The Problem Comes From How To Eat, Not Calories
Let’s put aside the counting of calories and the nutritional value of foods and focus on how to eat: there is the key to success to lose weight on a long-term basis.
Launched in an endless work in front of the computer, Emilie does not have time to make a real lunch break. She decides to agree at least a little pleasure: a sandwich three cheeses and, especially, a tart with apricots; Of the foods she loves. She comes back to her screen, unpacks her food and then starts to chew while opening internet pages. She resumes scrutinizing the screen and all her attention is captured by a funny video. When she lowers her eyes, she almost finished her pie, her sandwich is swallowed, she has not felt anything. Emilie is frustrated to the point of wanting to buy a second pie. She vaguely has taste on the tongue but that’s it! Finally, still feeling hungry, she buys a chocolate bar from the office machine and eats it in a few mouthfuls. Emilie exceeds her nutritional needs and grows.
How do we eat?
Emilie’s scheme is more than classic! This way of eating is responsible for many problems of overweight. We eat by doing something else, we eat food without even paying attention to it. We are, therefore, incapable of defining satiety: we do not listen to our sensations of hunger. How many cases of overweight and obesity are linked to nibblings done mechanically, to meals taken watching television, to calories swallowed without hunger and without realizing it?
But, this finding is not very popular. Considering the overweight problems encountered in western countries, the focus has been on the nutritional value of food. Judged too sweet, too greasy, not “healthy”: messages grew on the need for so many fruits and vegetables, less meat, more fiber, less gluten, and so on. The nutritional value of food is important to our health, that is not the issue. But, is the reason for being overweight due to the nutritional value of the food consumed, or to the fact that by eating absent-mindedly, we often eat too much more than is necessary?
Being sensitive to hunger
The nutritional value of food is important, but it is the dietary behavior that is the best way to lose weight. Our dietary behaviors must be observed and then transformed if weight problems are encountered. This is the meaning of the method which is based on the principles of mindfulness, applied to the diet. It is a question of returning to a process that is ultimately natural: listening to one’s sensations of hunger. More broadly, mindfulness allows one to focus on the present moment, without being distracted and engulfed by the hundreds of ideas or emotions that cross us.
In front of her computer, Emilie could just note her impulsive tendency to focus her attention on a video, perhaps to diminish the whirl of her thoughts, perhaps not to feel guilty by eating her sandwich or pie. She could let this food compulsion go by to quietly return to her food, and eat it carefully. So, she would fill her appetite, conscious of the signals her body sends, indicating “I’m hungry, I’m still hungry, I’m no longer hungry.” Perhaps she would realize she does not need to finish all her pie …
These changes in attitudes are not simple. We are largely conditioned by an environment and a cascade of messages pushing us to pay attention only to the nutritional value of food … To return to a natural approach to listening to oneself, coaching and personalized advice are useful.