Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lose the weight without the diet

With the new year still fresh in all of our minds, many of you may be using this time to drop some unwanted weight. Instead of turning to dieting, I challenge you to something more difficult at first but more enjoyable and sustainable in the long term: intuitive eating.
Intuitive eaters eat when they are hungry and stop when they feel satisfied. We all had that ability as small children. However, it is not too late to relearn! Intuitive eating is not based on deprivation, calorie counting or making foods forbidden. It is based on making eating pleasurable while paying better attention to the signals your mind and body is communicating. 

How to become an intuitive eater
1. Eat slowly. A general guideline is to let 20 minutes lapse from the time you start eating until you want to serve yourself more food. This is because it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you have eaten enough. Twenty minutes may seem like an eternity, but give it a try!
2. Use moderation. Make choices to get a variety of healthful foods, yet don't be so restrictive you eliminate foods you enjoy. Everything can fit if you make an effort to make EVERYTHING fit. 

3. Be realistic. Recognize that everyone overeats sometimes and under-eats at other times. Your body can balance meals over time. The key here is to pay attention to how hungry or full you are when the next eating opportunity comes along. Each meal and each day not need to be perfect.
4. Enjoy food. Don't stop eating because you think you should but rather because you are satisfied. This does require paying attention because it is truly only your body telling you to stop eating - not a portion. Try using these tactics to better enjoy your food and be more aware:
·         Look at the variety of colors, shapes and sizes on the plate.

·         With your eyes closed, deeply breathe in the aromas.

·         Savor each taste sensation in the food: sweet, sour, salty, bitter.

·         Feel the textures and temperatures: crunchy, soft, creamy, hot.
5. Trust your body.  Herein lies the key for this to be successful, but also the most difficult step for many. Your body will give you signals when it is hungry and full. Listen to what it is saying. Also, your body can make up for some mistakes in eating. Eating is one of life's great pleasures - enjoy eating guilt-free. 

It's time to practice!

To help you get started, trying logging food intake. But, instead of logging portion sizes, log the following:
1. Time you ate
2. Food Chosen: type of food - not portions
3. Where you ate: home, car, etc.
4. Any thoughts or emotions: are you stressed? do you have a headache? etc..
5. On a scale of 1-10, rank your hunger before the meal (see example scale below).
6. On a scale of 1-10, rank your fullness after the meal.


Do this for 3 days and then review the patterns you see. This will help clue you in to times you wait too long to eat, what makes you eat too much and how food choices affect emotions, hunger and fullness.

Be Extraordinary!


• Intuitive Eating, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995
• How to Get your Kid to Eat . . . But Not Too Much, Ellyn Satter. Palo Alto, CA: Bull Publishing Co., 1987.
• Moving Away From Diets, Karin Kratina, Nancy King, and Dayle Hayes. Helms Seminar Publishing, 1996.
• Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service.
• Reinert, Jennifer. Handout: Becoming a Mindful Eater

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