I over ate. It’s a cheat day. I’m off my diet.

Right now- know this- ALL of those phrases are wrong!

FOOD is NOT morality. It is not good or bad.

Cheating is to act dishonestly.

If you eat pizza, you are not cheating. You are just eating pizza.

Some food you should eat more frequently and some less frequently; that’s it. The goal is not skinny. It is healthy. I have known many “skinny”people that are in poor health.

So can you eat pizza and fudge? Yes. Should you always eat it? No. Every week is not a special occasion.

Hunger is God given. It is not a sin to eat. Do some people not know HOW to eat? YES.

Should it come as a surprise that in the busy and care-filled world we live in that we have neglected basics?

Actually if you are quick to hear, your body will reap benefits. So let’s talk about hunger and listening. Listen when your body is hungry is the goal, not eating when it’s a certain time of day or ignoring hunger because you have no time. Hunger is a designed mechanism for nourishment.

Principle #1: Eat when you are hungry.

This looks like being prepared with snacks if you are away from home. This looks like not shoving in food because it’s time to eat. Emotional eating is a real thing. Food gives chemical-induced feelings of pleasure. I have to watch not eating because I am tired. I have to think, am I tired or actually hungry? I also need to focus and think, am I thirsty or actually hungry?

How can one determine if we are actually hungry? I imagine a plain meal, like plain chicken breast and plain green beans, and if it sounds good, then I am hungry. If I only want a certain thing, I am not eating for hunger. (And I don’t use chicken and green beans as my mental picture; I use spaghetti squash with salt and pepper. It is plain, but if I am hungry, it sounds great.) We are blessed with variety of food here, but the schmorgasborg is a privilege. Having abundance of food does not make EVERY meal an “all-you-can-eat” buffet.

When I am hungry, I still eat food I enjoy, but I make sure I am actually hungry.

I also have a little pneumonic that I use: HALT.

Am I Hungry? Am I Angry? Am I Lonely? Am I Tired?

A moment to pause and think can help you not to eat calories your body isn’t asking to eat.

The second principle is like the first:

Principle #2: Stop eating when you have had enough.

What does this look like?

Eat slowly. Put aside distractions, such as television, phones, and books. It allows you to LISTEN to your body to determine if the hunger has left.

Eat slow enough so you can have the body acknowledge the food ingested. And stop before complete satiation transpires so you can determine if it is enough. It takes about 20 minutes for this to happen.

Now I understand the mental games that transpire around food. Here are some methods to retrain your body.

Use smaller plates. You can get more if you are still hungry, but you may find it was enough. There is also something satisfying about “finishing” a plate.

Use smaller utensils. When I am overly hungry, I would rather use a tablespoon to scoop it all in, but a teaspoon will help me pace my eating.

When you are 90% full, get up and walk around or clear some dishes. You are giving your body time to recognize satiation. We are coming upon the season where gluttony and over indulgence are expected. Temperance will make you far happier once the twinkle lights are put away and you can see what your consequences are. But please use balance. It is acceptable to eat. It is mandatory and supports life, health, and well being. Having pumpkin pie is not sinful. Treat meals respectfully and not as seasons at the trough, shoving in so much food that you are uncomfortable. Take a breath. Slow down. Actually “enjoy” what you have been blessed to eat.


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