Now that we have established your foundation (How do I get started losing weight?)*, the next most important thing can be best explained by the metaphor of a STOP sign.
I think it is fair to say that many of us drive, and encounter our share of “STOP” signs on a regular basis. By now, most of us have learned that when you see a STOP sign, more often than not, you need to STOP. Or at least pause. Why? We may want to protect our safety, the safety of others, and/or prevent getting a ticket. We have learned that this is not optional. Not based on how we feel. No matter how fast we are going, or what else we are in a hurry to go and do – when we see that STOP sign, we hit the brakes on our car.
Similarly, our body sends up its own version of a STOP sign when we are eating. In her treatment, Appetite Awareness Training, Psychologist Linda Craighead reemphasizes the importance of learning to recognize and abide by your body’s signal for fullness.
Unfortunately, in this culture, most of us have learned to ignore fullness. We may not even know what it feels like anymore. Our bodies may have even stopped trying to tell us. All we know is the difference between “I’m starving” and “I’m stuffed.” And when you feel like you are “stuffed” – you’ve gone too far.
When you start to feel like you are moderately “full” this is the body’s version of a STOP sign. That means – no more food. Your body no longer needs it. Your work is to start treating the voice of your body with the same honor you have learned to give the road signs for your car. We must stop telling ourselves that this is “no big deal.” That is not true. And I’m sure you have experienced or know someone who has experienced the consequences of long-term consequences of eating too much (e.g. , weight gain, diabetes, heart disease).
So, what’s my next step?
Stop ignoring fullness. Begin to take the time to listen to determine when you are moderately full, and practice the habit of not allowing one morsel of food to cross into your mouth when your body has said STOP.
Will this be difficult?
Yes—at first. We have grown quite accustomed to making our eating decision based on what we “want.” But, as with any habit, once you keep doing it, and you start to see positive results, you will notice wonderful changes. And remember – you can always go back for more! In most cases, the food will be there in a couple of hours or the next day.
From my own personal experience, once I began to do this regularly, I found it much easier to be “in control” rather having the food control me. I would pray that God would help me learn how to “stop” when I had enough. I really didn’t want to at first. I failed often, and got discouraged. But, God gave me strength to keep going – one meal at a time. Once I had my control back, I was surprised how easy it was to begin to make better changes to my health. In my opinion, this is one of the most important things I learned to control my weight.
Give it a try. Let me know how it goes. I’ll be praying for you.