Weight Loss Support - What are we really hungry for? Exercise 53 & 54

03-31-2002, 12:12 PM
The Non-Diet Approach, March 31, 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!

03-31-2002, 12:14 PM
Exercise 53 & 54

Exercise 53: Judgments
Lots of people are afraid that if they let others see what they eat, they’d get reactions like, “But what about that diet?” or “Didn’t you say you wanted to lose weight? How can you be eating creme puffs?”
It’s important for you to remember that most people who struggle with food and their weight believe that they must diet to lose weight. When they see you eating exactly what you want, they are likely to feel confused, angry, envious, self-righteous. After all, if it’s possible to reach a desirable weight without dieting, why are they suffering so on their diets? Judgments have much more to do with the person who is making them than the person to whom they refer.
A corollary of this is that we often feel that people are judging us when in truth we are judging ourselves. If we feel uncomfortable or ashamed of eating in front of other people, we’ll place that discomfort outside ourselves and believe that someone else thinks we’re doing something wrong.
What are the horrible things you say to yourself when you eat exactly what you want to eat?

What are the worst things people could say if they saw you eating what you want to eat?
Now, think about replies you could make.
Example: I know you think I shouldn’t be eating this, but I’m on a new program. I’d like your support.
How do you feel about eating what you want? I suspect that your judgments about me have to do with your judgments about yourself. Would you like to talk about it?

Exercise 54: Making the Commitment

When I first started to eat what I wanted, I made a commitment to myself that I would not sneak food. This was a difficult commitment to make – and keep – because most of the eating I did was sneak-eating. I was ashamed of myself; I was ashamed of what I looked like, what I ate, what I felt. Sneaking, I knew from experience, was humiliating. But I knew that the only way to begin feeling better about myself was to practice treating myself with dignity and respect. To stop sneaking, you must make a commitment to yourself that you will stop – and then keep that commitment. Two times this week, decide that you wil not sneak at a time when you would ordinarily have done so. Answer the following questions:

1. Was not sneaking harder than I thought it would be?
2. During the experience, I felt
3. Next week, I can make a commitment not to sneak ___# times.

I find it helpful to distinguish between commitment and discipline. The message I give myself when I feel that I ought to be disciplined is that I am unorganized, lazy and wild. Because that message isn’t a kind one, I react against it. I dislike being told that I can’t be regulated, that I can’t be trusted to accomplish what is important to me. I rebel – and do exactly what I’ve Told myself I must not do.
The message I give myself when I make a commitment to something or someone is that I am aware of wanting to act in a certain way or reach a particular goal; I am in touch with my power and ability to act on that power. The feeling-tone of the word commitment is one of self-respect; it communicates the belief that my actions will reflect my values and desires and that I believe in myself.
Discipline and diets lead to binges.
Commitment and self-trust lead to change.

03-31-2002, 10:21 PM
Yo! The first part of this discussion really resonates with me, e.g.: "Is that on your diet? I thought you were on a diet? How can you eat that stuff and expect to lose weight?"

I agree with Roth that this type of comment generally reflects the envy, confusion, anger and/or self-righteousness of the commenter ... especially the self-righteousness, a common human state of mind. I believe to an extent that I've reached a point where I don't suffer too much from the "corollary" of judging myself and thinking others are judging me ... although I notice that I never want to post my menus on these kinds of forums because I really have terrible nutritional habits. So I can't honestly say that I say horrible things to myself other than echoing my mother's immortal words: "You don't eat right. That's what's wrong."

Funny, I have a close friend/mentor who is midway through her 80th decade and who constantly says: "You don't eat right. That's what's wrong."

History repeateth.

I previously mentioned my brother who comments a lot about what I eat. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that eating in its various forms contributed to our younger brother's problems and ultimately death.

The above, I guess, constitutes the long answer to the first two parts of Exercise 53. Now for the replies: I usually don't. My friends and relatives say what they say out of love, even though they don't usually know what they are talking about. I just let it go; it doesn't matter to me. Very occasionally I tell people to worry about their own eating and leave mine alone; I only do this if it's someone who isn't one of the people mentioned above and if they're really bugging me!

Sometimes that's a slimfast kind of thing: As you probably have noticed, I'm obsessed with vanilla canned slimfast, even though I'm giving it up. But I can't tell you how many times people I barely know feel called upon to comment on the health value or lack thereof of this product. This was worse when I worked full-time in a newsroom. Now that I mostly work at home, only Old Dog bugs me about slimfast ... she recognizes the cans and wants a taste.


Exercise 54 kind of applies to the bullemic me that was in the past, where hopefully, she'll stay. I don't sneak food now, although I could be more open about letting the world know exactly what dumb things I often eat. I'm getting a lot better about that (eating dumb things, as well as being open).

I love the response about suspecting the commenter's judgments have more to do with them than me.