When you just starting to build- or should I say, “uncover” your healthy thin mentality your body may need patience as you learn what hunger feels like.
Of course you are new at this and your body is confused.
Your best tool is to stay in the present. Calmy- Am I hungry- not sure? Try a bit? Feel better? sometimes that just desire to eat IS hunger- Hunger is expressed in many ways with all of your senses Just as when you are attracted to another human- there could be many signs.
This is not weird of revolutionary. Mother Nature was going to make sure that we eat- so we survive. I used to ignore cues that I thought were not hunger. Now I know if I can’t get my mind off of food, I am indeed hungry, even if my stomach isn’t growling.
If you eat and your tastebuds are happy, happy- you were hungry- The way to lose weight with your healthy thin mentality is to DELAY eating more when that hunger stops signaling you to eat. You must pay attention to this and say- Could I be done? Could this be enough? Do I need more to calm hunger- YOU CAN DO THIS Give you self a chance!!
As I was eating this delicious chicken sandwich and fries, I was thinking about all the wonderful people who have emailed me and wondered if they really could be free of dieting, eat the food they love, and still be happy with their size.
Here are some of the ways your mind will change:
Diet Mentality– Well I ate two french fries, I might as well eat them all and the whole sandwich cause I already blew it and I will start again Monday.
Healthy Thin Mentality– These french fries are so good. And so is this chicken. Yum. Oops, not hungry anymore. No way will I eat the rest of this sandwich-shoving food down without hunger feels AWFUL. It didn’t used to feel bad- but now that I have tied eating to hunger- my body begs me not to eat when I am not hungry. Yes This Happens!!
Diet Mentality– I am so mad at myself for ordering something I couldn’t resist
Healthy Thin Mentality– I love this food! oops- not hungry anymore. I will save the rest. No way am I eating without hunger- that would be weird.
Diet Mentality– I saw this woman eating french fries. If I eat one, I gain I gain 5 pounds
Healthy Thin Mentality– Nothing is fattening when you are hungry, Everything is fattening when you are not!
Join me in this world of enjoying food, your body, and having the time and energy for better things than food obsession! (My workbook will help you get through the transition)
Change your mind and your body will follow…. beautifully.
Bring this analogy to mind whenever you are eating without hunger.
Imagine it is raining outside and then picture yourself standing there, with a hose, watering your flowers. Doesn’t that seem ridiculous?
It is just as ridiculous to eat without hunger as it is to water flowers in the rain.
But over and over again, we have been told to ignore the “weather,” (your hunger, your lack of hunger) and water your flowers (eat) based on some schedule instead of your actual needs.
I know, I know, you think you don’t know your needs. Stop.
When you start paying attention to the weather- (again, your hunger,) you will start to notice it. Remember, you are used to ignoring your body. You keep your head down and eat because some celebrity told you to, or not to, and you eat what you eat because it is the “healthy, magic” food of the year.
But your amazingly resilient body is just waiting for you to start listening again. You will do return to your ideal weight doing things such as:
NO food rules, no deprivation, no struggle.
Hungry? Eat. What do you eat?
Use your common sense and eat food that makes you feel good. If you love spicy food but it makes you feel sick, do you eat it? Duh! No. If you eat chocolate and it makes your pms go away should you eat it when you are hungry for it? Yes. If you drink milk and it upsets your stomach should you drink it? No! If you love bread pudding but you feel tired and sleepy after you eat it should you eat it? Duh!!! NO. If you eat a kale salad with salmon and you feel great for hours afterwards should you eat it? Well, what do you think?
People, use your common sensed and stop paying for food advice.
Not hungry? Stop watering your flowers in the rain.
What do we humans do to comfort ourselves? We rest, we eat, we hug. Basic drives, right?
There is nothing wrong with providing your fantastic body with some comfort in the form of food that you love! People may call that eating emotionally. I call it normal.
When I am “down” for some reason and want to take care of myself, I wait for hunger and take extra effort to take care of myself in the nicest way I can. And that includes eating the food I love the most, in a nice setting, etc. Whether that is at my kitchen table, or in a restaurant, or in my bed, while I am watching TV. Yep! I eat in bed watching TV- a big dieter no-no. But since my thin mentality is strong, it is no problem. I have my snack or whatever in the most comfortable place I can find (my warm bed, especially since it has been so cold out!) and enjoy myself, feeling taken care of, and wonderful.
I do not feel guilty or bad afterward. Why would I? I waited until I was hungry and had myself a wonderful little meal, enjoyed it until I wasn’t hungry anymore, and then relaxed and read, or watched TV or whatever. What a wonderful way to end a hard day and “comfort” myself.
This is possible for me because my body and I have built a “trust relationship.” I will not starve my body on a diet and my body will not push me into bingeing. I promise my body that I will feed it when I am hungry, and I will not push food into it when hunger is absent.
