Leaving food behind is easier than you think

pocket_of_persia_biteOne of the biggest difference between eating like a dieter, and eating like a thin person is how you deal with the amount of food on your plate.

I understand completely if you doubt that you will ever be comfortable or happy leaving food on your plate.  I thought that.  Back when I was a dieter, I never left a morsel behind.  If I could have seen me now, I would have been completely surprised.

Please give yourself a chance to be surprised too.

And also, give it a bit of time– think of all the adjustments you are making.

First, you have to adjust to the idea that you can eat whatever you are craving in that moment.   That is a huge adjustment.  You are used to ordering yogurt and granola when you wanted a steak sub or a snickers bar.  Or you are used to eating spinach when you wanted grapes.  Or you are used to eating chicken when you wanted shrimp and cocktail sauce- whatever.

You are also  used to thinking that if it is a “free” food, like raw vegetables with no dressing, that you can and should eat a ton- even overloading your stomach.  Again, also a bad idea.  (It is NEVER good to overload your stomach- it reinforces a bad habit of ignoring your satiety signal.)

And, you are used to eating a “treat” on a pre-planned schedule.  For instance, you are used to diet strategies like, “I will eat dessert on Saturday night.”  Then Saturday night comes, and whether you want dessert, or you would really prefer more bread or spinach souffle, you eat the dessert.

Another example of eating according to some schedule, and completely ignoring what your body is asking for in that moment.

So, all of this diet mentality eating ends up disabling you.  You see your plate of food, and you eat it all, no matter what- hungry or not.

That is not how thin people eat.

Get rid of that diet mentality and all of the sudden that plate of food in front of you is just a plate of suggestions.  You can eat all the bread and all the vegetables and leave the meat.  You can eat all the meat and that is it.  You can leave the whole thing because it isn’t what you want, or because you are NOT hungry.  You can eat all the potatoes with butter and have seconds of that and nothing else.  You are free.

And when you are free, everything is different.  You aren’t eating because “this is it” for the day. You aren’t eating because, “I may as well, I am dieting tomorrow.”  You aren’t eating because it is “there.”

Get picky, guys!  I know it sounds weird, but turning down food is sometimes as good as eating it.  You will see what I mean, over time.

It is not because I enjoy turning down food.  It is because I value responding to my own hunger on my own terms, and no one is going to get me to eat, or not eat.  It is powerful.  Silly sounding, especially to generations before me.  (Why is that powerful?)  Well, it is because I feel powerful and smart everyday by bucking the diet industry rules.  I refuse to be led like a sheep.  And I want that for you too.

Again, this doesn’t happen right away.  Give yourself a chance to grow into this.

As you are training yourself to be free, just follow that one rule: eat only when you are hungry.

Let me know how you are doing!!!


To Eat or Not to Eat

risk-appetiteWhen you want something to eat and you are not hungry, you have two choices.  Eat it or don’t eat it.  Right?

As you consider this choice, remember the power of building a good habit.  Every time you wait for a hunger “opportunity” to eat, you are strengthening a habit that builds your thin mentality.  Every time you eat without respect to hunger, you weaken it.

And remind yourself that you are not suffering!   You are not denying yourself food.  You are simply delaying it.  And the pleasure of eating food when hungry (not just bored) is so much more intense.

Give yourself a chance to work up an appetite.  And then, really consider what it is you want. That chocolate you thought about this morning, may or may not be what you end up wanting when you are actually hungry.  And either way, it is fine.  Eating when you are hungry will never make you fat.

Remember, eat enough to stop the hunger, not enough to prevent future hunger.


Learning How To Recognize True Hunger- Answer to an email


Dear Diet Weary Friend,

Your reaction is completely normal.  Of course you are struggling with recognizing true hunger!

For years you have been taught to ignore your body and eat according to some magic food rules.  It is so interesting how ingrained this is in our society.   And we listen because people value thinness so much that they throw common sense out the window in an effort to get thin.

But diets don’t get you thin-  and I am glad you realize that.  That is the first necessary step.

So now you are onto the second step: learning to eat in response to hunger.

If you have been a dieter, you are well aware of calorie counts.  It is hard to “turn off” you internal calorie counter.  And it is hard to view food in a neutral light- not bad, not good.

