).
Tune into your body cues (hunger, body cravings, fullness) and listen
carefully to your self talk while eating. Change any negative or
accusing thoughts to nurturing empowering ones. Make the distinction
between mouth/mind hunger and belly hunger and fullness, get clear about
7. Are you "sneak eating" in a hurry before someone sees you? Instead eat in the open, in full view of those you tend to hide from. You have the right to eat, regardless of what you eat, or your current body size.
Listen to your self talk and replace negative thoughts with positive self-talk.
Sneak eating is usually because the ego is tricking you to eat beyond
fullness or without hunger or eat a "forbidden food" and hide it from
other people seeing you eat.
Remember this is a clear sign the ego is trying to run you like a puppet, snap out of it.
Say to yourself......Oh I decided to change my mind!
"MORE DOESN’T MAKE IT BETTER!"
Remind yourself you will get to eat that food many more times, smile and calm down.
We do not have to store our food on our bodies for the winter
like bears or squirrels. So eating more now will not spare you hunger later.
Practicing Conscious Eating is critical for healthy weight loss and for keeping it off for life!
Note: Conscious eating can be especially challenging in the beginning with social situations, be sure to be prepared for that ...see below.
Conscious eating doesn’t mean that we never get to eat something simply because we enjoy it.
It simply means being more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and sensations and what is driving them so that we can make more conscious choices and stop overeating or binge eating.
For example, if we recognize that our urge to eat is driven more by a desire to enjoy a particular food than by actual hunger, we might decide to go ahead and enjoy that food—but in a more moderate quantity.
Choices for Conscious Eating in a Social Setting
1. You can choose to sit at the table and enjoy the social opportunity with/without food, IF YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EAT! Just have a nice beverage to enjoy.
2. If you are not hungry, take some food for later, and wait for hunger to eat it consciously, when you are hungry.
3.If someone tries to get you to eat more or eat when you are not hungry, tell them you would feel uncomfortable if you ate the food without hunger. Reassure them that you are sure the food is great, if they prepared the food, ask for the recipe
4. Find out about all the foods that will be offered, decide what you are hungry for (sometimes you can have a taste if you are not sure).
5. Take ample portions of the foods that match your belly hunger, remind yourself it is fine to throw food away as you are learning to connect to fullness.
Surplus = Calming
When you are full remind yourself you do not have to eat it all or clear the plate. Say… Oh darn I got full, I will save it for later or toss it out, I am worth it!
Conscious Eating for the Lunch Environment
Stop, before getting your food, decide where you are on the hunger scale (see below).
1. If you are a -1 or less on the hunger scales (below), go ahead with your plan to eat. PROCEED TO STEP TWO.
2. If you are above a 1+ on the hunger scale (below), re-evaluate your plan to eat. YOU DO NOT NEED TO EAT RIGHT NOW IF YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY!
You can box up some food to
go if it makes you anxious to pass up "special" or free food, unless it will be a trigger for you.
Remember, if you get hungry you can decide to eat at any time.
If you are not hungry here is the plan.
Go to the table, sit down
and enjoy the social opportunity and tell everybody I like to eat when I have hunger and it just isn’t there yet. Have a nice beverage to keep you engaged and feel like yu have something to handle.
Get your food out (or approach the food table) and survey all the food. Decide whether you are hungry for anything you see, touch your belly, close your eyes and imagine the food in your belly to see if it is a perfect match. Remember you can ask to taste things on the buffet before deciding if it's what your belly wants.
1. If you see foods that match your hunger, take ample portions of those foods. (Remember to take plenty so you can feel calm about having enough.) Remind yourself you will be guided by belly fullness and stop with that. Just because there is food you wanted on your plate you don't have to eat it all! PROCEED TO STEP THREE.
2. If you're not sure that the foods available match your hunger, you can wait until later, or eat just a little now to hold you until you can get what you really want.
Do not eat a full meal of foods that you do not want, just because its there!
Go to the table, sit down and enjoy the social opportunity, make plans to get exactly what your belly wants as soon as possible.
Sit down and begin eating consciously. Focus on the sight, smell, feel, and taste of the food on your plate.
1. Take a few bites of the food and decide if it tastes like you want it to. If it doesn't, get something else or season it differently.
2. Eat slowly, pausing every few bites to experience the food and tune in to your belly for sensations of fullness.
3. Keep asking yourself "Am I still Hungry, where am I on the hunger fullness scale?" When the answer is no, see how it feels to stop eating.
4. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EAT UNTIL EVERYTHING ON YOUR PLATE IS GONE!
Sometimes it is better the throw the food away especially if it will be a trigger to have the leftovers in your home, your are worth it!
Remind yourself: "If I continuing eating when I am no longer hungry it is the same thing as throwing it away". It is better to throw it in the trash rather than make your belly the depository!
Try the following "self talk" to help you eat food consciously and calm your part down that wants to overeat (see Causes Of Overeating)
This type of positive scripting will be especially helpful with the foods you struggle with the most.
It will help you stay calm and stop binge eating on the food and prevent eating beyond fullness.
You will be able to discontinue eating things you truly aren't hungry for anymore (in the belly).
It's all in the listening to the body/belly signals not the mind/ego deceiver!
Keep reminding yourself by saying to yourself......
I can have this food 100,000 times in my life time.
I will make sure I can get it again or make it, or have someone make it for me,or make a healthier version of it at home that tastes great, no matter the circumstances.
You can get the recipe or a similar recipe and make it or have someone make it for you, or you can order it in the future even if it is from a special restaurant far from home etc.
Also remind yourself that there are no forbidden foods, that all foods are legalized now (see Normalizing Foods).
All you have to do is ask "am I hungry and does my belly want that food" ( versus the mouth/ego which is equivalent to a lie, there is some other belief or feeling orneed coming up)".
I can’t wait to hear what you are learning about yourself!