The past weeks, we explored
Phase I. The Preparation Phase.
- 1. Getting your kitchen and your life ready for change.
- 2. The cook and the helpers
- 3. Food and life
We are starting
Phase II. The Experiential Phase
- 4. Checking in: hunger, satiety, taste, pleasure, habits
- 5. Cooking and moving: Long and short meals. Exercising versus moving.
- 6. Eating with others. The gym and other places of fun or torture
Checking in: Experiencing hunger (Exploration)
Some of you may remember when you were a child and you went to play with your friends; all of a sudden it was dark, and you came running home, announcing; “I am so hungry, I can eat a horse!”
From experience, one big difference between thin and overweight people is that thin people can bear being hungry and can wait until they are home, or have finished preparing a meal before they eat. They don’t have to eat in the car even if they have to wait one or two before they can eat. Eating when hungry is a pleasure. Everything tastes better, the satisfaction is greater.
I had a client, Christina, so afraid of being hungry that she was eating as soon as she felt the first hint of hunger. As soon as she became aware of this fear, and recognized it as a feeling, not a precursor of a famine, she was able to eat less junk food between meals. She could wait until she took the time to prepare a decent meal.
Hunger is a natural mechanism, not to be avoided but to become aware of, so satiety can be recognized too.
Christina was not aware of her fear of going hungry until I suggested that she fast for a day. All spiritual traditions recognize the value of fasting as a practice with many benefits. It is a great way to break habits and to see how unaware we are of both our body sensations and our cravings. If we are usually eating at noon, let’s see what happens when we wait one o’clock or two. Is eating at noon a question of life or death? Probably not. If you are still eating a lot of sugar, you will probably go in hypoglycemia which is an indication that your body is not functioning right because of a high intake of sugar. If it is the case, it is even more necessary to cut off all sugars and carbohydrates for five days, to reset your body balance mechanisms and get rid of your cravings.
If fasting for a day seems too challenging, even during the week end, fast for half a day. Take a regular breakfast and abstain from eating until dinner.
There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less. If the sound box
is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean
with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you
run up the steps in front of you. Rumi
The inner war to lose weight
This mini fast is just a way to gain more awareness. It is not a suggestion to skip meals and starve yourself, if you want to lose weight. It would start a useless war against yourself. If your desire to be slim cannot be achieved –in your imagination- unless you refuse to satisfy your hunger and your taste for certain foods, you will lose the battle sooner or later. Your desire to satisfy your appetite will increase as you become hungrier, as well as your desire for the kind of foods you refuse yourself. What you call your “will power” which is in fact a denial of the natural tendency to eat when hungry and eat tasteful food does not increase. The forces on each side of this imaginary war become more and more unequal. Finally the “you” which identifies to this “will power” loses.
For this reason a great majority of people who lose weight through any kind of restrictive diet that denies them the satisfaction of their taste buds and hunger regain weight, as soon as they stop their diet.
With rare exceptions, thin people eat only when and if they are hungry…
Next week will be about taste and emotions related to food