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How to Make Better Eating Decisions

  • Eating
How-to-Make-Better-Eating-Decisions

Becoming a more intuitive eater is neither magic nor mystery. When I think about how I learned to become one, I can break down some of the steps and practices I continue to use (though more instinctively and unconsciously now). Here they are:

  1. Tune out everyone but yourself. It doesn’t matter that Uncle Jerry cooked your favorite dessert if you’re full or not in the mood for it. It doesn’t matter if your friends all order fries and you want a baked potato or if they all decide upon salads and you want lasagna. When you’re at a restaurant, stop asking people what they’re planning to order. Why do you even do that: curiosity, for ideas about choices or because you want to eat something similar to them? Pretty much everything you need to know about ordering is on the menu or through asking waitstaff.
  2. Tune into yourself. Ask yourself how hungry you are. Or how full. Maybe you came from a late work meeting where food was served and though it’s dinner time, you’re not very hungry. Sit quietly and ask yourself what you’re in the mood for: something light or heavy, bland or spicy, chewy or something that will go down easy. Consider what foods you’ve consumed during the day and what you might be eating later.Don’t feel pressured to order quickly. Take your time.
  3. Remain mindful. Make a point of staying connected to your appetite while you’re eating. The two biggest problems I see in dysregulated eating are disconnection from appetite and recognizing but over-riding it. Taste your food as if it were your last meal. Maybe it’ll be more delicious than you expected and you’ll savor every mouthful. Or maybe it won’t be as tasty as you’d hoped and you’ll be less interested in it than you thought you’d be. 
  4. It’s okay to be full or satisfied. If you don’t know the difference, read my blog on what each means. Most dysregulated eaters fight the feeling of no longer being hungry or that food flavor has peaked. They view these internal states as downers. Really? These signals are saying that your appetite system is regulating itself very nicely, thank you. Recognizing that you’re full or satisfied is a positive, not a negative thing. It means the meal’s done and it’s time to move on.

When you read the above points, pay attention to how you feel. Are you anxious about focusing on yourself and not checking out what other people are eating? Do you have difficulty connecting or staying connected to your appetite? Do you feel unhappy when you’re full or satisfied because it means it’s time to stop eating? Practice the above behaviors and you’ll have a far better chance at becoming a “normal” eater.

Best,

Karen