Things I say to myself about food and eating, especially when things are about to get out of hand
1. Food is not important.
Really — it’s not (unless you’re in the food business, of course, or you’re malnourished). Food is (can be) nutritious, it can be fun, enjoyable, tasty, delicious, or interesting – but it is not important.
2. Food does not mean anything.
Cookies do not call to me. Ice cream is not my Waterloo. I decide what I’m going to eat, or not – the food does not make me eat it. The food is free? Well I am free also – to pass on it if I decide to.
3. I eat food that is delicious.
The point is to enjoy, to relish what you eat. Bulk, quantity, you don’t need – that is not enjoyable. If it’s really good, you don’t need all that much. Delicious food – eat it slowly, in small bites, savoring each one. That’s how to really enjoy eating.
4. I don’t need that much food.
You don’t, really. Stop thinking of yourself as a big eater (unless you’re trying to put on weight. Even then, what you eat is more important than how much you eat). You’ll use fewer resources, too.
5. I stop when I’ve had enough.
Enough is enough. Any more is too much, making you feel stuffed, bloated. Too much screws up your digestion. Though she loved you, in this one thing your mother was mistaken: you don’t have to clean your plate.
6. Enjoyment is in the mouth, not the stomach.
Yes, you need a certain amount to nourish you body, to not be hungry. But the enjoyment of food is in the flavors and their interplay, the textures, the scents, and (for some) the appearance. Your tongue is a marvelous organ. Filling your stomach is merely quantity, not particularly interesting or hard to do.
7. I eat s – l – o – w – l – y, one bite at a time.
Put your fork down after every bite. Chew that bite; savor it. Not worth savoring? – you should be eating something better (see point 3).
8. In a restaurant, I order small (but good!).
Don’t think, “Is this going to be enough?” You can always order more if you need to. Entrees tend to be huge portions. Order a couple appetizers, or an appetizer and a salad. Split an entrée with someone else. Or box up half of it (when it comes) and eat the rest.
9. I don’t let myself get hungry.
Eat small, healthy snacks and small to moderate meals. Eat a balance of protein, fat, carbs, and fiber. This keeps your blood-sugar, and your energy, from spiking and crashing.
10. I don’t waste my calories (or carbs).
If you’re going to eat calories, eat something you love. For me, that’s chocolate. I’m not going to eat something like fries, because then – no chocolate. (I don’t eat a lot of chocolate, btw, but I do have some from time to time, mainly when I’m on the low side of my target weight.)
Also see http://www.hypnosissilverspring.com/articles/selfcalibration.html, http://www.hypnosissilverspring.com/articles/restaurantsdonshottips.html, and http://www.hypnosissilverspring.com/articles/cortisolconnectiondiet.html.