It’s time to eat, you open the fridge determined to eat something “healthy,” but all you are really wanting is that leftover pizza from last night. You muster up all the willpower you have and grab the boring Greek yogurt and fresh fruit you bought at the store because this week you are going to start “eating healthy.” You finish all the yogurt and fruit and still seem hungry and now raid the cabinets. Hmm, maybe a few crackers or a few pretzels will do it. Nope, still hungry. Maybe a few cookies or some veggies. Nope, still hungry. You get frustrated because you just can’t get that pizza out of your head.
Did you ever think that your head is actually what is getting in the way of making those healthy changes, not the pizza?
I know what you are thinking, “You want me to eat the pizza that I am craving?” Yes, that is exactly it! If you tune out the body, over ride its needs and wants, dissatisfaction will occur mimicing hunger. You have felt this before, I can guarantee it…that fullness in your stomach, but the need to still eat.
Here is what I’m NOT saying. Eat whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want. Eating like that all the time with no thought or motive can interfere with your relationship with food. It is essential you understand what your body is telling you.
Here is how you can tell…
#1 No matter what you are eating sit down at the table and eat. If you are craving pizza, cookies or even fruit and yogurt it’s essential that you sit down and concentrate on the food. You will not learn to eat less and lose weight if you eat standing up, passing through the kitchen, sitting in front of the television or even in front of the computer. In all these scenarios true hunger can be disguised by distractions, food associations and/or even stress eating. If you are really that hungry, no excuses, you need to take the time to sit down and enjoy your food!
#2 Concentrate and taste your food. I mean really taste it. If the first bite tastes amazing and the tenth bite doesn’t taste so great STOP eating. Equally important, if the first bite doesn’t taste that great do not even start eating it. Without good tasting food, satisfaction can not happen and overeating will occur. This takes me back to the example of the pizza versus the fruit and yogurt. If you are not wanting the fruit and yogurt the first bite will likely not taste amazing and the body will keep looking for that taste before satisfaction can occur! If you started with the pizza, calories would have been saved despite being a higher calorie choice.
#Eat consistently throughout the day. Nourish your body every three to four hours. The body needs constant fuel. Going long periods of time without food will cause a low blood sugar and the result is a strong craving for sugar. These cravings are what the body needs to get your blood sugar back up, but not for a good reason!
When you are wanting to make changes to your health it is important you make smart nutrition choices, but you can’t deprive your body from what it is wanting. Learn to sit down, concentrate on your eating and eat what you body is wanting. You will develop a better relationship with food.
Dana Snook, RDN, CDE, CIC