Weight Loss Support - What are we really hungry for? Exercise 47 & 48

03-17-2002, 10:28 AM
What are we really hungry for?
The Non-Diet Approach, March 17, 2002

Lose weight without dieting? HOW?!?!

By getting to the root of why you overeat in the first place! "Why Weight," written by Geneen Roth, is a non-diet book that contains exercises designed to help compulsive eaters learn how to stop using food as a substitute for handling difficult emotions or situations. You'll also learn how to enjoy eating and still lose weight naturally. This program offers reassuring guidelines on:

-- kicking the scale-watching habit forever
-- learning to say no
-- discovering other pleasures besides food
-- learning the difference between physical and emotional hunger
-- listening to and trusting your body's hunger and fullness signals

Each week at least one exercise will be posted and you are encouraged to share your answers, thoughts, etc..

Please share any insight, ideas, articles or other information that you may have.

Join us in Breaking Free from Compulsive Eating!

03-17-2002, 10:29 AM
Exercise 47: Food is Only Food

When we realize that we can have the foods we want, the need and desire to have them all the time disappear. If we can have them whenever we’re hungry for them, they lose their power and become ordinary.

Buy one food that you want and have not allowed yourself to eat.

After you finish eating it, answer the following questions:
1. Once I bought the food and ate it without guilt, did I still want it as much as I thought I had?

2. If I felt that I could eat this food as much as I wanted it – as much as I feel I can eat carrots or lettuce – would by desire for this food change?

We can only give ourselves permission not to eat when we give ourselves permission to eat. We can only tell the difference between foods that we want and foods that we think we want when we give ourselves permission to eat all foods.

Exercise 48: What do I really want?

The first step in eating what you want is deciding what you truly want.

To decide what you want to eat:

1. You must first be hungry. If you aren’t, then it will be your mind that is making decisions, not your body. And since it’s your body that you’re feeding, it’s important to listen to the cues it gives you.
2. Sit down for thirty seconds. See if you get an image of a particular food. Notice if you can taste or smell a particular food.
3. If you still don’t know what food you want, ask yourself these questions:
Do I want something – spicy, sweet, bland
Do I want something – hot, cold, at room temperature
Do I want something – crunchy, smooth

03-17-2002, 10:40 AM
Exercise 47
After you finish eating it, answer the following questions:
1. Once I bought the food and ate it without guilt, did I still want it as much as I thought I had?
I don’t need to go and do this because I have already done this exercise without knowing it was an exercise…haha Of the items I have done this with (chocolate/pizza/cookies) I have to say I felt I wasted my money and time. It wasn’t that good, at least not for the calories they contain and I have had chocolate in the house that has lain around and I haven’t been tempted to eat it. NOT a small miricle.

2. If I felt that I could eat this food as much as I wanted it – as much as I feel I can eat carrots or lettuce – would by desire for this food change?
I don’t know about this even though I just said it worked for some chocolate. My issue is to remember that the “comfort” foods I have gone to in the past aren’t all that comforting - before I purchase and consume them.

Exercise 48:

I have found when I do “think” about what I really would want to eat I pick “better” foods. Maybe these exercises are rubbing off on me!!

03-17-2002, 04:46 PM
Hmmm. LLB, I don't need to go and do Exercise 47 either because I've also done it an untold number of times. For me, it's kind of an iffy thing whether the food I decide to give myself permission to eat is as satisfying as I think it'll be. With chocolate, more and more, it is NOT! With vanilla slimfast (or the substitute of lowfat milk and flavored coffee creamer), it definetely IS! When I crave chips or fatty snacks, which doesn't happen that often, and give myself permission to go ahead and eat them, I always start feeling groggy and kind of ill and wonder why I wanted the gross things in the first place.

Re question #2: I do think there's a certain loss of desire OVER TIME for "forbidden" foods that one decides it is "legal" to eat and that one EATS AS MUCH AS ONE WANTS FOR AS LONG AS ONE WANTS. Over time, I can leave these lying around the house and not binge on them. Again, it depends on what it is. I can keep little crumbette donuts in the freezer forever, eating one every now and then, even though I used to eat a box at a time. At times, I've stockpiled my beloved vanilla slimfast cans without drinking them all in one night, but then I regressed on those and now I have to buy two at a time.

