by Ed Yourdon
Weight is one of those problem issues that never seems to have a resolution. We try every new diet that comes along. We give up carbohydrates. We count calories. We gain, we lose, and we gain again. We have little successes, big failures, and decide that nothing that works.
Sadly, the dream of a fit, attractive figure fades into the dread of diabetes, heart disease, and other obesity-related issues.
Do not give up hope! We do not need another diet book or miracle weight loss pill. We just need to practice these three basic rules and we can start to lose weight without dieting.
Rule #1: We should eat only when we are hungry.
Of course, we are hungry all the time, so isn’t that why the weight keeps piling on. This does not make sense until we realize that we probably never feel real hunger. We just eat all the time. We eat because we are bored, or angry, or depressed. We eat popcorn because we are at a movie and cookies because we automatically grab one every time we walk by the break room at work. Eating has become an emotional first-aid kit, a habit, a mindless activity.
What we really need to do is measure our level of hunger before we eat anything. With 1 being completely stuffed, 3 being able to take or leave a small snack, and 5 feeling extremely hungry, we would probably be surprised to find we never get past a level of 2 before we eat again and have no clue what a 4 even feels like.
Today, before eating again, try to experience what real hunger is like. Wait until you are at least a level 4 or a little uncomfortably empty, before eating your next snack or meal. Make this a habit every time you reach for food and the weight will start coming off. And don’t worry, stomach growls are not an incurable disease!
Rule #2: Do not confuse thirst for hunger.
Many of us walk around in a state of borderline dehydration. We have lost touch with the signal our body gives us to drink. As a result, we eat when we should really be filling up on water to stay hydrated.
Today, before having a snack or meal, drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes, the time it takes for the brain to sense fullness. You may just find that you pass up the snack you were thinking about eating or that you are not getting seconds at dinner like you used to.
Rule #3: Stop when you are satisfied.
Learning when to quit eating can be harder than figuring out hunger. We race through our meals, so we are out of touch with the experience. We eat in our cars, standing in front of the refrigerator, or in front of the television. We finish a container of ice cream and realize we are not even sure what flavor it was.
Today, eat exactly what you crave, what you really want. Enjoy the way it looks, smells, and tastes. Chew your food a few more times than you normally would. Again, do not decide on eating more until 20 minutes have passed. Rate your sense of hunger again. Stop at a level where you feel full, but comfortable, not stuffed and sick.
We do not need another diet gimmick. We do not need to change our whole lifestyle. We just need to reconnect with our stomachs, our brains, and the real pleasures of eating. If we follow these three simple rules, we can begin to lose weight without dieting.