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Healthy Eating Excerpt from Don't Weight
What's Next After Savoring?
So, you have tried savoring your food. You have experienced tastes more, and you may have noticed your reactions or feelings more. You will continue to develop the skill of savoring your food from now on. But, savoring is just the doorway into a world of self-discovery. Savoring leads us to the next step. Remember asking yourself, "If this bite does not taste as good as the last, WHY EAT IT?" That is a good question! Let's focus on that for a while. What do you need when you eat?
Sometimes you just need food energy because you will not get to eat again for many hours. Sometimes you are compelled to eat by neurotransmitters released from the brain. Neuropeptide Y causes you to crave carbohydrates. Or it may be that galanin causes a craving for fats. Sometimes there are emotional reasons to eat. You may need a reward, comfort, distraction, etc. There can be many emotional reasons to eat.
First, let's consider emotional eating. When you notice the reasons you eat, you can develop more effective ways to meet those needs. This improves the quality of your life, not just your nutrition. There are two times when it is most useful to notice how you feel and what you need: BEFORE you eat, and AFTER you eat.
I encourage you to notice what you need BEFORE you eat. Too often we are in the habit of thinking of what kind of food we need. "Do I want something salty or sweet?" We are often accustomed to wrestling with the question: "To eat or not to eat?" No, that is not the question. When you focus on eating or not eating, you may divert yourself away from some more important, more real question. I am asking you to notice how you feel before you eat. Notice if there are any other emotions going on. I am asking you to increase your awareness. This is not easy. You will not do this all the time. Actually, you will only be able to use this increased awareness occasionally. Occasionally is fine! If you start to notice how you feel once in a while, you will be much closer to understanding yourself and what you need.
Once you are more aware of what you need, you can try other ways of meeting those needs. This sounds simple. It is not. You will go through a multi-step process to learn to meet your emotional needs without always using food. Right now, in the beginning, I am asking you to take note of your feeling and needs and write them down. You can use Your Own Book, the Don't Weight Workbook, or any paper you have around the house. You may choose to write down how you feel or what you need before you eat. Or, you may choose to do something else.
You may choose to tune in to your needs and feelings AFTER you eat. Sometimes, with the pressure of the decision over with, you can reflect on your emotions and discover what you needed when you ate. What if, when you are done eating, you have not gotten what you needed? You may be able to discover that need now, if you pay attention to it after you have eaten. What if eating really affected you? You can get an idea of what kind of effect you were looking for. This is vital information. When you know what you need, you may be able to come up with something more effective than food to meet those needs!
Did you notice that I put no importance on whether you ate or not? The issue is not eating. The issue is building a life that meets your needs. If you turn to food as a primary way to meet your needs, your needs will not get met. Food does not work well enough to meet emotional needs. If you take action and DO something that affects the quality of your life, more of your needs will be met. You will feel better and your life will be better too.
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