In the last lesson, we were squashing cravings like they were flies. In this one, we will turn a compassionate ear to our cravings.
This lesson is about training ourselves to detach from the scarcity mentality that food provokes.
We will also learn to identify false hunger triggers that lead to overeating.
Part I: Releasing the feelings of scarcity around food
Even when we are eating healthy things, we often over-estimate the amount of food we need for adequate nourishment. We need to eat less / burn more in order to lose weight.
Since the body cannot suddenly get used to eating less, it will create hunger pangs. As you start to lose weight, you start needing less and less food to keep your body nourished. That is when your feelings of famine and scarcity arise only to make you eat more than necessary. And the weight starts rising again.
Our goal with this exercise is to learn to think like a thin person. To a degree, every thin person limits the amount of food they intake.
To-do See which of these points you believe strongly. If your belief on a level of 0 (feels false) to 10 (feels true) is over 4 for any of these issues, you will benefit from clearing it out using EFT. Beside each belief is a positive reframe that you can use as an affirmation at the end of your tapping.
For each belief that rings true for you, tap on your Karate Chop and EFT points while running it in your mind. You will notice related thoughts come up and get neutralized as you continue to tap. Then introduce the positive reframe given beside each belief and tap some on that.
- I would have to starve myself to be thin. (I am capable of maintaining my ideal weight while still receiving all the nourishment my body needs.)
- I can’t tell when my hunger has been satisfied. I can’t tell when I should stop eating. (I’m now open to a new possibility. I am open to listening clearly to what my stomach is saying.)
- My body will start feeding on itself if I don’t eat. (I am smart enough to feed my body enough nutrition to keep it healthy and strong.)
- I cannot tolerate hunger. I have to eat. (I know that I can survive perfectly well without food for good stretches of time. Food is always within my reach. I can eat it whenever I want. Experiencing hunger feels like an adventure.)
- I have a big stomach, I don’t feel full eating like a bird. (I choose to focus on how much food I need as opposed to how much food I think I need.
- I get irritable when I don’t eat / I get a headache if I don’t eat for too long / My blood sugar drops if I don’t eat. (I choose to feel calm and confident knowing that even if I do reach the tipping point, I will still survive. I have survived in the past.)
- I get bored during my day and reach for something to eat. (I choose to be open to surprising new ways to brighten up a dull afternoon.)
- The stresses of my day get to me. I get overwhelmed by news that this too bad or too good for me to handle. So I turn to food. I eat till that feeling is no longer there. (I am strong enough to feel my way through a feeling instead of eat my way through it.)
- I eat to reward myself – I deserve little treats every now and then. (I have rewarded myself with food for too long, I am now open to finding new, exciting ways of rewarding myself.)
- I fear that I am not feeding myself enough. So I overeat just to be on the safe side. (I choose to feel safe and grateful that I always have enough to eat.)
Part II: Identifying your false triggers for hunger
In this exercise, you will learn to identify your specific triggers that create an illusion of hunger.
- Seeing that it is 11:00 am, you start to feel like it is a good time to eating something.
- The sight of McDonalds’ Yellow M makes your mouth water, makes you think you should eat.
- You are alone at home, why not eat something?
- They are showing a cooking show on T.V. and you feel like eating something yourself.
- Identify and add more of your triggers here _______
You get the idea. These are all false alarms that mislead you into thinking that you are hungry. You should not be eating because of any of these reasons. The only reason to eat is when you are hungry.
You may be thinking this is all fine, but how do I bring it into action? Here’s the plan. It will take a bit of work, but it will be worth it.
To-do Make a schedule of your eating times. First start with say 8 designated meal times – so you get to eat almost every hour of your waking time. If you start to feel hungry in between meal times, you are probably not hungry but only craving something to eat. Tap on the EFT points as you start to feel those hunger pangs. You can tap with greater confidence knowing that no matter what, you will still be eating at your next meal time. It is only in between your designated meal times that you will not eat.
3 days later, reduce the number of meal times to say 6. Then bring it down to 5 or 4 meals per day. This is to train yourself to feel okay even if you have not eaten for a while.
Do the same for quantity. At any meal, if you feel like you’ve eaten enough, leave the plate even if you don’t feel full yet. Tap on the feeling that you need to eat the rest of the food. Assure yourself that you can eat the leftovers at your next meal time, not now.
Now how should you choose what to eat? To a degree we all know what is healthy and what is unhealthy. When in doubt, go with your gut (no pun intended). If you need help, a visit to a nutritionist can sort things out for you. It is worth remembering that no matter what your nutritionist charts out, unless you develop nerves of steel (Tapping will help you with that), you are likely to fall off the wagon.
When you can answer this question honestly, go ahead and grab a bite – “What am I looking for in the food? What if what I’m looking for isn’t in the food?”. It will take practice but you will become better and better at it, believe me.
To-do Lastly, the most important to-do of it all – cut yourself some slack in all the others areas of your life. Reward yourself lavishly with things other than food. Do whatever it takes to make you feel pampered and cared for.
Bollywood tip: Did you know spicy food makes you want to eat less?