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[Intuitive Eating] How to Heal Your Relationship with Food.

You hear it all the time. “I want to cure my relationship with food”. What exactly does that mean?

The answer is to eat based on hunger rather than cravings.

When you feel like eating, how do you know whether you’re really hungry, or simply craving something? The people who are naturally skinny don’t eat unless they are hungry. They listen entirely to their hunger cues, not their cravings.

The closer you get to this mentality towards food, the leaner you will be. Make no mistake, this is purely a mental endeavor. You must harness your mind to view food merely as a means to curb hunger, rather than a source of pleasure or excitement. 

The two different motivations to eat

The difference between physical hunger and mental cravings is that physical hunger does not discriminate. You will eat food regardless of what it is. Mental craving is picky. You want to eat a specific food. 

Thoughts run across your mind such as, “OOOO, I wonder what that tastes like!!”, or “I can’t wait to get home and enjoy ______”. 

Skinny people don’t discriminate much because they eat out of hunger. Skinny people may have a preference for what they want to eat, but they don’t view food as an exciting event like us fat folks.

How to determine whether you’re hungry or just craving food

When you’re extremely hungry and dieting, you will eat whatever is in sight. You will eat plain, unsalted boiled potatoes. An apple will be delicious. 

When you’re pondering whether you’re experiencing true hunger or cravings, ask yourself this: am I hungry enough to eat an apple? Nothing on it. Just the apple by itself. If yes, prove it! Go eat the apple. If you can’t prove it, then you probably are not hungry, just looking to get a hit of the yum yum.

Many times, the cravings come from negative emotions. When you feel stressed, tired, can’t sleep, depressed, angry, or sad, you want to escape from that painful feeling. Food is abundant and cheap. Tasty food makes you feel good after you eat it. Be aware of this insidious cycle. Be aware of precisely what your motivation is to eat. This is most of what we mean by, “knowing your body”.

Steps to Recover Your Relationship With Food

Eat the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. The meals do not need to be exactly the same, but they should be very similar

This procedure accomplishes two things:

  1. It makes food a routine. You can no longer decide. Food becomes a constant, instead of a variable.
  2. Hunger becomes your motivation to eat, instead of wanting the tasty yum yum of the food, you already know what the next meal will be. There are no surprises. There is no excitement. There is only the curbing of hunger every 3 – 4 hours.

The famous bodybuilder Lee Lebrada once cited the secret to getting in amazing shape, “eat like a dog … Dogs eat the same thing everyday. If the owner cares about them, they feed them a high quality food but they eat the same thing everyday, and they eat a measured amount of it.”

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