Normal is an interesting word. Normal is just what most people do, or maybe even behaviour that others accept without question. Normal does not mean best. Normal does not mean healthiest.
Overweight is becoming normal, yet overweight clearly is not the optimum condition for our bodies.
Why is food controlling the minds of so many people? This must be what is happening because the body isn’t designed to be fat. It is designed to store fat, but that’s something completely different.
What bodies have are mechanisms that create sensations that are understood as time to start looking for something to eat. These sensations we call hunger. And sensations that are understood as time to stop eating. These sensations we call satiety or fullness. If we only took notice of these sensations and started to look for something to eat when we felt hungry and stopped eating the minute we felt sated, it is unlikely that anyone would have a problem with excess weight.
So why don’t people listen to their bodies any more?
Maybe because food has become something it was never intended to be – the Master.
A typical day for many people:
- Wake up – Breakfast
- Spend morning looking forward to break time and snack
- Spend rest of morning looking forward to lunchtime
- Clock decides when it is time to eat lunch
- Spend afternoon looking forward to break time and snack
- Spend rest of afternoon looking forward to going home time and eating a meal.
- Clock decides when it is time for evening meal
- Watch TV
- Have supper (clock or commercial breaks decide time for supper)
Just have a look at your own day and see what it is in you that dictates when and what you eat. If it isn’t internal feelings or sensations then food is your Master.
And yes, I know that when we are employed it isn’t possible to eat at any other time than official breaks. I’m not suggesting that you can be doing anything other than what you are doing. I’m just drawing your attention to what is actually going on.
The art of cooking, using fresh ingredients is dying. You only have to look around any supermarket to see the vast number of ready meals, and the amount of money that is invested in meals that are 95% fat free (which is just another way of saying that one-twentieth of this meal is pure fat), or gives the impression that it has been lovingly cooked just for someone who wants to eat more healthily. Why are these foods so popular? They are popular because they carry the subliminal promise of continuing to allow food to be your Master while not suffering any adverse consequences – like unattractiveness. And because everyone wants to be seen as attractive, the lie is accepted.
Eating is undeniably a pleasurable activity – especially when the food contains a reasonable amount of fat (fat makes food palatable) and/or a reasonable amount of sugar.
The trouble is that manufactured food has very little flavour. It has plenty of sodium, and spices, and herbs, and chemicals, and garlic to fool your mouth into thinking there’s some flavour, and it frequently has added colour so it looks more palatable than it actually is. Real food has flavour. And real food satisfies so there is a greater experience of pleasure, and satisfaction is reached sooner, so less is required. If you want to experience real flavour – get yourself a big plant pot, fill it with soil-based compost, place it in a sunny spot, and sow some carrot seed in spring. Pull the carrots when they are about two or three inches long, wipe them, and bite.
If you want a healthy body, and you want to be just the right weight for that body, then for you to achieve that you have to want it more than you want to eat. Or you have to find something that gives you more pleasure than food and have that instead. That way you don’t have to give up anything. So start to notice the eating triggers – those things that dictate to you that it’s time to eat something. When one of the triggers goes off, just check in with your body and sense if it feels hungry or not. If it does, by all means have something to eat, but after every few mouthfuls just check in again and see if your body is starting to feel full. If it is then just stop eating and forget about how much food is left on the plate, and forget about how much you paid for it too.
If you feel you have to eat at specific times, then just do the fullness check.
Doing this will put your food back into its rightful place as servant and give you back control of your life.
Many people with a weight problem, don’t really know what Healthy Hunger feels like, so they can’t correctly interpret the messages that their body sends. If you want to experience Healthy Hunger, and you are in good health, then just don’t eat anything for 24 hours, and only drink water – as much of this as you want. If you have any concerns about this, or you have health problems other than weight, then be sure to consult your doctor for advice before engaging with this exercise. Be sure you do this on a day when you can rest and take gentle exercise, and be sure that you don’t engage in any activities where concentration is needed for your safety. By the end of the 24 hours you should have a nice sensation that suggests eating something nutritious would feel good, so break your fast with some juicy, sweet, fruit. After this you will become aware of a much gentler pleasurable sensation that says it’s time to start preparing some food. This sensation of Healthy Hunger is there to assist us in enjoying and obtaining greater pleasure from what we eat. So instead of looking forward to mealtime, look forward to feeling hungry.
But don’t forget that if you choose to no longer be influenced by the pictures on the packets of food from the factory (and remember that prepared food comes from a factory – it’s just the picture on the packet that was taken in a kitchen), then you release yourself to buy delicious, fresh, maybe even organic, fruits, nuts, meats and vegetables. If your body is fed well-cooked wholesome foods it will be satisfied more easily.
So make a choice right now to be in control.
And remember all you have to do is simply:
Eat when you’re hungry.
Stop when you’re full
And enjoy every mouthful.
This isn’t a restrictive diet.
Nothing is banned.
It’s a recipe for pleasurable weight loss.
If you feel that you would like some help and support during the period you would like to be losing weight then visit my website, or if you would just like to know exactly why diets don’t work then click here.
Author: Michael J. Hadfield