EATING LOVE GUIDE - 5
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Guide - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Emotions 1 - Emotions 2 - Emotions 3
CHAPTER 5 - MANAGEMENT & CONTROL
"If you can't go back to your mother's womb, you'd better learn to be a good fighter - Anchee Min"
After reading through the past, preparatory chapters it's now time to take back some control and there are several tactics I recommend in doing so.
First, remember once again that it is a slow, minimal effort, long drawn out battle. You are not going in guns blazing; you are trying to chop down a tree with a steak knife. A few focused strikes everyday over many hundreds of days.
Tactic # 1 - Questions
The first tactic we already touched upon in chapter 3 which had you asking yourself specific questions, at specific times, waiting to see what comes up, and what is there (the monster) in the back of your mind. It bares repeating though since it does belong in this section.
Those questions don't take more than a few minutes and should be very easy to put into your daily routine.
It may not seem like much but emotional focus really is at the heart of emotional eating change. Give them your best effort. Remember it's only a few minutes daily so make them count.
Getting the same answers all the time or the same result is normal. It's the process that's important. The more you expose yourself to this difficult part of your emotional world the less control it will have over you and that is the result we are after.
Tactic # 2 - Getting a Cheap Calendar
For this tactic you will need a pen and a cheap dollar store calendar. As it is now you probably feel like you have no control over your binge/emotional eating, and that your monster has ALL of it. This is somewhat true - cutting ourselves off from our emotions gives them control over us. But with this tactic we are going to start to slowly take it back and here's how:
For an entire week (and make sure it is a typical week) write down the times during the day that you overeat. You may have only 1 instance per day, several, or you may have a mix of both. After 7 days go by, look back and take note of your overeating patterns.
Then pick 1 instance that you think would be easy for you to skip in the week to come. Just one out of the several that are there.
During that following week, eat what you normally would, and write down the overeating instances again, but skip that one time you picked out as 'easy,' during one day only and mark down an empty circle in it's place. Make sure it is somewhat easy for you to skip and make sure it is just once in the week.
After that week is done, look it over and compare it to the week before.
The difference of course is that you have an empty space where you never did, which shows that you do have some CONTROL. It may seem irrelevant, but like the brick wall in the last chapter, done repeatedly over time, simultaneously with other tactics, it becomes formidable.
If you can increase the number of skipped instances then do so, but stop before it becomes difficult or stressful. This tactic needs to be done without much effort, discomfort or sacrifice on your part.
Tactic # 3 - Eat, Drink and be Merry
Since overeating is going to happen anyway, why not try to make it so that it has the least amount of negative impact on your weight and health? Why not even try to lose weight in the process?
I don't mean that you should switch chocolate brownies for a salad. I mean make that brownie as healthy as you can, without sacrificing the satisfaction you get from it. There are tons of recipe blogs and sites that have delicious tasting foods and desserts that are much healthier than their original alternatives.
All else being equal, if can make these changes (gradually) to most of your meals and desserts, you will see a difference on the scale and at the doctor's office and again, without sacrificing taste, enjoyment or putting forth too much effort.
This is just one example of modification of course, but the strategy here is to slowly modify the foods you typically eat with ones that are similar, and that GIVE YOU THE SAME SATISFACTION but are healthier for you and have generally fewer calories.
Most of the changes above will be from sugar and carb replacement or reduction.
Replacing Bad Junk for Better Junk
When you are about to reach for those brownies and you know that it is not your best choice but you can't seem to help it, try to replace it with something else instead.
For example, instead of ice cream try:
Popcorn with real butter.
Get an air popper and pop a MASSIVE bowl of popcorn and use REAL BUTTER as liberally as you like. Make sure you really enjoy this. Yes, butter has lots of calories but this suggestion is much better than eating something with lots of sugar or dough. Popcorn also fills you up so that you will be less likely to want more food afterwards. If though you do want, and eat more food afterwards, you will likely eat less overall calories, WHILE STILL ENJOYING YOUR FOOD, than you normally would have on that night anyway which is the goal.
You can also try a caesar salad with all the fixings.
Again get a MASSIVE bowl and chop up lots of romaine lettuce and add the full fat dressing, croutons, bacon bits and parmesan etc...