You need to build that same trust with your body. Because, at this point, you may picture yourself eating emotionally by finishing a whole bag of potato chips.
Let me emphasize:
No, that is not what I do, nor is it what I recommend for anyone. Instead, follow this thin mentality behavior:
If I feel the need to comfort myself (eat emotionally) I first tell myself, “fine, as soon as I am hungry, I can comfort myself with food. Then when I get hungry, if I am craving potato chips, and I do, (I don’t know or care why, I trust myself) I take a little bowl and put a handful in it.
You may say,”Well if I can eat what I want, why don’t I just take the whole bag?”
OK, here is why. Because I know, from experience, that when I crave potato chips, I am usually satisfied with a handful. They are delicious, but hold no magic power over me the way they did when I was a dieter. And since I am “allowed” to have them whenever I am hungry, it just isn’t a big deal. I enjoy them, a lot, but they aren’t magic! I can put them down!
You will be able to too.
Start right now. No more diets. Take that possibility away and your whole view of food and eating changes completely. Your motivation to eat emotionally when you are not hungry will get weaker and weaker.
You will normalize your relationship with food. Then, when you need to comfort yourself with food, you will do so appropriately. (Appropriate amounts, when hungry)
The diet industry has taught you that this isn’t true.
I am telling you that IT IS!
Please notice that I never say eat until “full.”
Feeling full is too much.
Your goal is to wait until you are distracted from your life by a persistent hunger. And then, eat enough to get you in a “neutral zone.”
That neutral zone is where you aren’t hungry and you aren’t full.
If you want to be a naturally thin person, this is where you stop. Do you feel deprived? No! Deprivation is dieting and not being “allowed” to eat when you were hungry. That is serious stuff. We underestimate the negative effect that unanswered hunger has on our bodies, and minds. It messes us up. I avoid unanswered hunger at all costs. (And by the way, I feel lucky food is available to me- yes, we are lucky.)
I avoid fullness at all costs too. Why? Because it feels bad. Overloaded. Sluggish.
Skip along in that wonderful neutral zone, where you get hungry and then eat enough to feel good. Then wait for your hunger to return. Then eat.
I promise, when you get into a nice rhythm with this, you will be so comfortable, confident and enjoy a life that includes the pleasure of food you love. You will have ZERO motivation to binge or eat old nasty cookies you found in your holiday closet. Ha! Yes, I did! (thankfully, a long time ago)
Happy, relaxed, no big war going on inside you body, or your mind, over food. Oh boy. I want that for everyone.
If you are new to this blog, read the Introduction Blog first date May 2, 2012.
Let me give you an example.
I didn’t get home until late last Friday night. I didn’t have to get up on Saturday morning for anything in particular, so I slept in until 10. A friend of mine and I had arranged, earlier in the week, to meet at a Mexican restaurant at 11:30 for lunch on Saturday.
So, I woke up, didn’t eat anything, and went to meet my friend. When I got to the restaurant, I realized that I wanted breakfast, and that there was absolutely nothing on the menu that sounded good to me. Remember, this is a restaurant I love, but my body wanted breakfast, and a fajita was not going to answer what I was craving.
Even though I have lived with a thin mentality for 11 years, I talked myself into ordering chicken tacos. Mistake. They came, and I looked at them, and said nope, this isn’t going to work.
I asked for them in a “to go” box, watched my friend enjoy her lunch, and sipped some coffee. Now I wasn’t in “stage three” hunger, (I talk about this in my book, but basically, stage tree hunger is when you are so hungry that you are miserable) so I managed to still enjoy my time with my friend.
Then, after we parted ways, I went to the coffee shop down the road and sat at the counter and ordered exactly what I was craving: bacon eggs, and toast. And more coffee. It tasted great, and my whole body was happy.
The amount of calories or nutrition in what I ate versus what I took home in the “to go” box from the Mexican restaurant is irrelevant.
My body, for whatever reason, wanted bacon, eggs and toast. ( I don’t care why!! I trust myself!) I ate all the eggs and bacon, and had part of the toast. I did this without judgment, I simply followed my “craving” and kept checking in with myself, asking myself, “have I had enough?”
What is the moral this story?
In order to “heal” the disconnect between you and your body, you must refuse to eat something your body does not want. And you must do the best you can to provide your body with what it craves. Remember, “crave” is not a bad word. You will crave nutritious food and desserts. Cravings are a gift.
And when that healing is complete, you will NEVER feel the urge to binge. There is zero payoff for binging when you live with a thin mentality. You get to eat what you want whenever you want it, so why would you stuff down a box of cookies?
You are free to eat when you are hungry. Denying hunger is what makes you binge. You did not get fat eating when you were hungry. You got fat eating for other reasons, and as a backlash from severe dieting.
