A lot of us have problems with our weight because our eating strategy goes something like this:
See food → Eat
Or maybe it’s something like:
Feel uncomfortable in any way → Eat
Have you ever wondered how thin people decide when and what to eat? In my readings, I found exactly that. It was in a Neuro-Linguistic Programming book, Heart of the Mind: Engaging Your Inner Power to Change With Neuro-Linguistic Programming by Connirae Andreas and Steve Andreas. The author of this chapter of the book is naturally slim. She did not realize that fat people thought of food differently until she elicited the eating strategy of one of them in a seminar. She was surprised how simple it was (See food → Eat). Here’s the strategy she taught the person to use instead, which is her own:
The Naturally Slender Eating Strategy
- First, something makes me think of food. This might be seeing that it’s time for lunch, hearing someone mention lunch, feeling hunger, or seeing food.
- I check how my stomach feels now.
- I ask myself, “What would feel good in my stomach?
- I visualize a possible portion of a food: a sandwich, a bowl of soup, a dinner salad, etc.
- I imagine eating this food. I think of the taste of this food, and then feel the food slipping into my stomach, and get a feeling of how this amount of this food will feel in my stomach over time if I eat it now.
- If I like this feeling better than how I will feel if I eat no food at all, I keep this food item as one possibility. If not, I discard it.
- Next I visualize another food I might eat.
- I imagine tasting this second item, and feel how it feels as it goes into my stomach, and stays in my system for some hours to come.
- I notice how I like this feeling. Do I like it more than my best choice so far? I keep in mind the food item that makes me feel best, to compare my next choice.
- Now I repeat steps 7, 8, and 9 as often as I want to, always keeping in mind the kind of food that I imagine would make me feel the best over time if I eat it. I compare each new possibility to that.
- When I’m satisfied that I have considered enough options, I eat the food that I imagined would make me feel best over time, so that I’ll get to feel that good.
She says to a “naturally slim” person, this strategy would seem obvious. She says that she does sometimes eat fattening things, but usually in small portions. She says that what keeps her from eating fattening things more often is that, when she thinks about it, she knows that those things will make her feel physically worse over time. The object of the strategy is to feel good. She says that when she has taught this strategy to others, they eventually become slim themselves.
She uses a similar strategy to decide when to stop eating: will the next bite make me feel better or worse?
I think I will have a good chance of staying slim in the future because I have found myself using similar strategies more and more in the last couple of years. I still have my moments when taste wins out, though. Now that I have found this strategy, I plan to use it more consciously.