This is again not an optimal food choice but we are not looking to be PERFECT. We are looking to be BETTER by changing our habits and choices, one step at a time, consistently.
Eating that caesar instead of bread or pasta with your meal is a MUCH healthier alternative because of the leafy greens and fiber, low amount of carbs and sugar. It's also a better choice because it fills you up, making it less likely for you to want other foods. And again if you do want other foods you will want less. Most importantly though, you enjoyed it.
- This is one of those foods that is reported to be much healthier than regular chocolate and, in my opinion, a good replacement to the regular milk chocolate because it has less sugar and is very RICH in taste. What that does is it satiates your palate quite quickly, making you not feel like you need any more food as nothing else is as powerful flavor-wise, and so nothing else will satisfy you.
Sugar free pudding and sugar free jello are other good replacement foods to say, store bought pie and danishes. Sugar free pudding can be made at home with milk and is quick and easy. It has lots of milk which means lots of volume making you full more easily.
There are a many ways of replacing the unhealthy foods you were going to eat with ones you STILL ENJOY but are slightly healthier. Start doing this just a tiny bit at a time until you get used to the newer, healthier food. Make sure it still satisfies you and makes you feel full. Once you are used to and satisfied by that healthier food, shift more of your foods in the same way. Repeat as many times as you can over the months and years. The title of this tactic was "Eat, Drink and be Merry" and so it is very important that you do just that. Enjoy the food you eat and feel satisfied.
Tactic # 4 - The Sweet Drink
If after you have eaten dinner in the evening you start to feel that familiar pull towards something sweet or junky, try a sweet drink instead of a piece of cake or any other solid food. I don't mean pop or sugar drinks but starting with either a diet drink or some juice without sugar added.
Many people I've spoken to have found that if they drink something sweet it satisfies their craving enough, and that helps make it easier to ward off the pull to overeat.
Many people have tried this and have shifted slowly to the point where they now take a drink that is 1/2 a glass of natural juice and 1/2 water and find it plenty sweet enough. Gradual progression is key.
The sweet drink may not ward off ALL of the food you would have otherwise overeaten but it will some, and that is a positive start.
A couple of similar suggestions are to chew gum and/or brush your teeth right after dinner. Many people don't like to eat after brushing their teeth because they really don't feel like going through the process of brushing and flossing again. And gum gives you a minty taste in your mouth which gives you the same feeling you had after brushing your teeth. It may be enough to put you off of eating anything else. The mint flavor also satiates your palate.
Tactic # 5 - Minimum Intake for Maximum Effect
This principal applies to most things in life but is especially true for diet, exercise and emotional pattern change. It states that one should find the point at which you have expended the least effort or time to gain the maximum benefit and no more.
In our case that means eating as little as we can to gain the maximum benefit that overeating gives us.
Example: Say you are planning to eat 5 Twinkies after supper to fulfill whatever needs you feel you have at that time.
What you are going to do is pay attention as you eat them. After you have eaten 1 stop and ask yourself if eating another will do anything for you. Will it be just as satisfying as the first? After 3 have you had enough? Will one more do anything at all for you?
Many people find that the law of diminished returns sets in and that after eating a certain amount of food, there isn't much more to get satisfaction-wise if more is eaten.
Eating past the point where your returns are greatly diminished, means eating empty calories. Not in the nutritional sense but in terms of any benefit to you. The only result or effect they will have on your body is weight gain and bad health.
Try to find this point by eating consciously. If you can before finishing the 5 Twinkies it means you have discovered that you don't really need as much as you thought you did. Then simply put away the remaining food. It shouldn't be that hard because the PULL you feel to overeat at that point is substantially weaker since you are somewhat satisfied after eating say 3 Twinkies. Being satisfied is KEY in this entire process. If not you WILL succumb to the cravings (monster) and then feel like giving up entirely.
When you can regularly stop at 3 Twinkies, try then stopping at a point just before 3. If it works keep going but if not don't fret it. The fact that you are now consuming 3 instead of 5 Twinkies means that you cut your intake by 40% night after night.
This is not earth shattering but it IS effective, over time and in combination with the other tactics. These tactics put together really do all add up.
Tactic # 6 - Daily Time Slots
Many over eaters find that there is a certain time (or times) during the day when the urge to overeat is at it's highest, and it is then that most of the damage is done; meaning that's when they tend to binge eat or indulge in junk food and gain the most weight.
