We are a nation
which puts a heavy premium on looks and
According to a survey of thirty-three thousand women, published in Glamour magazine, "Feeling Fat in a Thin Society," seventy-five percent of the women said that they felt too fat and ninety-six percent said that their weight affected how they felt about themselves.
For, half of the women in this survey, loss of weight would make them happier than would "success at work" or the "joy of a relationship,". Dieting and exercise are the two major mechanisms by which we try to attain that ever illusive happiness.
According to Geneen Roth, a nationally acclaimed expert in eating disorders and weight control, twenty million women have eating disorders. Twenty- five percent of all men and fifty percent of all women are constantly dieting.
Dieting has a good news and a bad news. The good news is, that in the short term, diets have good results. The bad news is that nine out of ten people who lose weight on a diet, gain it back within a year. Yet, there will be thirty thousand new diet plans in the coming year. Scientifically speaking, eating and weight control are much more complex issues than simple dieting can answer. Unfortunately, the overzealous approach to dieting and weight control can lead to "self starvation" and "bingeing and purging. "
We as a society have been vigorously looking at the two solutions, that is, of dieting and exercise as ways to feel fit, reclaim pride in our appearance, and feel good. Beside dieting and exercise, there is yet another approach, that is, to regulate the eating behavior itself. The premise of this approach is that how we eat, rather than how much we eat, may be the real problem.
If we can regulate the eating behavior, it will automatically regulate the amount of food intake. Let's now look at the eating behavior itself.
Over the years, we develop wrong eating habits such as, doing several things together when we eat. At meal times, we scan a newspaper, we listen to the radio or, watch TV or, have our mind on ten different things. Lots of times, as we are snacking, we are moving through the house, ironing clothes, cooking for the family, talking on the phone, etc. These movements and engagement of our mind on some thing else prevents us from getting the cues and signals from our stomach of "fullness."
Even if we register the signal of fullness, there is still a problem. Satiation of hunger does not come only from the feeling of "fullness' from the stomach, but also from "food cues" such as, aroma, shape, and texture of food. They satisfy other senses along with the sense of taste.
All these messages from various senses and the feeling of fullness of stomach coalesce and send a signal to the brain of satiation of appetite and a psychological satisfaction from eating.
If your brain is occupied with reading a newspaper, watching TV, talking with a friend, initiating complex body movements and activities, it is conceivable that your various senses and your brain are not doing a terrific job of sending and receiving all the food-related cues.
As a result, your mechanism of appetite satiation and
fulfillment of psychological hunger may be seriously
compromised. You can regulate your eating behavior by
following the "Eating Rules" : There are five
1. "Rule of sitting. " Always sit down when you eat (no standing, lying down, or moving around)
2. "Rule of one activity at a time. " When you eat, you only eat. Do not engage in a second activity at that time, no matter how simple or mechanical that activity is. "
3. Rule of Minding the eating. " When you eat, "put your mind where your mouth is" . Concentrate on the process of eating itself. Eat with full awareness by bringing your undivided attention to the process of eating. Follow the entire sequence of tasting, chewing, swallowing, and mentally follow it all the way as food descends into the stomach.
4. "Rule of one morsel." Do not take another morsel or piece of food in your mouth unless you have swallowed the one you are already chewing. Keep that spoon, fork, or straw down at the table until you have actually swallowed the morsel in your mouth.
5. "Rule of relaxation." Be relaxed while you eat, even joyful, if you can achieve it. If you detect tension in any part of the body including the inside of the abdomen, relax them.
These rules are designed to enhance our self control
over our own eating behavior and to restore our natural
feedback system. We all have a built-in system which
gives us feedback on how much we have eaten and how much
we should eat. Recover that capability given to you by
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