THE BLOG

Eating Instructions

07/21/2014 11:03 am ET | Updated Sep 20, 2014

All of you out there know that I treat a lot of eating issues whether it be compulsive overeating, anorexia, bulimia, you name it. Or simply the usual chronic dieting that most women subject them to, landing them up with an extra 10 to 20 pounds while eating the same amount of food.

If you have struggled with chronic dieting and weight that you want to get rid of and are sick of avoiding the foods you love, try these tips. Small bits add up when it comes to behavior change, and when you shift from thinking that you aren't allowed to eat certain things and land up eating them, most likely you don't eat them 'mindfully', and you more than likely take in more calories in one sitting.

This is a way to spread out your calories, increase your satisfaction and ability to stop after a certain point.

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So good luck, and here are my "Eating Instructions":

This is not a diet. This is a behavioral approach to eating that can be applied to all foods, all the time. The more you practice, the easier it gets to incorporate into your everyday eating, helping you to be aware of the more subtle signals of satisfaction.

Try to avoid letting yourself get too hungry but even when/if you are starving, you can practice calming down before you eat which helps your brain to register satisfaction.

You are not allowed to judge what you are eating as bad or good. No matter what you choose to eat, you deserve to savor and enjoy it. Why waste the experience of the food by rushing through it? These two exercises will help you calm down enough each time you put anything in your mouth.

1) Either before you sit down, or after you are sitting down to eat a meal, try to simply slow yourself down.

2) Notice how keyed up you may be feeling. Think of a gear shift. You want to be able to bring yourself down from fifth gear, (a place many of us operate from all day long!) to about third. Try not to begin eating until you have slowed yourself down. If you've started to eat already, try it as soon as you remember.

3) Try to sit somewhat still for 30 seconds. Notice your back against the chair, your legs against the chair. Feel your bones getting heavier, and the muscles around your bones releasing.

4) Even if you are sitting with people, try to notice your breathing and try to expand your breathing into your stomach.

5) Feel your ribcage and your back and belly expand with your breath. Take a few more deeper and slower breaths before you begin or as you have started to eat.

6) As you take mouthfuls, count at least 20 chews before taking the next mouthful. Don't worry about being too exact, but try for a minimum of 20. Notice how it slows you down and how you can pay more attention to the taste, texture and feeling of satisfaction as you are swallowing and filling your belly.

7) As you begin to slow down more, put your fork down between bites but only if you want to do it. Notice if you can take longer in between bites. Even if you start out hungry, if you calm yourself down, you won't feel as frantic and likely to "stuff" the food.

8) Begin to notice when you start to feel satisfied. Stop and wait. If you want to eat more, do so, if you don't, you can always eat more later or leave it for tomorrow.

Try to do this with all foods, not just the foods you think are "healthy." You want to savor and enjoy everything you eat, don't rush the foods you think you shouldn't be eating!

If you hate and don't want to count the chews:

1) Slow down and breathe and calm down before eating, as much as possible.

2) Practice slowing down repetitively during the day, not even only before eating.

3) Make a rule that you will not put food in your mouth if you are feeling frantic and pressured, even if you are starving. First take 30 seconds to slow down and breathe.

4) Rather than count the chews, make sure to take longer to feel the sensations and tastes and textures of the food in your mouth even as you are swallowing and there is less food in your mouth.

5) Notice the diminishment of the amount of food in your mouth and remind yourself that there is always more to take and you are in charge of making the decision when you want to stop and either end the meal or take a break. Remember, you are in charge of that decision and only you can feel your way to it, based on what you want to do in that moment

6) Practice putting your fork down between mouthfuls reminding yourself that there is more. Slow down between mouthfuls.

Notice as you have less of a full mouthful again remind yourself the food is not going away. (Old eating at your dinner table loops and diet tape loops which tell you need to stuff it because it's either being taken away or you shouldn't be eating it!)

Visit me at: www.donnafish.com

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