The idea here is to pinpoint those times for yourself and get to know your patterns of overeating. Does it happen at specific times or after/between certain events?
The calendar from Tactic # 2 above will be helpful for this.
For some, the urge is time-based where they will feel the urge strongest between 7:00pm-9:00pm for example. For others it is event-based. These people will feel the urge to overeat between or after events. An example would be after dinner, regardless of whether dinner was at 5:00pm or if it was at 8:00pm. For them, they eat the most after they finish dinner no matter what time it is. And still for others it is mood-based. These people tend to eat more when they feel overwhelmed or bored or anxious. Perhaps they binge after certain things happen at work, or when they get triggered by a family member etc.
Try to really nail down the times and circumstances in which you tend to overindulge.
If it is time based write down the times when you start to feel the urge and when the urge seems to subside. After a few weeks of writing this down on your calendar, see if you can nail down a pattern.
Use all the tactics above during these times.
If it's a long time period it will be more of a challenge. An interesting strategy to help with these longer periods that has proven itself effective, over and over again is to do something that involves the use of your hands. When you engage in something interesting to you that involve your hands, you, first of all, can't use them for eating. But the real magic here is that using your hands to perform a task of some kind takes a good amount of attention and is a very good distraction.
It is the reason why people cannot drive and talk on their cell phones if it is held in their hands. Talking hands-free doesn't use as much attention and focus as talking with the phone in your hand. So even though you are doing the exact same thing in both instances, one of them is illegal.
Some good hand-task suggestions are:
1- Knit! Right now there is a small army of men and women who have taken up knitting while watching TV, to occupy their time which would normally be spent eating and watching TV instead. Try it, it works and is cheaper than eating.
2- Learn or Play a musical instrument. Aside from keeping you distracted and occupied, music is also very soothing and is great as a stress releaser, and, it's good for your brain.
3- Phone your friends. Get in touch with family and friends. It's a great way to re-connect and to help pass time that would be spent eating junk.
4- Start a hobby that involves use of your hands. Build model airplanes, sculpt, paint, spin clay or start a small indoor garden.
Six different tactics.
Six different ways of satisfying the beast that will have a lessor negative impact on you. Use all six regularly and with focused effort, and you will see results. It is impossible not to.
Start with Just One
Focus on just one or two of the six tactics. Pick the one you think is easiest for you and do that one alone. Make that the only change you will implement and really make it work. Then, once it has become a part of your routine, it will no longer be effortful and you can try another and another etc.
This is probably the best way to have you eventually using all 6 tactics properly and effectively for maximum gain.
Start with one, start slowly, start where you're at - just don't stop.
PROJECT AN ENTIRE YEAR FORWARD.
Imagine where you'll be in 1 year after applying these 6 tactics.
- Imagine the awareness you'll have about yourself, how well you'll know yourself and what drives you, simply by focusing inward for a couple of minutes per day using the first tactic. How different of a person you'll be and how that will affect the choices you make in other parts of your life as well as in the kitchen. The type of person you will learn to be with your partner, kids, parents, friends etc. Turning inward, even just a little, does so much more than you think.
The year is going to go by anyway. Might as well have something to show for it.
- Imagine what your calendar will look like (see tactic 2 above) after 1 year. Picture all those empty spaces you'll have on it that weren't there the year before. Think of how much more control you will have over your eating and how much LESS food you will have consumed in that time. Think of it, of all the food that DIDN'T go into your body because you held off time and again. How much weight loss does that equate to?
- Imagine (re: tactic 3), that of all the food that did go into your body, how much of it was much healthier food than the year before! Picture how much less processed junk passed by your lips and what effect that had on your weight and your health AND your self esteem.
- Imagine (re: tactic 5) now having discovered where your satiety point is, and being permanently able to satisfy your cravings with less food than you used to need. This is an awareness you'll have for the rest of your life by the way. Think of how much less food you will have consumed from this alone.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY THE PROCESS WAS NOT PAINFUL
Add them all up and what you have is far less calories going in (= weight loss) by methods that were not difficult, or that didn't need you to use incredible willpower. In other words it didn't hurt like traditional dieting does. It not hurting, is key to this program.
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Guide - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Emotions 1 - Emotions 2 - Emotions 3