What you must remember is this:  you will get better at this as time goes on.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Every time you have a small victory (you eat when you are hungry and you stop when you have had enough) you will get stronger and stronger.

You will get better and better at knowing if you stopped eating at the appropriate time for you.

It is actually a really interesting journey.  It is enjoyable to learn about yourself in this way.  Your food preferences and cravings and hunger are unique to you.  They are part of you.   And getting to know how your body expresses hunger, what kinds of food answer it best, etc., is honestly (I know this sounds weird) kind of fun.

I also understand that it is scary.  Why?  Because we want to be thin and we are “afraid” of our own inner voice-  we think it will make us eat tons of food.  But you have binged in the past, not in spite of dieting, but BECAUSE of dieting.

Dieting sets you up to have a backlash.  I know you know the feeling- your email states it-  you are “good” for weeks but then have an overwhelming urge to eat a bunch of candy or whatever.

Your body will never do that to you (crave a bunch of junk)  if you don’t put it on a diet.

Your only job is to quiet your brain and listen to your body.  You will not gain weight by eating when you are hungry.

As you learn to trust that you can take care of your hunger without a bunch of food rules, you will feel in control and capable of leaving food on your plate, getting picky about what you consume (“thin” people never eat something that they don’t like-  for example, a stale old cookie from the pantry…) and being respectful of what your body is telling you.

You will learn that there is NO JOY in over eating, I promise.

Remember that this is a day by day kind of progress.  But, unlike dieting, the progress is forward, not backward!

Be too smart to allow that diet mentality to trap you.  It is a trap, funded with billions and billions of dollars from the diet industry.

I am so glad your friend shared my message with you.  I am hoping to reach as many people as possible.

I know there is a lot of suffering in the world, and that worrying about food and weight loss may seem trivial to some.

But suffering from a diet mentality is a miserable condition!  I know, I had one for decades.  I am dedicated to help others free themselves too.

You must reinforce your new perspective everyday.  I tweet at least once a day-  if you find that a convenient way to get a little reinforcement, follow me!  @megmeranus.

Also, I don’t want to pull a sales routine on you- but I do have a book available on my site and also a Kindle version.  I simply try to cover my costs with it-  and give people a place to get a whole lot of info at once.

It was great to hear from you.  Take Care

(my response got so long, I think I will put it – just my response- on my blog.


Hunger and fatigue

0040-Lin-Chi-When-hungry-eat-your-rice-when-tired-close-your-eyes-quoteIn my book I talk about 14 strategies of behaving like a thin person.   One of the strategies is learning to interpret hunger versus fatigue.

When you are tired, it is much, much harder to interpret your body’s hunger and satiety signals.  So, give yourself the benefit of getting the rest you need while you are trying to develop your thin mentality.

Think about it.  Everything is harder when you are tired, right?  Even though I have lived with a thin mentality for over 10 years, I notice that when I am tired I have a harder time discerning what to eat.

Of course that is natural and normal.

What do I do when this happens?

I remind myself that getting the rest I need makes my life, including eating, way better.  And, I figure out a way to catch up on my rest.

Please don’t tell yourself that you just can’t find the time you need to rest or sleep.  Make it a priority.  Getting your body to a healthy, thin state requires eating and sleeping in response and in harmony with your body’s needs.

So simple and common sense.  But we try to make it more complicated.

I have learned not to over schedule myself.  I am more valuable to those around me if I am in touch with what I need to do and feel my best.  And this kind of self-care goes a long way toward keeping me thin and feeling good.

So- bottom line:  in order to stay in touch with your hunger and satiety and cravings, make sure your body is in good form-  and that means rested.  Life is better when you aren’t tired, and when you eat what you want when you are hungry.  🙂


Eating is normal. Fearing eating is not

diet quote 2


Think of all of other biological “functions.”

Do you go to the bathroom when you don’t need to go.  Do you avoid the bathroom when you need to go?  Of course not.  That would be awful, stressful, and cause you harm.

Why is it okay to ignore hunger?

Why is it okay to eat when you aren’t hungry?

Short answer:  It isn’t.  It messes you up.  It is like playing with fire.

A study put normal men on a diet for two months.  The repercussions of that diet were devastating.  Both to their mental and physical health. They became food obsessed, gained back their weight, and had higher incidences of depression.

This study was done in the 1940s.

Do you know why there aren’t more studies like this being done?

Who would pay for them?

The diet industry doesn’t want to sponsor research that would make them the problem.

But, the diet industry IS THE PROBLEM.

The BILLIONS of dollars spent to disconnect you from your body has had a devastating effect on millions of us.

I know many of you reading this just can’t believe that the process that you have used to lose weight has actually made sustained weight loss impossible for you.  But it has.

But when you are desperate-  “I have 4 weeks to fit into that dress,” you are coming from a place of weakness and desperation.  You will make desperate decisions in an effort to “do something!, quick!”

And this is what the diet industry loves.  You will forget that you have lost weight many many times and have gained more back each time.

Don’t rely on me to convince you of the illogical and flawed paradigm of dieting.  Just examine your own life and those around you.

And in case you have a mother or boyfriend who says, “just exhibit some self control,” please remember this:  If you have ever been able to diet, you have plenty of self control. The fact that you can’t keep it off is NOT an indictment of your strength.

It is an indictment of the diet paradigm.

Please, be part of a movement against this misery.

And be thin by reconnecting with the beautiful body you were born with.

Even lumpy, out of shape bodies have that beauty.  So don’t despair.  It is in you.  You MUST let it out. You must reconnect.

Read these blogs for daily support.  Read my book for a comprehensive understanding of how to get started.  Follow me on twitter, @megmeranus, on youtube, diets are fattening – etc.

I am here trying to build a community of support for this smart, re-normalizaiton of eating.

I want you to be happy, relaxed and THIN.  No food obsessions, no guilt, and no motivation for bingeing.  Doesn’t that sound pleasant?

And if you know a persoIf you think you can’t do this, please remember that the diet industry has spent a lot of money making you believe that.  We were born with thin mentality.  Just like the animals in the forest.  Yes, you were.  Yes, you were.  Yes, you were.  You are a naturally thin person.  Rediscover that.  The extra pounds you are wearing now, do not mean that you were not.

Keep in touch, be part of this.  LIfe is so, so much better this way.

The first steps are baby steps, it gets easier, your body will talk to you when you start listening…


Concrete advice on recognizing true hunger

unhappy_stomach_by_nevtariOk, I get a lot of questions about how to recognize true hunger.

You have to block out all circumstantial eating cues such as a clock says it is “lunchtime”, or you see a delicious-looking cookie in a bakery window.

You must wait for biological hunger.  You will not need to “look for” true biological hunger!  It will find you.  It will be unavoidable, and unmistakable.

Is your stomach growling?  Does your mouth water the second you think of food?  Are you unable to concentrate on what you are doing?  Then you are hungry!

If you can easily distract yourself from eating, you aren’t hungry.  And if you can’t decide what you want, then you aren’t hungry.

And, as you are learning to recognize true hunger, remember that the first time you feel a hunger pang isn’t an “emergency.”

(By the way, please notice I did not call it  hunger “pain.”  Do you call it thirst pain?)

It is like when you look at the gas tank of your car and it is on 1/4 full.  You don’t feel like you need to immediately stop and get gas.  You are just aware that soon you will need to get some.  You may plan out where you will stop, how you will pay etc.  But you don’t panic and just pull over immediately at some station that has the highest price!

No, you simply recognize that you will need gas soon.

But, if you wait until the red warning light goes on, problems can arise.  You can get stuck in traffic, may not be able to find a gas station etc.

It is the same with fueling up your body.

First, you notice hunger, and make a plan to eat soon.  Then, when you feel more urgent hunger, I call this Stage 2,  and you eat.  If you wait too long- Stage 3 hunger- then problems arise.  You may feel awful, have no nice food available, and just end up filling up on anything because you are desperate to eat.  This isn’t good!

To sum up:

Stage One hunger is noticing hunger.  You are not desperate, you just notice you will need to eat something soon.

Stage Two hunger is when you should eat.  You have had a few biological cues to eat, you are craving something specific, and you are unable to distract yourself from eating.

Stage Three hunger is when you have ignored your hunger too long.  You are more likely to overeat and  eat things you don’t even like  because you are desperate.

