Tuesday, March 29, 2011

5 Tips for Weight Release through Intutive Eating

Sprawled on the stained kitchen floor, frantically scooping mounds of Green Tea Soy Ice Cream into my mouth like a ravenous animal, I knew I had to find a way out of my disordered eating patterns.  This was a common scene a dark period of my life called the Diet Addiction years.

For six years, my life was ruled by rigid eating and dieting, replete with obsessive exercising.  The constant deprivation would soon lead to binging.  My body was not happy and I did not trust it to find its natural weight and size on its own.

Consequently, it rebelled by gaining weight.  I believed that I had to force my body to the ideal size by following strict rules and guidelines from a multitude of trend diets.  I tried everything from veganism to Atkins. My weight was constantly yo-yoing and no matter what my size, I did not love what I saw when I looked in the mirror.  In fact, I loathed my reflection.

Not long after the Green Tea Ice Cream experience, I went to the library to find another diet book, and instead saw How Much Does Your Soul Weigh, by Dr. Dorie McCubbrey.  The book introduced me to Intuitive Eating, an incredible strategy for weight release and most importantly for FREEDOM from the Diet Addiction.

Here are 5 tips for weight release through Intuitive Eating:

1) Decide to trust and accept your body (and let go of the diet mentality)

During my Diet Addiction, I was sure that if I trusted my body’s wisdom, I would blow up like a balloon.  Little did I know that my body actually wanted healthy food…eventually! When I started letting my body run the show, at first it wanted sugar cereal morning, noon, and night.  Of course! I had deprived my body of this food for a very long time.  Soon, my body started gagging at the site of a cardboard cereal box and started asking for fruit, veggies, protein and other healthy foods.

I also let go of any rules, regulations, and plans that contributed to the diet mentality.  For example, “no eating after 8pm”, “don’t mix carbs and protein”, or practicing strict calorie counting.  These mind games confuse our body and cause us to stop listening to our body’s true hunger signals.

Our bodies know their natural size and weight better than we do! When we trust our body’s wisdom about what to eat, how much, and when, our bodies find their natural set point on their own.

2) Recognize You are Hungry (A GOOD thing!)

For years, I thought that hunger was the devil.  If I felt it, I tried to talk myself out of it, drink tons of water, or chew gum.  I thought if I just pretended that I wasn’t hungry, then I would reach my ideal size and finally love my body.  Instead, I would wait to eat until I was famished, and then finish off so much food in one sitting, I could rival Michael Phelp’s meal sizes.   Consequently, I felt awful.

In Dr. Dorie’s book, she recommends the Hunger Scale.  My clients and I have found this very helpful.   The Hunger Scale consists of the numbers one through five. At one, we are completely full and at five, we are famished.  The goal is to eat when we are at a three or a four, not wait until we are famished.  It sounds simple, but can be life changing.  Eat when you are hungry!  Our bodies know what they are doing!

3) Discover WHY you feel hungry.

Most of the time, when we are hungry, our bodies are asking for energy! Yet, sometimes, we think we are hungry when we are not.  We might see a piece of luscioius carrot cake, and trick ourselves into thinking we are at a 3 or 4 on the scale.  The key is to be aware and mindful while salivating over the dessert.  If you know you are not at a 3 or 4, have a small piece or a taste.  There is no reason to deprive yourself as this can lead to binging later on. (Green Tea Soy Ice Cream incident)

A third reason we might feel hungry is because we are emotionally hungry.  I have a client who found herself eating at night when she was home alone and bored. She knew she wasn’t hungry, but the food helped numb the loneliness.  Together we worked on strategies to help her express the emotion instead of try to shove it down with chocolate.   Her favorite idea was playing loud party music and dancing around the apartment.
What are your strategies for Emotional Hunger?  Some examples are dancing, singing, writing, calling a friend, going outside, screaming, crying, or laughing.  The main point is to EXPRESS YOUSELF!

4) Listen to what your body WANTS to eat. (Letting go of the shoulds)

I used to have the world’s largest Good Food and Bad Food List,  based on whatever diet had become my most recent religion. To truly practice intuitive eating effectively, I had to throw away the list! It was scary, but I did it!  I allowed my body to guide me towards what it wanted to eat.

When you are aware that you are at a 3 or 4 on the hunger scale, don’t look in the fridge or cabinets.   If you are at a restaurant, refrain from looking at the menu.  Decide what your body wants FIRST.  Then, do your best, to follow your body’s wishes, even if that means placing a special order at the restaurant.  You will start noticing that your body knows what it needs and will balance out naturally between proteins, fats, and carbs. You do not need to overthink the process of choosing what to eat.  Just listen.

5) Eat the amount of food that your body needs! (It’s not about “finishing your plate!”)

Our parents had good intentions when they told us to “finish your plate.”  This may have been followed by the guilt trip regarding children with no food in 3rd World countries.  However true statement might be, we live in a country with a love affair with MEGA portions.

When intuitive eating, you do not need to eat the portions you are served.  Remember that it takes the body twenty minutes to register it is full. I recommend getting up from the table, starting the dishes or using the restroom, and then coming back to the plate to see if you are still hungry.  Also, the stomach is approximately the size of your fist.  It does not need much more food than that in one sitting.

Mindful Eating will assist you in this endeavor.  When enjoying food, always sit down, slow down, and chew each bite at least 10 times.  Experience the food and the succulent flavors.  Appreciate where the food came from and what people helped bring the food to your plate.

When you think you might be full, YOU ARE FULL.  And remember, you can ALWAYS have more food later if you are hungry.

When I began to listen to my Inner Guidance about eating, I finally made peace with food, found my natural weight, and most importantly began to love my body.  I now live in awe of my body’s wisdom and support clients in reaching a similar place of acceptance and freedom.  It used to be painful for me to catch my reflection in the mirror.  Now, I look in the mirror and see Love.

For support on loving YOUR body and releasing weight, email Coach Cora at cora@sexysoulwellness.com to set up a F.R.E.E. 30 minute Inuitive Wellness Coaching Session.  (All sessions are over the phone!)  www.sexysoulwellenss.com

Picture from: http://woldfitness.com/2009/08/mobile-unit-frozen-heat-for-a-hot-body/

1 comment:

Hovig said...

Hey Coco!

This is a truly amazing post. It really struck me how much I identified with it, especially the lady who eats in the evenings because there is nothing better to do. Here in Fresno, boredom can rain supreme sometimes and I have found myself sitting in bed, watching Will and Grace reruns while snacking on anything I can get my hands on! As I move forward, I really hope to be able to really embed some of these intuitive eating ideas into my life more regularly. Thank you!
Miss ya and hope all is well!