How to Stop Eating when you’ve eaten enough

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Eat less, lose weight

This is an obvious point, and it is the nettle we need to grasp. It is what we need to do to lose weight rather than follow fad diets. It is easier said than done, so this article shows you how to go about making this simple change to your eating habits.

Eating too much doesn’t suit our biology

A major contribution to being overweight is eating more than you need at any particular time. The way our bodies work means that we need to eat enough to keep us going for a few hours until our next meal. We have not evolved to eat enormous meals. Huge meals do not suit the way our bodies work.

Learn to stop eating at the right point for your body

If you tend to eat overly large portions, the solution is to learn how to stop eating. Obviously, when you are eating any meal there will be a point at which you stop eating. You are dealing with the same task of how to stop eating whether you stop after a small amount or a large amount.

With Appetite Retraining, you use the sensations in your gut to tell you when you reach +3 (just full) on the Appetite Pendulum and at that point you stop eating. Here’s how to do this.

Stopping Eating: How to Do It

When you stop eating, you will be doing something else. Maybe relaxing; maybe doing something active. Whatever it is it will help if you plan before you eat what you are going to do as soon as you finish eating.

First, you need to identify what it is that you will do when you stop eating. Make sure that it is something you can just go and do. It is preferable to do something that occupies your mind and your hands at the same time. It can be work, housework, DIY, hobbies or anything that keeps your mind and hands occupied.

You need an activity that is more than simply watching TV because television-watching is a very passive activity. This makes it easy for your mind to wander to food, particularly because there is so much food shown and advertised on TV. It is fine to do something as well as watching TV (such as doing a puzzle or a household task while watching TV). Note that you need to be realistic about what activity will help you to get away from eating. If you would normally do the washing up straight after eating but that means you are in the kitchen being tempted by food, it may be important to leave the washing up until later and do something else in the meantime.

Second, start eating your meal and keep an eye on where you are on the Appetite Pendulum while you are eating. While you are eating your meal, notice the sensations of hunger/ fullness and when you notice that you are +3 (just full), STOP EATING and leave the rest. You won’t feel physically hungry now, nor will you feel too full. It will probably feel odd to stop eating at this point but that’s OK.

Third, notice the size of the meal you have just eaten. This may well come as a shock at first, and may make you feel uneasy or anxious. If you are +3 on the scale, any discomfort you feel is not physical hunger; it is an emotional reaction to eating less. Dealing with the emotional reactions that eating less produces in you is a crucial part of changing your eating patterns to allow weight loss.

Shortage of food in times of scarcity is a physical threat to wellbeing and we have evolved to respond to this threat by feeling anxious. This creates pressure within us to find food to remove the threat of starvation. But in the 21st Century when we are surrounded by food, we don’t need to feel anxious. In fact we need to remind ourselves that this is just mild hunger and it is helping with weight loss and we will be eating again soon.

Fourth, get away from food and go and do the activity you had planned. You are likely to find that after about 30 minutes, other fullness-related signals have now registered in your brain and the urge to eat more will have lessened. If not, continue with keeping your mind and hands occupied.

From now on, at the end of every meal if you feel uneasy when you stop at +3, use distraction and remind yourself that by stopping now you will be hungry again by your next mealtime, and this means that that meal will taste fantastic!

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