Welcome to Day 5.
Before we discuss ways to feel our full, I have to ask:
How was yesterday?
Did you start to really hear those voices in your head - the negative, know-it-all, judgemental ones? Were you able to keep your cool? To enter the (kind of boring) drama-free zone called BEING NEUTRAL?
It's a lot less of a roller coaster, huh?
*take note if you find yourself missing the drama - you might be a bit of diet addict (which is a term I sort of made up but it's way more common than you think). I can write/talk more about that another time!!!
Day 5 - Feel Your Full
On Day 2, when we discussed attending to your hunger, I mentioned that ignoring your biological need for food is a sure fire way to ignite your hunger and cravings, making it very difficult to stop when you feel full. But even when you really are paying attention to hunger, there are a few other reasons you might find it difficult to feel your full:
- You are stressed out or emotional: when you are in a place of high-stress/high-emotion your body is not primed to digest. In fact, you will likely be quite numb to the taste and pleasure of the food you are eating. It's actually possible, and quite effective (!), to USE food to take you from the state of fight or flight (the stress response) into the state of rest and digest (relaxation). There is a reason it's so tempting to overeat when stressed - it works! If you eat enough you'll notice that you start to feel tired, lethargic, and lazy. Congrats! You're relaxed! Unfortunately, you probably also over-ate.
- You eat like the Tasmanian devil after a marathon: When you eat really fast, your brain has no time to check in with your body. It takes awhile to register how full you really are and when you eat super speedy fast, you'll find yourself stuffed before you know it.
- You aren't paying any attention: You likely spend the better part of the day thinking about food and then, the moment food is in front of you, you zone out. You look at your phone, read a book, watch tv, etc. Our brain needs to pay attention to food in order to register that eating is happening. Eating while distracted is kind of like having a conversation with a friend that doesn't listen to you at all.....when it's over you're left feeling kind of empty and like you want to do it again (with someone new and better, obviously). Cephalic Phase Digestive Response (CPDR) is dork for: the importance the brain plays in how we digest and assimilate food...and it's HUGE. Your brain needs to be IN THE GAME.
The biggest obstacle in all three of the scenarios above is not being present.
When you eat, EAT.
You need to be awake at the plate.
Here is a simple, not-too-embarrassing-so-you-can-do-it-in-front-of-others, plan to help you get more present while you eat:
1. Before you eat, take a few breaths. Look at the food in front of you. Really take it in. Smell it. Say a small "thank you" (access to food is not a given, it's a privilege AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT).
2. Eat some of your food. CHEW IT. Part way through, when you remember (or set a timer), put your fork down again and breathe. If you're starting to feel full, stop for a few minutes. Take 4-5 more breaths. Decide if you want to keep going. You can start again ANY TIME. Repeat until you feel full.
3. For those who really struggle with leaving food on their plate, here is what I suggest: eat until you feel think you maybe, might be, full. Set your plate aside, maybe in the kitchen, but don't get rid of it. If, in 10 minutes, you are still hungry have a bit more. Continue until you feel done. If you end up eating it all - NBD. You took the time to evaluate your fullness and you learn something new about "how full feels" every time you stop and pay attention. Well done.
If you are at a restaurant do the same. When you feel done, take the rest home. Even if it's just a few bites. Sometimes just giving yourself permission to take the rest home provides you with the space you need to recognize that you are actually full. And if not, you can always finish it!! No rules!!!
Okay folks! Day 5 is done. We are half way there!!