Please follow me on Twitter to help stay connected with these principles.  @megmeranus

The pro diet messages are everywhere-  be too smart to fall for those messages and stay true to your natural thin mentality.


Waffle House Was Yummy

wafflehouseoutsideI went to a diner last night – a Waffle House that just opened near me.

Years ago, when I was a dieter, I would have had to negotiate this meal very carefully.  What can I eat that isn’t “bad.”  I would have had plain eggs, fruit,  dry toast and diet coke.

This is how it works for me now, with a thin mentality.

I ordered two eggs, ham, and a  waffle- because it was a new Waffle House and I had never had one of those famous waffles.  It came with hash browns.  It was a big plate of wonderful food.  I also had coffee with cream.

I ate most of the eggs and ham.  Then I ate a bite or two of hash browns and about one quarter of one waffle with syrup and butter.  I enjoyed every bit, had a wide variety of flavors etc. and it was great.

I took home a doggy bag.

If you added up the calories in what I ate, they probably would have been about 600-700.  I didn’t think about the calorie count last night.   I just am letting you know approximately how much food we are talking about here.

If I had eaten a “diet meal” like I used to, the calorie count would have probably been about 500.  I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much.  And then you know what I used to do?  When I got home after having a meal I didn’t love, I would have a bite or two of some treat when I got home.  That would easily have added another 200 calories to what I ate.

So, the point is, I would have probably eaten about the same amount of calories as a dieter as I did eating what I had last night.  But last night was way better.  I felt completely free, satisfied, experienced a fun meal, and when I got home, it didn’t even occur to me that I needed a little “treat” before bed.

You can say that fruit and dry toast would have been more healthful.  If you examine one meal of mine and compare it to a diet meal, you could make a case that that individual meal was less fatty or sugary or whatever.

But that is not how nutrition happens!  You have to look at the whole picture.  What is your next meal, and your next and your next.  And I know that my body, which is “on my side” will request that I eat some vegetables and fruit some days and waffles and syrup on others.

Yours will too!  Free yourself from your diet mentality and trust that your body wants good nutrition and will guide you to it.

As you get your thin mentality going, I know you are afraid that you will gain weight, not lose weight.

But you will never gain weight if you eat only when you are hungry, and stop when you aren’t hungry anymore.  Remember, you didn’t get fat eating when you were hungry!!

And say to yourself, as you look at the second half of the hamburger that you ordered, ate half of, and aren’t hungry for anymore, “Yes, it still looks good.  And I can eat it all- just not all at once!  When I get hungry again, I can finish it.”

It really is a fun, nice way to live-  I promise.  And way “cooler” than being a stoic dieter.  ugh-  or constantly struggling with being overweight- ugh.


At First You Might Feel Like A Fish Out of Water


As you are trying to reconnect with your body and listen to your innate hunger cues to know when to eat, you may feel like “a fish out of water.”  You are not used to the freedom of being able to eat what you want when you are hungry.  I get it.

So here are some pointers.

You know you are hungry when just the thought of food makes your mouth water.  And you know you are hungry when you start to lose the ability to concentrate fully on whatever you are doing.   If you can successfully “ignore” your hunger, (by getting busy with something) then you are not hungry.
You need to spend some time learning about your own hunger.  Yes, your hunger patterns are going to be unique to you.  And it is a rewarding kind of “self discovery” to get to know those patterns.

I know mine very well, and that awareness give me a feeling of control and confidence.  There is no fear that I will blow it or eat for inappropriate reasons.
For example, I know that I often experience a “warning” hunger signal.   I know that first hunger signal isn’t an emergency hunger signal.  It is just letting me know that soon I will need to take care of myself.  How nice!  No panic, no fear, no stress.

When I was a dieter, I feared hunger because I knew I was not going to be “allowed” to answer it with food of my choice, or in an amount necessary to satisfy my hunger.  “Oh great, I can eat some lean chicken on whole wheat with mustard.”  So hunger always ended in an unsatisfactory experience.  But when you are eating with a thin mentality, hunger is always rewarded in a satisfactory way.

I know how to take care of my hunger.  And I know how much hunger to “tolerate” for the best eating experience.

Give yourself a chance to learn about your hunger.  Hunger is circular, not linear.  Your first hunger pang is not an emergency!   And when your body trusts that you will answer your hunger in satiating way, you are on your way to a strong thin mentality.


