As you begin your journey along the road to non diet weight loss, you can expect to experience many changes. One of my Losing Weight Without Dieting graduates, Linda, says, “many of the foods that you thought you loved, you won’t even like anymore. In fact, you’ll hate them.” Boy is she right!
The following is just a bird’s eye view into my experience of how this process of Intuitive Eating has changed my own eating habits. You’ll notice that the changes are gradual. This is not a get thin quick scheme. This is a way of reteaching your body how to eat to nourish itself. The changes are all internalized and come from body awareness, not anyone telling you what to do. You just begin doing it because it makes you feel good and overeating makes you feel rotten.
I began in August of 2006 – Among the first changes that I noticed were a sensitivity to the taste of salt. Many foods that I once loved no longer appeal to me after I gave myself permission to eat them. They tasted too salty. These include most fast food restaurants, like Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and one of my former favorite craves…
Buttered Popcorn – Mid August – Movie buttered popcorn with extra butter. I remember a time when I first began eating exactly what I wanted. I was at the movies and purchased a double butter popcorn. Preparing to sit down, I plucked a dripping golden soggy kernel of popcorn from the top of the glazed fat laden mountain, I tasted it and it sickened me. I haven’t ordered my own buttered popcorn since. I’ve tasted it from others but most of the time I won’t eat more than a few kernels, looking for the perfect ones.
I’ve gone through a number of phases with my eating. They include the following:
- avocado and tomato sandwiches on whole grain bread with light mayonnaise.
- Cheetos, fried and baked
- Red meats
- Chocolates of all kinds
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- Ice cream
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- home made cookies
- Milk Duds
- Jelly Beans
- Dove Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds
- August/September – During the first couple of weeks, whenever I went out to eat, I would order a rare cheeseburger and an order of fries. At first, I would eat it all and feel overstuffed. After about 3 weeks of doing that, I noticed that the fries were often too soggy and the meat was undercooked. I was desperate to order a piece of grilled chicken.
- August/September – Early on, I began carrying a chocolate bar in my pocketbook and whenever I wanted a bit of it, I would break off some and eat it. The novelty of that soon wore off and I noticed that the chocolate had been in my bag for about a month untouched. I tasted it and noticed it tasted stale and threw it away, haven’t replaced it since.
- HersheyPark – September – The next big change came when my family went to the chocolate capital of the USA. I was shocked to realize that the chocolate there tasted too sweet and after a small taste, I chose not to eat it. All the old turn ons that used to work for me, failed to excite me. The visual of the chocolate irritated me, the scent bugged me and I had absolutely no craving for it. It was as exciting to me as cardboard. Later in the day, I had purchased a large freshly baked chocolate chip cookie and savored bits of it as we rode home.
- September – I used to love to eat the skin and the fat on everything. One day soon after I began this process, I grilled a salmon steak just the way that I liked it. As I took my first bite of the perfectly grilled fish with its crispy skin, I nearly gagged on the flavor of the fat. The taste of the fat was so detestable that I spit it into a napkin and haven’t touched it since.
- October – This was when I began to bring fattening foods into the house and to shop for what I truly wanted, no fillers, no fat free foods, only foods that I really loved were good enough for my shopping cart. One of the first really scary foods that I experimented with was ice cream. Whenever I used to be on a diet, I would lust after ice cream. In the past, I felt that I had no control around it. In my dieting days, when I was being “good,” I always settled for a lighter substitute but I always craved the rich creamy goodness of real ice cream. One of my most dangerous binge foods was always Ben and Jerry’s Mint Oreo Cookie Ice Cream. I remember a time when I would just shovel it in and think nothing of it.
- Halloween – didn’t touch a piece of candy until about two weeks after Halloween. Then one day at lunch, instead of eating a regular lunch, I decided that I wanted candy. I poured my daughter’s entire bag of candy onto the kitchen table. I decided what I wanted, put it on a plate, closed my eyes, inhaled the scent of each piece and decided if I wanted to eat it. After doing that, I ate one Reeses’ PB cup, one caramel, 1/2 bar of a Kit Kat and about 9 Dove chocolate covered almonds. That was at about 1:00. I didn’t eat dinner that night until 9:30. All that I wanted that night was about a cup of rice, fresh cooked string beans sauteed in olive oil and garlic and a salad with croutons and Caesar dressing.
- October/November – I began to enjoy real dressing with my salad. One of my phases was to slather Caesar dressing on my salads. My husband Angel is a fantastic cook and he prepares amazing Spanish meals. One of my favorite things that he makes is called tostones, or fried plantains. I used to eat 8-10 of them , now I may eat 2. They’re still just as good but I don’t enjoy the taste of the grease the way that I used to. He also makes killer rice and beans and chicken wings to die for. I usually just eat the rice and beans and leave the meat I like to eat a bit more lightly now. I also enjoy a salad with avocado in it.
- October/November – After picking fresh apples from a local orchard, my daughter and I decided to do some baking. My mother had just written a cookbook that included all the old family favorites and I wanted to try my great grandfather’s recipe for apple pie. In perfecting his apple pie recipe, I baked it several times over the course of 2 months. Because it tasted too sweet, the first time I only took one bite and not a bit more. The second time I tried it with a different crust with oatmeal in the mix and found it too hard. Tasted a bite, thought it was terrible and ended up throwing it away. The third time I baked it. It was perfect with only 1/3 cup of sugar. I enjoyed a couple of slices over the next week, one at breakfast time with a dollop of strawberry ice cream and one after a small lunch.
