How to Stop Eating When You’re Full
One of the most interesting things I’ve learned about overeating is how, for people who LOVE food, we sure do make a habit of checking out before we eat it.
It’s like we feel so guilty before we even take the first bite, we don’t even give ourselves the gift of being present, tasting it, letting it nurture and nourish us, enjoying every last bite. (Thanks to Geneen Roth for pointing this out)
And it turns out there are THREE very good scientific reasons to do so:
First is something called “Taste Anesthesia”: Our taste systems are set up to gradually desensitize themselves to delicious tastes with repeated exposure. In plain English, the first bite always tastes best. Think of the explosive flavor when you haven’t eaten something in a long time. But then, with each passing bite, it tastes a little less delicious, until, you kind of wonder why you craved it so strongly in the first place…
IF you’re present and paying attention, you’ll naturally notice this gradual decrease in pleasure, and you’ll just stop eating when it’s time. But if you “check out” and just put the food in your mouth ’cause you feel like you shouldn’t be eating it, well, then, it has the opposite effect.
In other words, we might all THINK feeling guilty about our food “indulgences” is what’ll help us stop. But in reality, it’s exactly the opposite!
The second reason to be 100% present when you eat delicious food is because you won’t absorb the same amount of nutrition if you’re not. Seriously, there’s been scientific research which shows people who eat when they’re distracted, stressed, or otherwise unhappy don’t show the same level of increased vitamins and minerals in their system after a meal as those who do. And if you don’t get the nutrition from the food you do eat, you’re gonna want more.
The last reason to drop the guilt, eat with 100% presence, and thoroughly enjoy your food is for your mental health. Food is life. It sustains us. It nurtures us. And WHEN YOU ENJOY YOUR FOOD YOU TELL YOURSELF YOU DESERVE TO LIVE.
When you feel guilty, chastise yourself, or otherwise check out because you don’t have time to be present, you’re going to ADD to your stress level, not decrease it. Because telling yourself you don’t deserve to eat is like telling yourself you don’t deserve life. YOU DO!
I know it sounds crazy, but I hope you’re starting to see that the solution to overeating, binges, and yo-yo dieting is to EAT YOUR WAY OUT OF YOUR EATING PROBLEM (a phrase I learned from Carol Munter). The first step is dropping the guilt, allowing yourself to be 100% present, and enjoying every last bite with gusto without distraction.
If you’ll do that, I know you’ll find it’s almost impossible NOT to stop when you’re full.
Your taste buds will tell you. Your body will tell you. Your soul will tell you.
All my best, Sharon
Sharon Livingston, Ph.D.
PS – Have you seen the Emotional Eating Power Pack yet?