Regularize Your Eating

It was important for Emilia to learn how to regularize her eating by sticking to three meals and three snacks a day—before she started dieting. I demonstrated how important this skill is (pages 89-93), by asking Emilia to set aside one day where she would make a note every time she wanted to eat when it wasn’t a meal time or snack time. This is what she recorded:


·         when I stopped to buy coffee right after breakfast (the muffins looked good)

·         when Eric offered me a donut (he brought a box to work)

·         when I finished my mid-morning snack and wanted to keep eating

·         when I didn’t feel like entering data into a chart

·         when I got back from lunch and saw leftover pizza in the kitchenette

·         when I was feeling tired around 4 pm

·         when I saw hard candy on Cynthia’s desk

·         when I went to the kitchenette to get a soda

·         as soon as I opened the door to my apartment

·         as I was making dinner

·         as I was clearing the dishes and putting away food after dinner

·         as I was watching television and saw an ice cream commercial

·         when I was leafing through a magazine and saw a recipe

·         after I had an upsetting conversation with my sister on the phone

·         when I went into the kitchen to look at the mail

·         when I was doing email


Emilia was amazed at how often she had a desire to eat, even when she clearly wasn’t hungry. This experience demonstrated to her how important it was to have a clear guideline: if she wanted to eat, she had to wait for the next meal or snack. Eating when she “felt” like it would definitely lead to weight gain, as it always had in the past. She felt regret over giving up spontaneous eating but recognized that if she wanted to achieve her goal of permanent weight loss, it was necessary.




1 reply
  1. Kate
    Kate says:

    Wouldn’t it also be a good idea to reflect, over time, about what the false hunger signals mean — or are concealing? As an example, I used to be very strict about working like a demon and not taking breaks, except that when I gave in to cravings or compulsive eating, I’d also read a novel or watch TV. Without ever putting it into words, I had made a “rule” that I could take a break as long as I was eating, but as soon as I was finished eating, I had to go back to work. The same thing was true of dealing with problems or stress — I had to stay focused on the problem except that if I ran to Friendly’s and got a couple of sundaes to eat in the car, I could take time out and listen to a book on tape or read. As a result of all that, I developed cravings for food that were really a signal that I needed a break from work or a mental time-out from thinking through a problem. I didn’t have much of a range of ways to entertain or comfort myself or to fight boredom — I routinely did it by eating. So instead of fighting cravings or urges to compulsive eating, I’ve started thinking about the needs they’re meant to address and giving myself permission to address them in some other way. I have, for instance, bought warming gloves intended to strengthen the effect of hand cream, and I’ll sit for twenty minutes watching TV while softening my skin, which tends to get dry and cracked. I would have spent at least that long eating, so it’s pointless to say that I don’t have time, and I feel pampered and elegant — not like someone who stuffs herself.


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