The dieting and weight loss industries are massive. The trouble is, though, that if their methods really worked, nobody would be overweight. It’s actually in their interests to have people stay overweight. Otherwise they would go out of business. ‘Dieting’ just isn’t the answer. Certainly not in it’s traditional sense. For more about my thoughts on this check out The Trouble with the Weight Loss Industry right here on the blog.
If you’d like to be eating less, you don’t need to go on a ‘diet’. You don’t need to be focusing on restriction of calories and/or elimination of different foods.
How can you do it? Mindful eating. It’s a more sensible, sustainable and psychologically (and physiologically) friendly approach. Today we’re going to talk about non-hungry eating a little bit.
Non-Hungry Eating and Your Hunger Cues
When you eat, do you ever find that you are not actually physically hungry? I’ll bet that at least some of the time, you aren’t actually physically hungry. Most of us do it sometimes and there is room in life for some non-hungry eating.
Having said that, many of us are doing a fair bit of non-hungry eating, often on a daily basis. It can start to add up to a fair bit of extra food if we do it frequently. You might be tired, bored, stressed, upset or you might just be eating based on the time on the clock.
Before you eat, start trying to think about whether you are actually physically hungry or whether there may be some other reason that you are looking for something to munch on.
Work toward just eating when you feel physically hungry. The first step is to become more aware of your in-built hunger signals. Many of us are pretty out of tune with them and have forgotten what physical hunger really feels like. Food is so readily available, we rarely get to that point.
You may assess the situation and decide you’d like to eat anyway and that’s okay. As I said previously, there is room in life to eat for other reasons sometimes. It might just be for the enjoyment. Awareness is a great starting place if you’re looking to reduce your overall non-hungry eating.
Listen to Your Fullness Cues Too
The other factor in this equation is when you stop eating once you’ve started. Many of us were taught from a very young age that we had to eat everything on our plates. This has got us in the habit of eating more food than we often want or need because it is there and we don’t want to be wasteful.
Just like we need to start getting back in touch with our hunger cues, we need to start paying attention to our cues for satisfaction and fullness.
Ideally, we want to stop eating when we get to a point of satisfaction. We certainly want to try to stop before we get to a stage of being overfull – that’s just uncomfortable! If there is more food left when you start to feel satisfied, wrap it up and have a bit more later when you feel hungry again. You’ll almost certainly enjoy it more if you have it when you feel like eating again.
Try to Slow Down
Eating more slowly can help with stopping eating at a point of satisfaction. If we eat too quickly, we can easily eat to the point of feeling overfull. Try to slow down a bit so your brain and stomach have a chance to get on the same page. It can take a little while for the signals to get through.
It can be quite a process to change your thought patterns and behaviours around eating. There are many ingrained habits and thought processes here. It won’t be perfect overnight, it’s not like flicking a switch, but it’s a much more sustainable approach. Just becoming more consciously aware of some of these things is a sensational start.
You might find that you need some help from a dietitian or a psychologist when some of this stuff. Many people do. If you think you might need some help, send us a little message via the contact page or on our Facebook page and we’ll point you in the right direction.