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> Back to Healthy Eating Excerpts List

Healthy Eating Excerpt from Don't Weight

Now and Later

When I stand up in front of a class full of lifelong dieters and tell them they will be working toward the goal of eating whatever they want, they look at me incredulously. Dieting, by its nature, means controlled eating and deprivation. Healthy Eating with Bliss(, by its nature means UNRESTRICTED eating where your choices are made based on what you want. Your new skills will be to experience what you eat more fully and to expand your awareness of what you want to include the present moment and the future. With this expanded awareness, you tend to want healthier foods in more reasonable amounts.

I use the phrase "now and later" to refer to:

  1. experiencing your eating now
  2. being aware of your how you will feel later

For example, when you sit down to eat a meal, you enjoy the flavor, aroma, and feel of the food as you eat. (Good! That is "savoring your food". It will be a tool you use in your journey toward healthy eating!) Later, after you eat, you will also feel the effects of your meal. You may feel comfortably full, or feel uncomfortably overstuffed. The choice is up to you. Do you want to enjoy your meal BOTH as you eat it AND afterward?

Learn about your body and your reactions to food. This is not easy. Life is so busy and complicated it is difficult to notice the connection between what we do and how it makes us feel later. This is a connection worth making. You can use writing to help you make this connection. I know, you may cringe at the thought of writing down what you eat. I will not suggest that you engage in this particular diet ritual. Most of us have been burned in the past by diet experiences that required writing down every bite of food eaten. That is why I suggest we do not focus on writing what you ate. The food is not the issue right now. Connecting to how food makes you feel is the issue.

I suggest you write down how you FEEL after you eat. Notice what you experience right after you eat.

  • Do you feel comfortable, like saying "Ahhhh" with a sigh of delight?
  • Do you feel uncomfortably full and like groaning?

Yes, I am focusing on physical feelings for now. I do that in order to avoid the guilt and judgment that may be included in emotional reactions to eating. What about your experiences in the few hours after you eat?

  • After your breakfast, notice how you feel mid-morning.
  • After your day of meals and snacks, how do you feel in the evening?

Be aware of your energy levels, your moods, your cravings, and whatever else you can notice. Now that you are tuned in to the effects of your eating, you may be more open to look at the cause. When you are ravenous by mid-morning, ask yourself, "What did I have for breakfast?" Was there some protein and heart healthy fat included? These are the foods that are used more slowly by the body and satisfy longer. When you feel compelling cravings for cookies, donuts, and other foods high in fat and sugar, notice what you have eaten in the hours and days before. Eating foods high in fat causes the neurochemical called "galanin" to be released. Galanin causes you to crave more fats! Believe it or not, this is good news. This means that you have the power to affect your cravings. You do not have to just cope with cravings. You can reduce cravings for fats later in the day by choosing certain foods lower in fat earlier in the day. What a wonderful gift to give yourself, wrestling with fewer cravings!

This is a fundamental shift in motivation.

I do not recommend you eat less fat because you "should" or because you "ought to". I do not recommend that you eat less fat in order to lose weight.

I recommend you give yourself a more peaceful evening with fewer cravings. It just happens that one way to give yourself this gift is to eat lower fat foods with better nutrition earlier in the day.

Now you have a non-restrictive motivation. You are just giving yourself a nicer evening.

Knowing how you react to foods will give you the awareness you need to choose to eat foods in the amounts that you can best enjoy "now and later". Do some foods make you feel lethargic? Then, don't eat them before a high-powered business meeting. However, you may consciously choose to eat a lethargy-inducing food when you want to chill out and do nothing for a while. After you eat some foods, do you have to cope with lots of cravings and urges to eat more, even though you are not really hungry any longer? Would you like to avoid having to wrestle with those cravings and urges? Then choose to avoid those foods! You are NOT restricting any type of food. You are giving yourself the gift of not having to wrestle with cravings!

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By Kelly Bliss M.Ed., A.C.E. author of Don’t Weight, Eat Healthy & Get Moving NOW!
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