This is part four of a four part series on Inner Wisdom Eating (IWE)
The 4 steps of Inner Wisdom Eating (or eating like a thin person) are exactly the same as those promoted by Intuitive Eating.
- Eat when you’re hungry
- Eat what you want
- Eat consciously
- Stop when you are full
The difference lies in the approach and the detail. I will discuss each step in this four part series.
Stop When You’re Full
Knowing when to stop eating is possibly the most challenging part of this strategy and the one which will take the longest to master. I can’t say that I’m there yet myself. Without any great personal insight to share with you I have stolen adapted information from Breaking Free From Emotional Eating and I Can Make You Thin.
Be Very Sure That You Are Hungry Before You Start Eating
If you aren’t hungry, you will have no physical trigger, short of being stuffed, to tell you to stop eating because you had no physical trigger that told you to start. Of course, everyone eats when they aren’t hungry – even naturally slender people – so you need to be aware that in this instance you will need to actually decide when to stop and won’t be able to rely on a physical sensation.
When You THINK You’re Full/Satisfied, Stop Eating
When you’ve eaten enough, your stomach sends a signal – a sensation that says, “I’m satisfied, that’s enough”. Most people experience this gentle, clear, satisfied sensation in their solar plexus (the area below your ribcage but above your stomach). If you miss this warm feeling of satisfaction when if first occurs, you’ll notice that each subsequent bite of food becomes a little less enjoyable than the one before.
What Satisfies You Today Won’t Necessarily Be Enough Tomorrow
It is important to note that our body’s needs fluctuate daily so half a cup of oats today may satisfy you today but may not be enough tomorrow. So how can we know how much to eat? There are a couple of ways to approach it.
- Serve up more than you think you’ll eat and then leave what you don’t want (difficult if you are part of the Clean Plate Club)
- Eat your pre-determined portion you have but be aware that you may get hungry again sooner (or perhaps later) than you did on another day
- Have “modular” meals – have a small serve of oats, a slice of toast and an apple. If you can’t fit in the apple then don’t have it or if you are still hungry have 2 slices of toast.
Pay Close Attention to What Enough Feels Like
Each time you have finished eating rate yourself of the hunger scale of 0 ->10.
Pay attention to how you feel when you eat to a 7 compared to a 5. Notice that satisfaction is related to your moods so sometimes you will want to eat to a 7 in order to feel grounded and solid and at other times stopping at a 5 or 6 will mean you have chosen to be light and energised.
Try All the Options
When you’re in the middle of a meal and it tastes so good that you don’t want to stop, then don’t stop and eat all you want. How do you feel afterwards? Do you feel comfortable and at ease with your body?
When you’re in the middle of a meal and it tastes so good that you don’t want to stop, then pause. If you don’t know if you are satisfied then put down your knife and fork, pause for 5 minutes, have a drink of water and check in with your body before you continue eating. If you are still unsure, take a few more bites and notice how they taste (remember the enjoyment diminishes if you are full) and then pause and check in again.
When you’re in the middle of a meal and it tastes so good that you don’t want to stop, but you think you might be full, then just stop. There will always be another delicious meal, there will always be more wonderful food in the world than you could ever eat, and if you’ve stopped eating to0 early you know that you get to eat again as soon as your hunger drops back down to a 3 or a 2.
Every time you choose to stop when you could continue you are acting from a desire to take great care of yourself, you are acting consciously and you are breaking your ‘autopilot’ behaviour.
Leave Something on the Plate (for the angels!)
Even if it is just one small mouthful, leaving food on your plate signals that there is a new boss in charge. If you’re leaving a decent amount of food then you can ask for a doggie bag at a restaurant, wrap up the leftovers for another meal at home, or throw the food away (or give it to the cat/dog).
Once again you don’t have to change anything about when and what you eat, all you have to do is notice what you are feeling in your stomach and in your mouth during the meal. Rate your hunger level on the 1->10 scale at the end of the meal just for information purposes. (If you love analysing data then write it down and see if you can detect a pattern). Pay attention to your levels of comfort and ease in your body at different stages of fullness. And don’t forget to feed the angels …
Did You Know…
- “Finish your broccoli!” Although parents may have good intentions about forcing their kids to eat cold, mushy vegetables, this approach may backfire the very next day, according to new research from Cornell University. ~ Science Daily
- Prolonging a meal does not stop it from ending. Sooner or later you have to get up from the table and go on to the next thing. And your choice is whether you go on to the next thing feeling comfortable and satisfied or miserable and stuffed. ~ Geneen Roth
- The Okinawan cultural habit of calorie control called hara hachi bu, which means eat only until you are 80% full, plays a role as well as their habit of eating an antioxidant rich plant-based diet. Stopping at 80% capacity is actually a very good strategy to avoid obesity without going hungry because the stomach’s stretch receptors take about 20 minutes to tell the body that how full it really is and 20 minutes after stopping you will really feel full. ~ The Okinawa Diet