The weird thing is that as fast as I can lose a food craving, I can gain a new one. I can start to crave and binge on anything, from V8 juice to slimfast to Lindt's white chocolate truffles to bread with diet butter. There's very little rhyme or reason to the thing, except an underlying theme is that whatever it is somehow reminds me of vanilla.

Having shed absolutely no light on the issue of food cravings, I guess I'll go back to work. Have a great rest of the weekend, everyone!

03-18-2002, 03:14 PM
I'm with you, LLB. Whenever I've indulged in some 'forbidden' food it's never as good as the fantasy and I'm left with the feeling of 'why did I do that?' Disappointing.

I think the most telling thing about this exercise for me is realizing that I can't remember the last time I threw caution to the wind and wholeheartedly enjoyed a piece of birthday cake, or whatever. I know in my head it's only food, but I have such a fear of losing control and feeling that having one piece of birthday cake can turn into a binge. Kind of sad.

03-20-2002, 08:38 AM
A Gnostic axiom teaches "As is the inner, so is the outer."


03-21-2002, 08:38 AM
Crone I have been patiently waiting for your response to my quote....I love reading your well written thoughts.

03-21-2002, 08:59 AM
Hi All,

I'm actually trying to follow the Roth-approved non-diet approach: eating only when I'm hungry and sitting at the table to eat (at least when i'm alone -- those sneaked calories really add up). I did this before, and lost about 60 pounds that I've since regained in the last 12 years. But that was not through any fault of the plan, I just stopped following it, other than not weighing myself so that I could hide the truth - at least from me :rolleyes:
I really want to do this -- I'm so sick of the diet/binge cycle. I do believe that I can beat it. I am trying to eat healthily and not to eat more than I need.

#47 -- This depends on whether I was hungry or not. Although sometimes the first couple of bites of the forbidden food (chocolate!) are incredible even if I'm not hungry. Chocolate isn't something I tend to want when I'm hungry anyway, I usually want "real food" then. If I'm hungry, I really enjoy eating as much as I want of something, but I usually stop short of feeling full, because I know if I don't I will feel stuffed in 10 minutes. The only foods that I consider that I'm not allowed are those like french fries or potato chips (at least the normal kind) that are exceptionally unhealthy.

I have occasionally done something like have a couple of pieces of cake and ice cream for lunch, but I don't think I can (at least yet) do something like that and not feel bad about it.

#48 -- I'm pretty good at knowing what it is I want to eat, although I usually eat the same thing for breakfast every day and often have the same thing for lunch quite a few days running.

Comments on the quote:

Our behavior reflects our inner state? I buy that! So how do we heal the inner being so that our external lives are fulfilling? I believe that I need to work on my spiritual side, give my spirit space and time to play.

Thanks for posting this, LLB.


03-21-2002, 09:13 AM
Good thought - working on the the spritual. I loved the "give my spirit space and time to play".

Your thought is making me feel good. :) Thanks.

03-22-2002, 12:18 AM
"A Gnostic axiom teaches "As is the inner, so is the outer."

I wrote a long comment on the axiom you posted, LLB. When I tried to post it, though, I kept getting "connection failure occurred" and had to reboot my computer. So, I'll keep it short! :)

I agree that the "inner" is the "outer." Our spirit, mind, consciousness, emotions, hormones, etc., color our perceptions and reactions to objective reality (whatever that is).

But the axiom is also reversible: "As is the outer, so is the inner."

I believe it IS important to deal with our "inner" self and that if we are spiritually, emotionally, mentally healthy, it follows we could achieve physical health and a stable weight. But it's equally important IMO not to wait around for a sound "inner" state before taking practical, objective, methodical steps in the physical world to reach our healthy goals.

I think weight, for instance, is a complex issue involving the spirit, etc., in the long run, but in the short run, it's an issue of numbers ... how many units of food we ingest and how many units of energy we expend. Address this and IMO the spirit will follow.

