By Melanie Jatsek
You’ve tried calorie-counting your way to weight loss. You lost weight! Fast-forward a few months and those pounds came right back on like a boomerang (plus more!). You figured it was the wrong method, so the next time you decided to give up carbs. It worked for awhile, until you ate a carb and thought “what the hell, I blew it so I might as well eat the whole box of cookies!” Then you decided to invest in one of those programs where all you have to do is eat their pre-packaged food and you lose weight. “YES…this one’s got to work!” you thought. And it did…for awhile. Until you grew bored of the food’s cardboard-like texture, not to mention the monotony of endless frozen pasta and chicken meals.
What’s the next diet going to be? Have you decided? Or does the thought of starting another diet make your stomach turn? It should!
Listen, you can’t go the rest of your life eating nothing but kale, berries and quinoa! Don’t get me wrong, these are all healthy foods that belong on your plate, but a lifelong approach to weight management is so much more than what you eat.
When are you going to get real with yourself and understand that you do NOT need another diet?! You have everything you need right under your skin. It’s all in the “how.” How you eat.
I believe the majority of people are overweight because they’ve forgotten HOW to eat. Specifically, how to listen to their body. As infants, we all had the precious ability to tune into hunger. We fussed and cried when we were hungry and burped and relaxed when we were satisfied. Notice I didn’t say full. We knew how to stop when hunger went away, not when we were about to bust!
We all have the ability to get back to that place—our roots. The problem? We don’t want to do the work. We don’t want to dig deep down and get to know our body like we did when we were infants. Instead, we want a “mechanism”, a tool, a list of “allowed” foods to get us there. Sure it may get you there, but it’s unlikely you’ll stay there for long.
Your body knows what it needs…but are you listening to it?
Do you understand what I’m saying? You have your very own built-in calorie-counter, it’s called your stomach. And if you tap into and listen to it, even just a little more than you are now, you will lose weight (if you have weight to lose).
I’m challenging you to do the work. Do the work of getting to know your stomach again. Reintroduce yourself. Feel true hunger. Feel what it feels like to be overstuffed. Feel what it feels like to be satisfied…and don’t be afraid to leave food on your plate for fear of “starving children in China.” 😉
Of course I don’t expect you to go at it alone. To help you, I’ve created something called a Power Hunger Scale—a scale that ranges from zero to ten. Zero means you are completely empty and overly hungry. You may even feel faint. At a level ten, you are completely stuffed and feel sick.
All too often we fall into the trap of mindless eating, filling our stomach like a bottomless pit without being fully engaged in the eating process. Many people overeat simply because it’s what they’re used to doing. The problem is, when you continue to eat past a level 5, you are entering the Overeating Zone. This is the zone responsible for packing on (and holding on to) extra body fat!
Interestingly enough, Okinawans practice calorie control with a habit called “hara hachi bu,” which translates into “eat until you’re 80% full.” Level 4 is considered 80% full.
To get started, buy a small, purse-size notebook and start logging your hunger/fullness levels before, during and after your meals/snacks. That’s all you have to do! The goal is to eat to a level four, but if you’re accustomed to eating to a level 8, then how about aiming for a level 6? Simply leave a little food on your plate (or using smaller plates!) Also, don’t forget that it takes about 20-30 minutes for your brain to recognize that you are satisfied, so eat slow and put your fork down several times during the meal.
I ‘m telling you that if you learn how to listen to your body and tune in for at least one meal each day this week…it will make a difference. In a couple of weeks bump it up to two meals each day and watch what happens.
You don’t need another diet. All you need is YOU.