Rules of Eating Work Better than Dieting
  By Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

 For long-term overall health and weight control, the course book of "Living 201" says, "follow the rules of eating.  Don't bother to diet."   Actually, if you follow these rules, you won't need to diet at all.        
 Over the years, we develop wrong eating habits such as, doing several things together when we eat.  For example, at meal times, we scan a newspaper, listen to the radio, watch TV, and have our mind on ten other things.  A lot of times, as we snack, we move through the house, ironing clothes, cooking for the fame, and talking on the phone.  These movements and activities engage our mind and prevent us from getting the cues and signals from our stomach of "fullness."  As a result, we don't stop eating when we should.
 Beside the sensation of fullness from the stomach, satiation of hunger comes from "food cues" such as aroma, shape, and texture of food.  Food cues satisfy other senses along with the sense of taste.  When these messages from various senses, combined with the feeling of fullness of stomach, reach our brain, appetite is suppressed and we get emotional satisfaction from eating.
 When mind is occupied with activities that are unrelated to eating, satiation of appetite and fulfillment of psychological hunger is seriously compromised.  When you follow the "eating rules," food-related sensations and cues can be properly transmitted and received by your brain for appetite suppression and psychological satisfaction.  
 There are five eating rules:
"Rule of sitting."  Always sit down when you eat (no standing, lying down, or moving around)
"Rule of one activity at a time."  When you eat, only eat.  Do not engage in a second activity, no matter how simple or mechanical it may be.
"Rule of mindfulness."  Mind your eating, that is, 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.
"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.
"Rule of relaxation."  Be relaxed while you eat, even joyful, if possible.  If you detect tension in any part of the body including the inside of the abdomen, relax them.
 File:  "Eating" 4/30/98  index:  food, dieting, weight control 


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