I’ve been living “diet free” since March 23rd.
Over these three months, I have somehow managed to lose 3 inches around my waist, 3 inches off my bust and 1.5 inches off my hips. Additionally, I’ve learned to allow myself total choice in what I eat, respecting always my Coeliac Disease and the restrictions that this places on me. Actually I even tried eating gluten to see how my body felt about it, and it let me know that it was not very happy with this choice (hives on my fingers, IBS and itchy back!).
So, how is it possible that I am diet free and losing weight? It all starts (and ends) with Innergetics and mindful eating. As I differentiate between feelings that masquerade as hunger (cravings) and true hunger, I am learning when to eat and when to simply listen to the message from my body (because behind the feeling there is always a message).
I am still not where I want to be, but I have learned many lessons along the way these past 13 weeks and the learning continues. For starters, I have learned what hunger feels like (as opposed to what a craving feels like). When you feel hungry, there’s a gnawing in your stomach that lets you know “I’m hungry”. Many of us have gotten used to ignoring the initial signs of hunger, because hunger (unlike cravings) can simply be ignored and told to “wait”.
“I’ll eat later.”
“It’s not time yet.”
“I’m too busy right now.”
“I’ll just grab a bite at my desk.”
The pain of hunger pangs lets us know “you need to set aside some time to eat.” It may start simply as a feeling of emptiness, and then it grows. It starts with gnawing; an empty, hollow, or slightly queasy feeling; then it moves to growling or grumbling. If ignored for too long, you may hear an embarrassing growl from your stomach during a meeting, or start burping or feel gassy or bloated. Then you might start to feel weakness or loss of energy; trouble concentrating; difficulty making decisions; light-headedness; a slight headache; shakiness; and irritability or crankiness. In the worst case, if you already passed the stages of tired, lightheaded, or weak, you get “hangry” or a head-ache.
I’m doing quite well at catching it before weakness and loss of concentration, since the feeling of hunger does not sit well with me past that!
But many of us, in the digital age, have lost touch with the basics of understanding the meaning of “pain” – Please Acknowledge Information Now. This is the way that our body communicates with us that we are hungry (among other things)! And so many times we choose to ignore it, until we are ravenous. And then we don’t understand why we ate too much. We take ourselves from ravenous to bloated, because our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, and we are eating so quickly that the message that we’ve had enough gets to our brain much too late!
If we would learn to eat when we are hungry, then we would choose healthier foods! But this requires getting in touch with our bodies and learning to listen to the signals that we are receiving. It requires mindfulness in actually interpreting them as well.
“We use food to entertain, distract, comfort, and calm us.”
“You don’t pull into every gas station you see,” says May. “You check your fuel gauge first.”
A few weeks ago, I posted about my relationship with food and writing – that every time I sat down to write a blog post, I would go to the fridge! It still happens now. But, now I bring a glass of water with me to the computer and when I get the urge to stand up and go to the kitchen, I simply take a sip of water and pet my rock.
I have learned to differentiate the cravings from the hunger:
Emotional eating – cravings – can lead us to have difficulty concentrating, feel anxious and stressed out. I never realised how big my struggle with “head hunger” was, until I started applying Innergetics, noticing my “start” and “stop” points. Head hunger is when I tell myself I want to eat – because my brain has become so accustomed to interpreting certain messages from my body as “hunger” that I tell myself that the solution to this “pain” is eating.
Of course, I eat and the feeling goes away, so obviously, it was hunger. Right?
Not quite so fast or so easy!
Yes, I have now blocked the feeling or the message. But did I understand the message from my body in the first place?
If after I’ve eaten I’m left feeling stuffed or, worse yet, guilty – it probably wasn’t hunger! I simply covered up the symptoms, but never treated the cause!
Let me give you a very personal example that taught me a humbling lesson:
One evening I was putting little miss 4 to bed and she informed that she needed some ice cream. As the request was quite specific – ice cream – I had an inkling that perhaps this was “craving”, rather than hunger.
I asked if she was thirsty, and would like a glass of water.
She wasn’t interested.
I then went on to ask whether she was hungry and would like a toasted cheese sandwich.
Once again, the answer was no.
So… here we are – at bed time. Neither thirsty nor hungry. But asking for ice cream.
So I asked her if she would like a hug.
She said yes.
And so, we sat on the floor for about 10 minutes in a long hug… until she told me she was ready to go to sleep.
If only I could apply that lesson more simply in MY life!
Since I began this new diet-free lifestyle, where I have full freedom of choice of anything that I would like to eat and no restrictions on eating, I have discovered a new joy in savoring food. But, I have also learned many valuable lessons regarding my relationship with food and how I have used food to “squash” so many feelings and emotions.
PAIN = Please Acknowledge Information Now.
So many times, we feel a little bit of discomfort and, rather than acknowledging the information that this discomfort is communicating to us, we eat and simply stuff it back down. We lose the opportunity to find out what the pain or discomfort wanted to communicate to us! There are still days, sometimes various days at a time, that I ignore the messages and stuff them down with some food!
My biggest message comes from my “stop” in eating, which is closely related to my “start” in activity. By not having a clear “stop”, I can avoid having a clear “start” for getting back into action.
- Not feeling particularly motivated? Eat a little more, then you have the excuse that you have brain fog and feel stuffed, so you can’t get the work done.
- Feeling a little queasy about this afternoon’s work? How about eating too much? Now look, you need a nap! Guess I’m going to have to leave “that” for later.
- Too many things on the to-do list and it’s all a little overwhelming? No worries, have another helping of food to quash the discomfort!
And so now, life has taken the interesting turn of having to acknowledge the feelings and emotions that arise when you don’t smother them in brownies!
If you want more information regarding how you can take control over your life – and have total choice yourself – rather than leaving the choice in the hands of another person that it setting the boundaries for you – then reach out to me.