One of best in her industry, Lisa Turner has been sharing her Inspired Eating concept to thousands and has worked with many companies to formulate foods that satisfy hunger and feed the body on the cellular level. Her path to that type of eating has been tumultuous at times. But what she has developed and has taught her clients for the past twenty years has been a turning point for many. Read about Lisa and her path to success here.
Today, Lisa will share some gems of her philosophy she uses in Inspired Eating.
As obsessed as we are with food and diets, you’d think we’d be thin, healthy and generally delighted with our bodies. So why are you still struggling with body image, and battling the same 10 or 15 pounds?
The fact is, diets won’t work if you’re ignoring the mental and emotional side of eating. Why do you overeat, or eat the wrong things? Most of the time, when you’re craving cookies, you’re really hungry for love, sex, friendship, peace, a sense of purpose and meaning. And when you’re gripped by that kind of hunger, all the tips and tricks in the world won’t save you.
When cravings are making you crazy, try something different: instead of focusing on the food, resolve to address the emotions that make you stray. Here’s how to start:
1. Feel your hunger.
After a lifetime of denying hunger, it’s hard to tell when you really need food. But we’re all born with the capability to eat when we’re hungry and stop when we’re full. As children, we eat in response to our bodies’ hunger signals. As adults, we eat in response to the clock, the latest magazine article or our uncomfortable feelings.
Get back in touch with your body’s signals by carrying a small notepad and charting your hunger before you eat, rating it on a scale of 1 (starving) to 10 (uncomfortably full). If you do this day after day, feeling your body’s cues will soon come naturally. You’ll know you’re on the right track when you start eating in response to your body — a rumbling in your belly, a slight lessening in your ability to concentrate — instead of your thoughts or emotions.
2. Stop counting.
That means calories, fat, carbs, grams, portions — whatever number you use that keeps you out of your body and in your head. When you count, measure, weigh or calculate your food, you’re eating according to your intellect rather than your body’s cues. For a life-long food counter, the prospect of free-for-all noshing can be scary.
Start small: eat one modest meal a day without counting anything. After several days, eat two meals without counting. Continue at your own pace until you’ve stopped counting your food — and start eating in response to your body, not the numbers in your head.
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3. Examine your cravings.
When you’re feeling the urge to eat, what are you really hungry for? If you’re craving chips, does your jaw want to chew and crunch, to relieve stress and tension? Does the noise the chips make drown out the racket in your head? When you’re aching for ice cream, maybe the soft, creamy texture makes you feel nurtured, or fills up some empty spaces.
Once you have a better idea of what you’re really craving, you’re better equipped to make a conscious choice. Maybe you massage your jaw, minimize sources of stress, visit a friend who makes you feel nurtured. Or maybe you have a scoop of ice cream — but you do it as a conscious decision, not a sideways response to a hidden emotion.
4. Practice mindful eating.
In spite of your best intentions, there you are: in front of the fridge at 10 p.m., noshing on ice cream right out of the container, with no recollection of how you got there. It’s called “eating amnesia,” when the unconscious, hand-to-mouth action of feeding yourself becomes so automatic that, before you know it, you’ve wolfed down a whole box of cookies or a bag of chips.
How to stop it? Be fully aware of the act of eating. Always put your food — even snacks — on a plate. Then sit down at the table, remove distractions like television, and observe your plate. Notice the colors, textures, shapes and smell for 30 seconds to a full minute before you take the first bite. As you eat, notice the chewing action of your jaw, the taste of the food, how it feels moving down your throat and into your stomach. It’s such a pleasant practice, it will soon become second nature.
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5. Be in your body.
Most of us walk around all day in a state of half-awareness, not really present in the room, on the earth. We drag our bodies around like a dog on a leash. And when we’re not in our bodies, we can’t tell if we’re hungry or when we’re full.
How often are you aware of your body? Tune in right now, as you read this, and check in, starting your toes and moving up through your body. Feel your toenails, your eyebrows, the tips of your ears, your arteries. Zero in on your stomach, and notice how it feels. Is it empty, or satisfied? Does it feel rigid and tense? Numb or dull? Or is it soft and relaxed? Once you become intimate with your body’s sensations, especially those of your stomach, you can begin to identify true hunger.
When you experience a craving for food, just stop and observe it. Don’t try to make it go away — but don’t indulge it automatically. Sit with the discomfort of the craving. It may become intensely distressing, even painful; that’s okay. Stay with it, and notice what comes up. You’ll often find a vast ocean of emotions like fear, anxiety, even grief, under the craving for food.
It’s a powerful exercise — but quite illuminating, and sometimes life-changing.
7. Be happy now.
Maybe you’ve been postponing your happiness until you lose ten pounds, give up sugar or eat more kale. But the happier you are now, the more likely you’ll be to stick to your eating goals. The “do-have-be” mindset tells us that success breeds joy when, in fact, it may be the other way around. Once you’re able to accept yourself exactly as you are, you’re more likely to achieve your dietary goals, and less likely to eat from stress, depression or anxiety. And anyway, there’s no point in postponing joy. Be happy now; the rest will come.
Learning How-To Feel Your Hunger
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