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> Back to Healthy Eating Excerpts List

Healthy Eating Excerpt from Don't Weight

First, Eat Something Healthy

You're hungry, or
you have the "munchies", or
you just want "something", or
you have a craving.

You want to eat.

You have paid attention to what you need emotionally. When it seemed like you needed comfort, you already did comfort yourself in non-food ways. When you needed relief from boredom, you did something interesting. When you needed to tune-out, you actually did tune in to the issue at hand, even if it was just a little bit. And, even after paying attention to your emotional needs:

You're still hungry, or
you still have the "munchies", or
you still just want "something", or
you still have a craving.

You still want to eat.

Now, what do you do?

If tuning in to your emotional needs did not give you the information necessary to take care of yourself, maybe you can get more information if you take away the question of "to eat or not to eat" all together. Next, try something with which you are more familiar. Eat. Whenever you are actually stomach-growling hungry (even if your mind tells you that you should not be hungry), EAT. Only, I suggest that you eat something healthy. I recommend that you HAVE A HEALTHY FOOD CHOICE AVAILABLE TO YOU AT ALL TIMES. If you were taking care of a little one for the day, you would always have healthy snacks stuffed in your bag, just in case the little one got hungry. Give yourself the same care.

When you are not actually stomach-growling hungry, but you really want something anyway; it is all right to EAT. Just eat something healthy first. Think about your day, ask yourself: "Have I eaten enough fruits and veggies?" "Have I eaten enough protein?" "Have I had enough water?" Think about the nutritious foods you still need today, and give yourself the food your body needs.

After you have eaten something healthy, give your body and mind some time to react. (It takes twenty minutes for food you have eaten to affect the glucose levels in your blood so that your brain gets the chemical signal that you are full.) Then, when a little time has gone by, you will notice that your craving is gone or your craving is still tugging at you.

If your craving is gone after eating something healthy, move on with your day or your evening.

If your craving is still tugging at you,

Yes, that is what I said, eat whatever you want.

There is only one catch.

It is very important that you

Savor every bite.

Especially since you are eating to satisfy a craving, this is the time to savor your food and NOTICE WHEN YOU ARE SATISFIED. When you are satisfied, why eat anymore? This is a comfortable time to stop eating. There is no wrestling match with your willpower, no restriction. You just ate some healthy foods and some "entertainment" food. That's fine.

I want you to imagine this scenario:

  • You had a craving and you tuned in to your emotional needs. When you discovered "What was going on here?", you addressed your emotional need. Sometimes, at that point, the craving went away. You would be finished dealing with your craving. But sometimes the craving persists. Fine. Cope with it instead of fighting it.
  • You continued to crave and you ate something healthy first. Sometimes, eating the healthy food ends the craving. You are done. Sometimes the craving persists. Fine. Cope with it instead of fighting it.
  • You still crave and you ate what you craved. This time, instead of eating guiltily in the closet, slipping the food past your awareness and your taste buds, this time you tasted and savored every bite. You were present and aware. You can do what you CHOOSE, instead of what you are compelled to do.
  • You enjoyed what you ate, and stopped when you were satisfied. No big deal. It is just some food. You enjoyed it. And you are comfortably full without overeating. No willpower required.

Can you imagine it? How would you feel? Isn't this much better than an uncontrolled guilt filled "binge"? Would you end up eating more healthy foods and less entertainment foods when you cope with cravings this way? Would you feel less guilt? Can you see that there is NO DEPRIVATION in this way of coping with cravings?

There is no restriction imposed. When you cope with cravings by meeting your emotional needs and then eating something healthy first, you are tuning in to what you need. You are taking care of yourself instead of forcing yourself to use willpower and stay "on a program". Because you are internally motivated and you are not on a program, you cannot go "off the program". If you try to cope with cravings this new way, and you don't do as you intended ... that's all right. You are in the middle of learning this new way of coping. There will be another craving. You will get another chance to practice this new way of coping with your next craving.

Cravings can be scary. Especially if you have felt wildly out of control with your eating in the past. Practice this new way of coping. Let some time pass. Gradually, you will be less scared. When your next craving hits you, take a breath, tune in, and take care of yourself. You deserve it.

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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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