Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Don't Go Hungry Questions

Since last May when I first heard about Paul McKenna's "I Can Make You Thin" approach to losing weight and maintaining the loss, I've struggled with really understanding what it means to follow his golden rules:  

  1. Eat What you want, not what you think you should eat
  2. Eat ONLY when you are physically hungry
  3. Eat Mindfully
  4. Stop Eating when you are no longer physically hungry
The first rule always 'got' me.  How do I know what I REALLY want?  Left to my own device, cookies and cake usually pop to the top of the list.  But in reality, I don't really want cookies and cake - or not too much anyway.  The concept intrigued me.  I felt if I could master these rules then for once in my life, I would be free from my obsession with eating.   It didn't work.  I gained a few pounds that have stuck around like unwanted guests.

Then I read about Dr. Amanda Salisbury-Sains and her "The Don't Go Hungry Diet."   It advocates the same approach of eating what you want and only eating when you are physically hungry.  But she takes it further.  She provides great guidelines on how to assess your hunger and even better - how to determine what you really want to eat.  I call them "The Don't Go Hungry Questions"  and keep them high up on my left side bar as a visual reminder to ask myself these questions when I want to eat.

  • 1. Am I hungry?
  • 2. How will this food feel as I eat it?
  • 3. How will this food feel right after I've finished eating it?
  • 4. How will this food feel 1 hour after I eat it?
  • 5. How will this food feel 2-3 hours after I eat it?

Question # 5 was my A-HA moment.  So often my stomach would ache and feel painfully bloated about 3 hours after dinner.  Rightfully, I blamed it on eating too much, but I didn't stop the behavior the next day.  Once I started asking myself the Don't Go Hungry questions, I realize the amounts of food I was eating as well as WHAT I was eating were causing me to feel so badly.  And by consciously asking myself these questions prior to eating and while I'm eating, I am able to stop eating before it becomes too much and to make food choices that make my body feel good.

The result? My weight is heading back to the happy zone.  Mindfully. Slowly. Sustainably.  It feels good.

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