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> Back to Healthy Eating Excerpts List

Healthy Eating Excerpt from Don't Weight

Lists for Life (1)

When you start to tune in to how you feel and what you need when you eat, you will discover many types of needs. I have already mentioned some of the most common needs that people often discover: comfort, reward, distraction, coping with anger, decompressing at the end of the day, coping with stress, etc. Once you have come to understand WHAT you need, how do you begin to meet those needs without always using food? What can you do?

Once again, you may find it useful to write. Writing is helpful because it is a way of making our thoughts and feelings tangible. Writing helps to take away the stress of trying to remember things. You don't have to review the list in your head, it is written down. You can relax and refer to your writing when you need to remember.

For example, think of a time when you had to buy a gift for someone and found yourself wandering around the department store looking for something to buy. Even if it were someone you knew very well, under the pressure of having to think of a gift right on the spot, it could be difficult to come up with anything appropriate. Often you would end up just buying something, anything that would get the job done, even if it was not quite the right gift for this person.

Now, imagine that you had been keeping a list. As you went through your daily life, whenever you saw something that would be the right gift for a friend or family member, you just added that gift idea to your list. You would gradually develop a list that you could refer to whenever you needed to buy a gift for someone. The gifts you gave your friends and family would be just the right gift and you would have reduced the stress of wandering aimlessly in the department store. You can use this same principal in your life to meet your own needs. You can make your own "Lists for Life".

Let's look at the moment when you got home from work. As you tuned in to your feelings, you noticed that you really needed to decompress from your workday. In the past, you have decompressed by eating. This worked. You wound down and calmed down. However, you often ate foods that had little or no nutrition. You end up overstuffed or groggy or just taking away your appetite for a nutritious dinner. This was a problem. This decompression munching is not really helping your life or your health. What else could you have done? At the moment when you walked in the door, you probably would not have been able to think of any other choices. After all, you needed to decompress, not to think. This was one of those times when you could have used a suggestion. Where could you get a suggestion for decompression activities that would really work for you? You get it from yourself!

Take a piece of paper. Write the word "Decompression" at the top. Divide the paper into four sections. Write one of these time intervals in each of the four sections:

  1. Just a few minutes
  2. About 15 minutes
  3. About half an hour
  4. An hour or more

Now you have a framework and all you need to do is use it. As you go through your life, keep your mind open for things that you can do that would help you decompress. Be patient with yourself. Over time ideas will come to you. You will not think of ideas all at once. You especially will not think of them at the time that you need to decompress. So, as you live your daily life, when you think of something that would help you decompress and relax, write down your idea in the section of your paper that most represents how long it would take to do that activity.

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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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