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Healthy Eating Excerpt from Don't Weight

An Exercise in Halves

The most important part of this exercise is your motivation and the goal you set as you try the exercise. You may be tempted to turn this into an exercise to help you eat less food. That is normal. It is just not helpful. If your motivation and goal becomes controlling your portion size, then you would have turned this exercise into just another diet behavior. When done with the correct goal in mind, this exercise leads you to the OPPOSITE of dieting. This exercise is a tool for you to use as you journey away from external controls on your eating toward INTERNAL choices.

The goal of this exercise is
for you to enjoy your food,
your health, and your life.

Do you ever find yourself uncomfortably full at the end of a meal? Sometimes it is quite a surprise. While you were eating you were not uncomfortable. Then a few minutes after you finish ... boom ... that overstuffed feeling hits you. Wouldn't it be helpful to increase your awareness of how you feel while you are in the middle of your meal? That would allow you to make choices that were more comfortable. That would allow you to enjoy both your meal and a comfortable level of fullness afterward. Try this.

  • At a meal of your choice, decide to try the "exercise in halves". This is a simple exercise, although it can have profound results and lead you to great personal insight.
  • When you start your meal, divide it in half. If you have a sandwich, cut it in half. If you have a pile of mashed potatoes, just scoop one half slightly apart from the other half. You do not have to make a big production out of this. It only takes a moment and it can be done subtly.
  • Next, enjoy and savor the first half of your meal. Experience it. Really taste it. When you are done with half of your meal, stop. Take a moment to notice how you feel. Notice your level of fullness. Notice if you are satisfied or if you would like to have more.
  • If you are full and satisfied, why eat more? (That is why they invented plastic wrap and microwaves.) If you are not yet full, then you are ready for the next step in the "exercise in halves".
  • With the food left on your plate, divide it in half. Enjoy and savor the next half of your meal. When you are done with this half, notice how you feel. Have you reached a comfortable level of fullness? If so, why eat any more? If not, divide the food left on your plate in half... You get the idea. Eat half and then focus on how you feel.

The goal of the "exercise in halves" is to eat as much of your meal as you want, as much as leaves you comfortable. When you experiment with this exercise, you are likely to be able to accomplish these two results:

  1. Thoroughly enjoying your meal while eating
  2. Achieving a comfortable level of fullness after eating

This "exercise in halves" is a tool to use if and only if it helps you in your individual process toward healthy eating. This exercise is designed to help you develop internal choices and increased awareness of how you feel and what you need. It is not a tool for portion control. If you use this exercise to trick yourself into eating less, you may find that you react the same way you would if you were dieting.

Use this exercise as long as you find it to be helpful. Don't use it if you find yourself having some uncomfortable reaction to it. (Although, you may find it valuable to think through your reaction, in case that is part of your individual process.) Remember that this is YOUR process. You are the only one in the entire world who will react the way you do. There are lots of tools, exercises, ways of thinking, etc. It is up to you to notice your reaction to trying any of the ideas presented here. It is up to you to use or not use anything that you choose. This is not a program where you are required to follow the steps. This is a process that you are designing for yourself.

You are leading yourself through your own individual process as you read this book and experience your reactions. Try the "exercise in halves" if you think it will be helpful. Try it at least once even if you don't. Skip this exercise altogether if you feel it will reduce your healthy eating or trigger a negative reaction. Trust yourself and keep thinking.

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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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