I also realize that it might be extremely inconvenient, if not impossible, to do what I did and leave one restaurant and go to another to get what you want. If it hadn’t been a Saturday, it would have been hard for me too.
I am just trying to show you an example of how to handle different situations that will come up as you transition to a thin mentality.
And by the way, remember that despite how inconvenient what I did might have been, it is much more convenient than living as a dieter. It doesn’t even compare. The whole world of food and restaurants, and wonderful events are all open to me. I have no fear, or anxiety that I will “blow” it.
And that is extremely convenient, and makes me very happy. You can live like this too, it just takes time and a long term perspective, not a quick fix mentality. It is worth it. I promise.
Do you think you will just eat everything and anything if you stop dieting?
Honestly, I was like that. I remember evenings when I would wander around my kitchen eating my kids snack packs and treats I was so desperate to keep eating. So naturally, I thought that if I stopped dieting I would eat even more and explode!
This is why we keep dieting: fear!
But remember, the reason I was hunting around for food in my kitchen long after dinner was because I had denied, denied, denied myself for so long. I would diet and eat foods I didn’t like and forgo things when I was hungry. That resulted in backfire eating and “trolling” for food late at night.
So- as you begin to understand this, you too will have fear and be like a brand new baby learning how to eat again.
So try this. As you are eating something you love when you are hungry, see if you can leave a bite behind. The reason? Think how unusual it would be if some random pastry that you selected was EXACTLY the amount you needed!! So get used to looking at food on your plate as merely a “suggested” serving portion. And see what happens if you leave a bite behind.
For me, when I was starting to build my thin mentality, this was helpful because it made me feel like I was in control, and more powerful over food. It also surprised me to learn how much I didn’t miss that last bite. Fifteen minutes later, I was on to something else and that last bite was a memory.
But think how significant it is if you can learn to adjust your portions to YOU instead of just accepting what someone puts on a plate for you! Honestly, try this.
And by the way, the reverse is true too. Sometimes, there isn’t enough on your plate either. Same thing applies here. Don’t let a suggested portion usurp your ability to decide if you still feel hunger or not.
Remember, think progress, not perfection! It takes a while to re-learn how to eat!! But you can do it and I wish I could express better how much eating with a thin mentality will improve your life- You will be happier, healthier, and calmer. And…. Your weight will reflect your thin mentality.
Yes, there is an adjustment period as you learn to leave your diet mentality behind. You aren’t used to listening for hunger.
In this preliminary stage, stay calm, slow down a bit and actively listen. If you decide to eat for reasons other than hunger, at least own that. Then, see if eating that actually made anything better. And then, next time, try delaying for 10 minutes. See how you feel. Delay for 20 minutes. See how you feel.
And what you will realize is that if you can just delay long enough, you will have the far more rewarding experience of actually eating when you are hungry. There is no better or more enjoyable time to eat.
Remember, you will be hungry several times every day. That means that another eating experience is right around the corner. This isn’t denial. This is delaying until your hunger and your eating match up, as Mother Nature intended.
Dieting has made you think eating with a regimented plan is the way to be good. NO, that is the way to ignore your own body’s voice. If you don’t listen to it, who will? You are it!
Dieting taught you to eat when you weren’t hungry and to eat foods you don’t love. And it taught you to not eat when you ARE hungry. No wonder you don’t know when or how much or what to eat!
Don’t feel guilty about that. You were trying to do the right thing. Just take it easy, and start the enjoyable journey back to how you were born. Eating when you were hungry, spitting it out at your parents when you weren’t, and crying if no one fed you. Simple. Smart. Harmonious. Responsive.
When I was a dieter, I remember going to bed at 8 to avoid night-time eating? What a sad way to live, don’t you think?
For me, that was a long time ago, and it makes me sad to think about it because it was so unnecessary.
If you are living with these kinds of thoughts, then the first step is to realize that this is NOT an okay way to live. Dieting has made you think that following your diet at all costs, is your number one goal. No!
Your number one goal should be to reconnect eating with hunger one day, one “eating occasion” at a time. The supreme joy and normalcy of this is your first reward. The second is that your body will return to your ideal weight range. Yes, by eating just what you require to quiet hunger, your body will begin to trust that you are listening to it. No more urges to binge. No more need to go to bed early to avoid the fridge… UGH!
This process of returning to the way Mother Nature intended us to eat is just that- a process. It takes time and it takes finally understanding that dieting is the way to be a dieter, not the way to be your best, your ideal weight.
Please read these blogs to understand how wise this is. I have a workbook to guide you through it too. If you can’t afford it, email me. I am committed to helping you, my friend, find the joy and freedom that I did. Life is so so much better with food and eating in its proper place.