I really enjoyed presentation at Dietitians of Canada Conference 2014 by Dr Michelle May titled “Eat what you love, love what you eat”. Michelle discussed the mindful eating cycle (refer to attachment below).
Some people eat instinctively; they don’t focus or obsess about food. They eat when they are hungry. The classic instinctive eater is a baby. With instinctive eating the cycle looks like the following:
Why? Cycle driven by need for fuel
When? When I’m hungry
What? Whatever I choose
How? Intentionally– eat with intention of feeling better
How much? Enough to satisfy hunger
Where? Living my life
The overeating cycle looks quite different:
Why? Cycle is driven by triggers – stress, boredom, social, self-reward, environmental
When? External or emotional cues
What? Why we eat determines what we eat – Tempting or comfort foods
How? Mindlessly, quickly or secretly
How much? Until food is gone or I’m uncomfortable – When a craving doesn’t come from hunger, eating will never satisfy it
Where? Excess fuel is stored
So what does the restrictive eating cycle look like?
Why? – Cycle is driven by rules
When? – According to the rules
What? – “Good” or allowed food
How? – Rigidly – weighing, measuring, counting food
How much? – Allowed amount
Where? – Energy is spent on diet and exercise
Overeating = out of control
Restrictive eating = in control
Mindful eating = in charge
Michelle implored us not to talk about exercise and diet in the same counselling session. She reminded us that we often present exercise as punishment, for example, by showing that if you eat 2 chocolates, you will need to cycle for 20 minutes. Most people will give up when presented with diet and exercise in this way.
We need a paradigm shift of mindful eating. Hence we need to respond rather than react to triggers. Whenever you feel like eating, it’s important to pause and ask yourself am I hungry?
Michelle concluded by saying “Eating the right amount of food isn’t about being good. It’s about feeling good.”
For more information and free downloads visit www.AmIHungry.com
Also view youtube of Michelle above.