Eat All You Want
Remember, healthy eating is usually not about how much you are eating but what you are eating. People comment on how much food I eat. “Every time I see you, you’re eating. How do you stay thin?”
I love to eat as much as the next guy, but
most of my diet consists of low concentration, high water-content food rich in bulking fiber. A half a large cantaloupe has the same amount of calories as one tablespoon of butter. In addition, we just learned that eating the right kinds of oils can actually help you lose weight.
So why is a Big Mac more satisfying then a bowl of grapes? First of all, grapes will not satiate craving. In addition, because your digestive system is used to eating heavy foods that require stronger digestive acids, the stomach will still feel hungry even after a huge bowl of grapes or any other raw food. It takes a few weeks for the digestive system to adjust to a diet rich in low concentration foods. It is just a matter of patience and you will feel full on a raw meal.
It takes time for the signal of a full stomach to reach the brain. Eating slower will result in needing to eat less to feel full. My wife will laugh at this one.
I have yet to practice this consistently. For the compulsive it is a real act of discipline but well worth the effort.
It’s a lot easier to snack on chips when slumped in your lazyboy watching a sitcom rerun than when going for a walk. One of the reasons we eat is plain old boredom, which is why TV and snacking go so well together. At first, the idea of replacing a bag of Miss Vickie’s chips with a walk sounds ridiculous. But trust me, it really works. Think about it for a moment: it’s not about the chips, it’s about the feeling eating the chips provides. If you can get that same feeling or an even better one from a walk, then you have just replaced a bad habit with a good one. The challenge is one takes no effort and has immediate but short-term rewards, the other takes work and slowly releases its good feelings, which last the whole night. Turn snack time into walk time.
Snack Lightly Before Bed
Eating a big breakfast sets the metabolism on high for the whole day, providing lots of energy. I have a coworker who eats no breakfast or lunch. He has one large meal just before bedtime, a habit he has practiced for years. His caloric intake is low, yet even at the request of his doctor to lose 25 pounds, he could not lose an inch. It took a few well-placed questions to uncover the reason why he eats at night. After his marriage broke up, the evening held dark feelings of loneliness and despair. Food became a faithful companion. At the age of 48 years old, and after his second heart attack, he finally was convinced to try reversing his caloric intake from night to morning. The transition was full of emotional withdrawals.
Here are some foods I eat when I need a little comfort before sleep. A few whole grain crackers with goat’s cheese. A handful of raw walnuts. A few spoonfuls of frozen yogurt. It’s a great feeling crawling into bed, a little hungry, successfully resisting the munchies. It may not be Goliath, nonetheless, we all have our personal giants to conquer.
Be Aware Of Your Emotions
There are days it would not be prudent to be found within a five-mile radius of a Saint Cinnamon Bakery Café. Their company Slogan is “Cinnfully Delicious.” They are friendly little kiosks hiding on the periphery of mall food courts, ambushing the innocent with seductive aromas. These beauties are served fresh out of the oven, hot, soft as warmed butter, laced with cinnamon, drowning in cream cheese icing. This fare is not for the faint of heart. Control freak extraordinaire, I am particularly vulnerable when my precisely planned schedule is derailed because of an unforeseen calamity, like being forced to miss a workout. I know better than to have dessert foods in the house, but what about the times I am required to be at the mall, waiting while my daughter is picking out a new pair of shoes. Malls are excruciatingly boring, and bored is not a good state to be in within smelling distance of a Saint Cinnamon Bakery Café. One thing leads to another, and there I am, sitting with a group of detached, bored fathers eating two or so Danishes. I look down at Amanda's new shoes feeling embarrassed and sick to my stomach.
“Know thyself,” lesson learned. Now I drop Amanda off at the mall and she sorts through a thousand shoes while I go to a neighboring park to walk under open sky, or to a library to read inspiring ancient Greek aphorisms surrounded by the smells of dust and age. It works. Cinnless Perfection.
I used to be naive enough to think, this time I will resist. You can guess where that got me. There is nothing wrong with being aware of your weaknesses and making appropriate adjustments. It is the many little changes that can make all the difference. Live deliberately, not creating expectations that only envision sunny days.
The Fasting Advantage
Fasting is an effective way to shut the digestive system down, switching off hunger in about 24 hours. There are two benefits to this. First, as hunger subsides, you can focus attention on overcoming craving. Second, for the first time, you will be able to differentiate between hunger and craving. Craving has nothing to do with the body’s need for fuel, but is an emotional or physiological response to addiction. Knowing the difference between craving and hunger is fundamental to understand what is driving you to overeat or eat unwisely. Encountering your addictions is a rude awakening but an essential part of real freedom.
Fasting is an effective way of peeling away superficiality and getting to the core of addiction. Physiological craving will be broken in three days. Psychological craving will take longer and more work on your part. When the fast is complete, and the digestive system is reawakened, hunger returns and that’s when the real journey begins. The personal growth and broken cravings that fasting initiated provide a great head start when facing hunger.
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