Archive for December, 2009
I found this awesome interview with Brian Wansink who wrote the book, literally, on mindless eating. I’m a HUGE fan of his work, and I highly recommend his book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. If you’ve ever heard about the famous soup experiment where study participants ate from bowls of soup that continuously refilled themselves (eaters were unaware of the trick), that’s Wansink’s genius.
So, in the online interview, Wansink was asked questions about various topics related to mindless/mindful eating. I love the excerpt below about the foods that men and women crave. In my household, it’s definitely true. Matt ALWAYS wants mac-n-cheese or chicken pot pie when he needs comfort, and I look at him like he’s crazy. Bring on anything crunchy or sweet for..or better yet, crunchy AND sweet.
Does the following hold true for you?
Twenty years of my research can be summarized by saying “Our tastes are not formed by accident.” The fact we like comfort foods is predictable, but it is also somewhat predictable which foods we will like, when and why we like them, and when all of it backfires..
For starters, we found that men prefer meal-related comfort foods like steak, pasta, pizza, burgers because they make them feel special and well-taken care of. Women, on the other hand, don’t think of these as comfort foods. These foods reminded them of work – cooking and clean-up. Women much preferred the convenience of the snack foods, like cookies, chocolate, and ice cream. Eating ice cream from the container equals no cooking and no clean-up
What do you crave?
Yes, I know I’ve neglected you since Thanksgiving. It’s been crazy hectic in my life, and I needed to take a little break and get things in order. I’d rather write when I’m feeling inspired rather than rush to put something together just for the sake of it.
Today, I have a VERY important annoucement. I am OFF dieting. Yup, you heard me. O-F-F D-I-E-T-I-N-G. No more. Nada. And guess what else is really shocking? I’ve been eating sugar. Yup. I’ve been eating sugar EVERY DAY for the past 2 weeks and it’s been AWESOME. Seriously, I LOVE chocolate. I forgot how much. Do you want to know how many times I’ve had a binge? NONE. Zip. And do you want to know how happy I am? Extremely. Immensely. So happy I want to run around nekkid. (not really, but you get the point)
The Universe delivered the book “Intuitive Eating” into my hands about 3 weeks ago. This book “spoke” to me, and related to me, in ways that were so spot in it was spooky. I started crying after I read the Introduction. I recognize, from reading, that my chronic dieting, and dieting mindset, has really held me back. At points, when reading, I was so shocked that I could let my thinking get so far off course. So, I have started my path as an intuitive eater, which means, in a nutshell, that I listen to my body for what it wants, and I give it exactly that. I eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full, and give myself permission to eat whenever and whatever I want (there are no good and bad foods).
The most important factor, which is very strange to me, is that weight loss is NOT the goal. Rather, gently letting your body reach it’s natural weight is the goal. It takes time…months, maybe even a year. But your body knows best, (and if you let it have whatever it wants, it will naturally want healthy foods, which luckily I enjoy). I must admit, I have no clue what my natural body weight even IS. I lost a lot of weight in college (through proper diet and exercise) and then after college, spent the years dieting, restricting myself (and binging, too) and spending hours in the gym. I kept that up for a good long while..until I couldn’t any longer. Fast forward to now..after a very tough semester and turning to food to help me get through the stress, I’m heavier than I have been in years. So who knows. But the major shift, again, is actually NOT CARING. I am more in love with living a life peacefully with food than fitting into a super small size.
So, this is my new adventure, and I’m giving it everything I’ve got. I went to the grocery store last night and allowed myself to buy whatever looked good. In addition to my favorites (which are healthy), i picked up Salt and Vinegar potato chips, gluten free fig newtons, laughing cow cheese, chocolate jello pudding, and the most amazing chocolate ever–Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt. And now that I’ve been allowing myself to have these foods around the house, they kinda lose their allure. I had one square of chocolate, savored it, and I was satisfied. Imagine that.
So, won’t you please join me on my path to eating intuitively. If my journey is anything like other “IE” eaters, it’s going to be bumpy and rocky. Two steps forward and one step back. It will take time. But, for me, I see a shift already. I feel like a HUGE weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can stop putting pressure on myself to be the “perfect” eater. Now, I can just be.
Check out the website and feel free to ask me any questions about the process. For your reference, below are the 10 guidelines for Intuitive Eating, taken from the website.
Intuitive Eating Principles
1. Reject the Diet Mentality Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.
3. Make Peace with Food Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.
7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food Find ways to comfort , nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.
10 Honor Your Health–Gentle Nutrition Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts