Stop overeating without denying yourself pleasure, do not confuse hunger with the desire to please yourself with something … This can be learned in just ten days thanks to the methodology that we recommend following for a lifetime.
Why do we so often get up from the table (especially festive ones!) With a full stomach and a feeling of deep dissatisfaction with ourselves? “I won’t overeat like that again in my life!” – we sincerely promise ourselves on the morning of January 1 and … very rarely keep our word. It’s a pity. Because moderation in food is the only reasonable alternative to unhealthy “hungry” diets and equally dangerous gastronomic frivolity, or, more simply, gluttony.
It is impossible to be moderate in eating without restoring normal contact with the sensations of your own body, without understanding them. “That means we have to distinguish between physiological hunger and psychological hunger,” explains eating disorder specialist Gerard Apfeldorfer. The first reflects the body’s biological need for energy and nutrients. The second is the desire to cope with your own emotions with the help of food – no matter what, negative or positive.
Satisfying physiological hunger, we are waiting for saturation, psychological – calm
Until we experience the difference between these two types of sensations, we will not be able to eat right – without frills and unbearable restrictions. And having understood that the hunger we experience is really purely physiological, we just need to determine the saturation threshold and find the state of equilibrium in which the needs of the body will be satisfied, and we ourselves will receive positive emotions from the meal.
At first glance, all this is very simple. But let’s be honest: in practice, the daily implementation of these reasonable principles will require some effort and patience from us. A ten-day program based on 10 key rules will allow you to gradually change your relationship with food. Until these new relationships become familiar to us, the rules will have to be strictly observed.
What is the originality of the method? For once, we and only we alone will judge how comfortable, and therefore useful, our relationship with food is.
Rate your appetite
When starting, and then in the process of eating, evaluate your appetite on the following scale:
I can eat an elephant! (1 point)
I just want to eat. (3 points)
I might as well stop now. (5 points)
The hunger has passed, but there is still a place in the stomach … (7 points)
I will burst now. (10 points)
If your score is 3 points, you are almost full. From 4 to 5 – try not to put anything else on the plate, let this piece be the last, enjoy its taste. 6 points and above – you overate, but you do not need to suffer remorse. It just takes time to restart the natural mechanism of hunger.
It’s hard to tell if we’re hungry or just wanting to “eat something”: food adds a bit of comfort to our lives, and it’s only natural to want to. The goal is not to ideally debug some internal mechanism, but to become a more conscious, and therefore more free person in his choice.
1. Feel hungry
Do not eat anything for four hours. It is not difficult at all, and nothing tragic will happen to you during this time. It is possible that you will not even have time to get hungry. Why? Maybe you just ate for the future, that is, you simply overate to suppress the fear of abstaining from food. Or perhaps the reason is that you have completely lost contact with your own food sensations.
If the desire to eat does not leave you for a minute, this may mean that you do not distinguish between psychological and physiological hunger. Physiological hunger manifests itself differently in different people. But the most common symptoms are weakness (failure, mild headache) and bad mood (irritability).
Try to understand your relationship with food. For the duration of this mini-post, put aside the “burning” cases so that you can concentrate on your own feelings without interference and not miss the signals given by your body.
2. Get the hang of it
In order for the body to remember the forgotten feelings of physiological hunger and satiety, they need to be trained. Meals are strictly by the hour. Same breakfast every morning. After 10 days, you will notice that hunger makes itself felt also by the hour, waking up just before eating. At the table, it will be easier for you to capture the moment of saturation.
Avoid new taste sensations. With familiar dishes, it is easier to set your saturation threshold.
3. Feel the taste
We evaluate food by the first sips and bites. What is it – salty, sweet, bitter, melting in your mouth? Delicious or so-so? The “first sample” forms an idea of the dish in front of us.
Which of us has not happened to eat to the last crumb a piece of a completely ordinary cake only because we ourselves endowed it with obviously exaggerated taste qualities in advance? We were let down by imagination, which, unlike taste, works without knowing fatigue. If you listen carefully to your inner feelings, then there will certainly come a moment when you will notice that your appetite has waned, the pleasure from eating is weakening, and you will be able to stop in time.
Eat a little. Use all the “tools” at your disposal (teeth, palate, tongue) to evaluate the taste of the dish. While you are chewing, place your utensils on the table.
4. Do not hurry
It usually takes 15 to 30 minutes for the body to “digest” information about satiety. The delay is caused by the fact that enzymes (proteins that are involved in signaling satiety from the stomach to the brain) are produced only some time after the start of the meal. So if you eat too fast, you run the risk of overeating.
Stretch your meal for at least half an hour. Whatever the dishes are – tasty or not, treat them like works of gastronomic art that require a leisurely and thoughtful tasting.
5. Take a break
Listen to the sensations. Has the feeling of hunger remained the same strong or has it begun to weaken? When you realize that you are full, stop. Even if there is room in the stomach for a chocolate cake. Tell yourself that you will eat it another time (we don’t live in the desert, you can always go to a pastry shop!). If the feeling of hunger does not subside, continue to eat with a clear conscience.
Before assessing the state of your appetite, put down your fork and knife and swallow the rest of the food. Focus on the intensity of the pleasure you get. When this feeling begins to weaken, it’s time to wrap up.
6. All in good time
“There is so there is!” – this is how you can paraphrase one of the rules of Zen, a teaching that calls for enjoying the present moment. For us, in constant time pressure, striving to do everything at once, this is especially important. You are at the table, there is a plate in front of you … Everything else is superfluous! Do not read, do not watch TV, do not sort things out. Get busy – eat thoroughly and tastefully.
Take breaks to chat with fellow eaters. After talking and listening, return to food.
7. Strive for moderation
Eat slowly, concentrating on the taste of the food, without trying to finish everything that is on the plate. Reduce portion sizes. While eating, listen: is there saturation? Cut back on meals, avoid buffets (especially if you’re having a hard time stopping), and skip supplements.
Take breaks between meals.
8. Analyze your desires
A hand reaches for a bag of cookies, another moment – and nothing will hold you back … Stop. Ask yourself: what drives me – the feeling of hunger or something else? If it’s hunger, eat healthy. But the motives of the food caprice does not interfere with understanding. Maybe it’s a bad mood? Are you nervous? Excited? Are you in need of solace? After all, often we eat to prevent emotions from completely taking over us.
Having understood what’s the matter, drink a glass of water, walk around the house, talk on the phone. Try to relax. If the desire to eat cookies has passed the strength test and has not subsided, eat at your pleasure. By the way, it may very well be that the analysis of your own emotions will allow you this time not to overstep the boundaries of reason.
Whenever you have to struggle with such a temptation, try to record in a special notebook the feelings that accompany the desire to “chew something”. Most likely, over time, you will notice that we are talking about the same constantly returning emotions.
9. Don’t worry about the future
Fear and uncertainty about the future make some people eat for the future. This is characteristic of anxious natures and is often the result of strict diets that injure the psyche and body.
Live in the present, tomorrow will be another day. What matters is the feeling of hunger that you experience here and now.
10. Understand your true needs
Eating up to please someone, asking for more so as not to offend the hostess – others often provoke us to such actions. That’s why it’s so important not to lose touch with your real needs. Listen to your own feelings, stopping or continuing to eat, regardless of what others are doing. Whatever happens, your feelings should remain the most important, and not other people’s feelings.
If suddenly you have an uncontrollable desire to break all the rules, release the brakes and eat to satiety at a plentiful festive table … allow yourself this! This is your choice, and in the following days you will certainly be able to take control of the diet.