With health, the mind, spirit, etc., will, in my opinion, function better and become healthier, too ... reversing the axiom again: "As is the inner, so is the outer."

I'm not sure it matters which side of the duality we tackle first.

Side note: There is a book called "The Ten Habits of Naturally Slim People: And How to Make Them Part of Your Life" by Jill H. Podjasek, M.S., R.N., with Jennifer Carney ... I bought it in Border's and it is somewhat similar to Roth's book. It has exercises, etc., that I find helpful.

03-22-2002, 08:51 AM
Have to get to work but thanks for your post I will reread tonight...I love it...

Please post anything you think is good for us to know from your new book.


03-22-2002, 09:00 AM
I'm out the door too! But I wanted to get in on this---I believe that it's all connected, mind, body, spirit--and if one strand of the web is weak, the entire web suffers. For me, my whole journey isn't completely body-oriented, my spirit has to be actively involved. And after so many years of concentrating on my spiritual self it was quite a revelation when I brought my body into the mix, and truly became my archtypal amazon!!!

03-22-2002, 12:17 PM
Drive-By Post: As in 'I should be off doing something productive."

"A Gnostic axiom teaches 'As is the inner, so is the outer.'" — LuckyLadyBug

"I do believe that I can beat it. I am trying to eat healthily and not to eat more than I need." — Babette

"... if one strand of the web is weak, the entire web suffers." — Eydie

[I]"... give my spirit space and time to play." — Babette

"I am a spirit inside a body, and I believe in the power of a mind-body connection to make me well." — 10 Habits of Naturally Slim People, Podjasek/Carney

Eydie: I am always inspired by the Amazon myth, too. Here's another book I keep around (it has nothing to do with weight) — "Warrior Women: An Archaeologist's Search for History's Hidden Heroines" by Jeannine Davis-Kimball, Ph.D. with Mona Behan. It's popular science, not particularly scholarly, but is full of stories about women of power, including some whose remains, according to the author, have often been deliberately or mistakenly identified as male by virtue of being buried with weapons or just gender bias.


03-23-2002, 12:07 AM
Crone So true…"As is the inner, so is the outer”
and ”As is the outer, so is the inner” but I think, for me, to a lessor degree. I do feel drawn/compelled to work on the inner more so than the outer…hence, not much weight loss.

I'm not sure it matters which side of the duality we tackle first. Once again I must agree with you.

I have to say any progress I have made in this weight loss journey has been because of this thread. Thank you for sharing it with me..

03-23-2002, 03:19 AM
This thread helps me, too, LLB! :)

Since I'm here, I had another thought about the inner and outer issue. I am really struggling at the moment with a lot of things that are bothering me. Can't sleep, read, write, etc., so you can guess what I'm thinking ... I should make a run to the convenience store for possibly donuts and vanilla slimfast and I would thusly feel better, sleep, life would go on, except I'd be just a little bit less healthy, a little less in control. I'm tamping it down somewhat by drinking little cans of V8 (low sodium), which often helps avert binges for me.

All this is a familiar situation for me, so it's no big deal. Just thinking: Is this an "inner" dilemma (by which I mean the mental demons that are making me crave comfort and satisfaction) or an "outer" dilemma (by which I mean my physical, objective need for some unidentified nutrient)? I don't know and I've never known, but I find it impossible to separate the purely physical from the purely mental.

And when you consider the biochemical basis of many illnesses that used to be labelled "mental illness" ...

03-23-2002, 10:08 AM
Crone In the situation you described and if it was me - I would take it as an inner dilemma. If I was JUST hungry (outer dilemma) I could find something to eat in the kitchen. But then again, (you always do this to me) if my body was in need of some nutrient that I didn't have in the kitchen I guess I would be in the car driving to town. :dizzy:

03-23-2002, 10:31 PM
Excellent point, LLB! Happily, writing about desire to binge, plus three cans of V-8 brought back control. The demons are still here, though! :s:

Hopping to the next thread.