Modeling a Healthy Thin Mentality


Since there is just one “rule” with a thin mentality–eat when hungry–I have found it helpful to just give examples of thin eating versus diet mentality eating to help people understand the difference.

Healthy thin eaters look forward to being hungry.
Dieters fear their hunger

Healthy thin eaters know how to take care of their hunger
Dieters have no idea what their bodies are truly craving

Healthy thin eaters don’t base their eating choices on the future or the past
Dieters count up how many calories–or points, whatever– to decide if they should eat

Healthy thin eaters value their hunger and don’t waste it on food they don’t like
Dieters will eat a stale bag of cookies on the eve of a new diet

Healthy thin eaters do not worry about how to handle food at a party
Dieters may even skip a party to avoid food.

Healthy thin eaters eat nutritious food because their bodies crave it
Dieters eat nutritious food because Dr. Oz told them to.

Healthy thin eaters have a little bedtime snack if they are hungry
Dieters go to bed early and avoid the kitchen to avoid eating

Healthy thin eaters end up eating less, over time, than dieters, at a much more even pace.
Dieters eat a lot one day and then starve themselves the next

Healthy thin eaters know that if they eat a calorie dense food when they are hungry for it, that later on in the day, their appetite will reflect that.
Dieters eat a calorie dense food and often binge because they “already ruined their diet.”

There are so many examples, I will keep them coming.  Hopefully, if you don’t know a naturally thin person, these examples will help.  🙂


Response to Facebook Comment


It is great when people make comments because it helps me to know what would be a helpful blog.

OK- so let’s talk about the “stages” of hunger.  This is my own interpretation of hunger and what it means to me.  This is just common sense.

Stage 1 hunger is when you notice that you are starting to get hungry.  It is NOT an emergency.  I view it like this.  “Great, I am getting hungry, I will get to eat soon.”   I say it to myself that way because it is fun to eat when you are hungry.  It is a great, wonderful experience.  It is not full of angst and guilt and counting, like when I was a dieter.

If I was really active the day before, I might start to feel hungry earlier than usual, and it may come on really strong and fast.  Since I have made the effort to learn about my hunger, I know this.  So I don’t worry and think, “Oh no, I am so hungry and all I can have is tuna.”  NO!  I simply say, “Wow, this feels like that kind of hunger that gets strong really quickly, so I better figure out what/ when/where I am going to eat.”

This again is just common sense and me knowing how to take care of my hunger.

Stage 2 hunger is when I eat.  I am hungry, easily distracted by the thought of food, my mouth waters at the mention of food.  So I eat!

If, for whatever reason, I have had to wait until Stage 3 hunger–which is when you feel desperately hungry and even grumpy and really “empty,” I have noticed that I eat more and enjoy it less. I am not as picky about what I eat, and I eat quickly.

Sure this happens sometimes, of course.  The real world will do that to you.

But I don’t stress out about that.  I just say to myself, tomorrow, I should do a better job of making sure that I eat when I am happily in Stage 2 hunger.  I eat less in Stage 2, and enjoy it more.

The biggest thing to avoid is when you are so hungry that hunger goes away.  I have noticed that in the past when I dieted, hunger would go away.  Guess why?  My smart body is coping with the miserable situation I have put it in.  My body thinks I am in a famine and is trying to protect me, so I can survive without that debilitating hunger.  That is how people who are on a diet are able to say, “I am not hungry at all!”

I avoid that like the plague.


Because I have learned from my own history, and the history of those whom I worked with at Nutrisystem, and other people in my life whom I have watched diet, that if hunger goes away while you are dieting, you are in for binges as soon as you stop dietng.

Your hunger comes ROARING back as soon as you crack and eat a little.

And that is where people gain back all their weight.  It is as if they have no control.  They don’t.  Their bodies are  strong, and worried that another famine is around the corner.  So…. your body seeks to pack on the pounds.

So, bottom line:

Notice your hunger in Stage 1
Eat in Stage 2
Avoid getting to Stage 3

Your body will feel safe, and trust that you will feed it.  You will not feel the urge to hoard food, also known as bingeing.  And you will enjoy a life that includes delicious, non-stressed eating.