- December 2006 – Chistmas holidays with the family – I discovered that I can be surrounded by food and not want to binge on it. I pulled out all the stops for the holidays and prepared a ton of favorites that were formerly big temptations for me. In the past, I avoided preparing those foods since I felt that I had no control. I tested myself over the holidays and prepared a Prime Rib, Baked Ham with Pineapple and Brown Sugar Glaze, baked macaroni and cheese, creamed spinach, fresh cookies, and tons of sweet loaves and muffins that I gave to friends as Christmas gifts.
As with everything that I do, I went full out in learning this process. To test the effectiveness of it for both myself and my clients, I decided to keep it as pristine as possible, so I discontinued any workouts and did not use my Craving Zapping tools or any other energy coaching strategies to deal with any cravings or wayward emotions. I just ate my way through the first few months, running wild. That caused me to gain about 10 pounds during this process. I ate everything I wanted all the time with no regard to paying attention to how hungry I was. I thought that every impulse that my body had, indicated hunger so I ate. Even if the space between meals was 1 hour.
Many people who recover from eating addictions, use this process without any added tools like energy coaching or NLP. It takes time and often they gain weight but it is a temporary gain. Eventually the body resets itself to begin the process of losing weight naturally.
When I began to prepare to do my first Losing Weight Without Dieting Program, I wanted to test out many of my energy coaching tools to question my phantom hungers and to teach the women how they could use them to do the same.
On a personal note, I would have to say that I wouldn’t have traded that initial period when I went crazy for anything in the world. To me, it was invauable and it taught me that I have ultimate control, no one else.
Today I give my clients a choice and tell them that they can do what I did and risk gaining weight in the first few monts or begin to question their hunger from the start and have different results. I’ve taught that process to several other women in my Losing Weight Without Dieting Program and they have been able to lose weight at the onset, unlike me. By integrating the energy coachng tools, you will disconnect the emotions that drive you to overeat and balance your body more quickly. I’m glad that I did not use that crutch in the beginning. I decided that I wanted this experience to teach me that I could live with food for a lifetime, not just look at non dieting as just another diet. It’s not. I’ve also found that touching base and getting to the root of emotional issues is paramount to addressing the feelings of guilt and hunger. I no longer feel any sense of deprivation around food.
Here we are a new year and a new outlook later. Each day brings a new revelation for me. I have discarded my bathroom scale and stopped judging myself. Since the weight gain of a couple of months ago, I’ve noticed that my body is slowly beginning to reshape itself back to the way that it used to be, my waist is beginning to nip in a bit more and my thighs are getting a bit smaller. It’s a slow process and I refuse to push it.
I’ve learned from every time that I’ve eaten more than I wanted. As I learn new things, I share them with my clients. I’ve finally decided that I’m in no rush to lose these extra 25 pounds. I’m loving my ability to listen to my body and to honor my hunger. I feel as free as a bird being able to order foods that I’ve always wanted and choose what appeals to me and leave the rest or take it for later. Food no longer holds a spell over me. I’ve begun cooking and baking again. I’ve prepared all my favorites and the idea of tasting the food is not even a temptation anymore.
Personally, now I like to wait until I get really hungry before any meal. I’ve chosen to miss many meals because I have not felt hungry. That in and of itself is a coup. The old Andrea, would never have missed a meal. Never!
I’ve joined a wonderful support forum called Diet Survivors. From that message board, I met many wonderful people who have used this process much longer than I have. I recently met the moderator of the board, Linda Moran. I thanked her for offering this amazing service and offered my support as a co-moderator. She accepted my offer and today I am one of the moderators of this truly excellent non diet resource board.
Once in awhile, I still struggle a bit with quantity and seek to balance some meals and eat less during dinner. I have also begun eating smaller meals because I enjoy having a piece of Milton’s Whole Grain toast or 1/2 a Thomas’ Raisin English muffin in the evening with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spread and strawberry jam or pecan apple butter. I love to have that with a cup of peppermint tea in the evening. Gone are the snack attack crazed binges of ice cream and all the other fat laden foods. I prefer to eat some of those food in moderation during the day if I eat them at all.
On the whole, I don’t think about food anymore when I’m not hungry and now when I get really upset, I realize that what I really need is to take a nap. That often works like magic and functions as my reset switch, while at the same time revitalizing my body and calming my nerves more than any binge ever did.
In retrospect, I realize that I don’t eat half of what I used to and now I use olive oil liberally and eat more of the good fats and salads, vegetables and legumes all the time, which keeps me satisfied for many hours. I still like a piece of steak or a burger once in a while, but I prefer to have chicken, lobster, shrimp, scallops or go meatless. I’ve found true freedom in this way of eating. Now this is something that I can do for a lifetime with no problem. Goodbye diets! How about you?
If you’d like to find out more about Losing Weight Without Dieting, my new 6 week program combining Intuitive Eating with energy coaching, then visit my website or join my free Juicy Woman Fabulous, Fit and Free Call. Remember you’re not alone anymore!!!