Do you ever resent your taste buds for preferring hot fudge sundaes over celery? All because you feel “I can’t ‘afford’ the calories of the sundae!”
Or have you ever felt contempt for your body because it is signaling hunger, but you have run out of “points” and can’t eat any more today without going “off program?”
Most of us who struggle with disordered eating battle a sense of contempt and resentment toward our bodies. We feel betrayed by our bodies.
We fail to see that diets often lead us further into the very thing we want to be healed of!
Dieting entrenches us further in legalism and self-contempt.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to “go there” ever again and, as one free in Christ, I know that He won’t lead me to that place again either!
The Keys to Conscious Eating…
…preserve our freedom because they respect the truth of how God made our bodies. They reflect our natural, God-given ability to determine our hunger and to choose to satisfy it appropriately. GTST, p. 70
What is the difference between laws and guidelines? 🙂 I think sometimes it is how we respond to them! Most of us have a TON of experience with diet rules and laws. We know what it is like to derive our sense of self-worth or value from how well we uphold the diet rules or laws, too. That is clearly legalism and typically it ends up making us feel a sense of condemnation. There is only SO long that we can uphold all the rules before we begin to break under the pressure.
When that happens, we often become convinced that we are failures and this belief of a lie (from the pit of hell) further perpetuates disordered eating…
The pendulum has swung again…from legalism to license…with the club of condemnation beating us over the heads again and again!
ENOUGH! I am so tired of that! Are you?
The principles are an invitation to engage in eating behavior that, without constraining us, will conform us from within because they permit us to treat our bodies with the same high regard that God has for us. GTST, p. 70
With these facts in mind, let us continue with these practical challenges:
- Continue with Key to Conscious Eating #1 – eat only when my body is physically hungry.
- Continue Key to Conscious Eating #2 – Reduce the number of distractions in order to eat in a calm environment.
- Continue Key to Conscious Eating #3 – Eat only when sitting down.
- Continue Key to Conscious Eating #4 – Eat only when your mind and body are relaxed.
- Continue Key to Conscious Eating #5 – Eat and drink only the food and beverages that I enjoy.
- Continue Key to Conscious Eating #8 – Stop before my body is full.
In addition, let’s add the final two Keys to Conscious Eating:
- Practice Key to Conscious Eating #6 – Pay attention only to my food when eating.
- Practice Key to Conscious Eating #7 – Eat slowly savoring each bite.
If you are someone who does well with charts and would like a chart that can help you keep track of your growth in applying these keys to conscious eating, you can download this Observation and Correction Chart, print it out and use it.
Here is a sample that has been filled out after a day. Click on the image to enlarge it so you can read my writing. 🙂 I have made notes on it to show you what it means. 🙂 First, I personalized it by drawing lines for each eating occasion. Whether it is a sit-down meal with family, going out, or a “quick” snack….every “eating occasion” counts and I want to apply the principles. Even if it is a few almonds to shave the edge off my hunger while I wait for the family to arrive for our lunch together, I want to sit down, focus on my food, be at a “0”, and all the other keys to conscious eating. Other notes, I have made in the margin. The idea is that I use this chart to make observations about my behavior. I do this without judgment. Then, I can plan corrections…what I need to work on. After a day, I have a good grasp on the fact that choosing foods I like isn’t a problem, but eating slowly definitely is a challenge for me! I might want to take these observations into my next eating occasion and plan strategies for slowing my eating down–like taking sips of water between bites, putting my fork down, avoiding “finger foods”–using silverware for everything 🙂 — that sort of thing.
Just a WARNING: It is our tendency to turn anything God intends to be a blessing into something different! You and I could easily turn these guidelines–the Keys to Conscious Eating–into DIET laws. Please don’t do this! Prayerfully ask the Lord to allow you to experience grace to to walk free from pride (when you apply the keys) or its opposite, condemnation (when you don’t). He wants you to experience freedom! If you have a dieting, graphing, charting, obsessing background, please especially be prayerful about whether or not you should use a chart just yet!
Grace…allow yourself to believe that God’s view of you isn’t dependent on how you eat or what size you are. You can take THIS moment captive for Him and rejoice that the God of the universe is totally, 100% mindful of you, and loves you. He sent His Son so that NO condemnation would hinder his love relationship with you. His love is never-ending and He knows everything about you. Before you ever had a single God-ward thought, he chose you to belong to Him.
OK, here I go again. LOL I wish key # 7 had included the words ‘my body’ as well as food. So it could read “Pay attention to my food and body sensations while eating.” Maybe I’m unique … However paying attention ONLY to my food lets me ignore those subtle physical sensations that tell me I’m no longer hunger, but beginning to feel satisfied. Focussing on the food allows me to enjoy the food, but also ignore what my body tells me.Fortunately, food doesn’t taste as food when we are no longer hungry. However, most ‘dessert’ foods are super sweet. So we can still easily taste desserts, even when our taste buds are dulled as we are no longer hungry. I can focus on how good the food tastes, then focus on how good sweet desserts taste, until I’m painfully full. Then I wonder how I missed feeling ‘satisfied’. I know many other people have difficulty with stopping at ‘satisfied’. So I wonder whether one of the keys should have mentioned staying aware of our body cues while eating.
I haven’t read Thin Again in a while so I don’t know if we are just getting ahead of ourselves, Sue. When does she introduce the topic of ‘taste bud teasers’ vs. ‘whole body pleasers’? I just checked in ‘Raising Fit Kids in a Fat World’ and she deals quite a bit with making healthy food choices…which as a mom, I really like. Wish that I had had this book from the beginning. Anyway…back to the regularly scheduled program…lol.
Essy: The ‘TW: A Grace Oriented Approach to Lasting Weight Loss’ book talks about pleasers, teasers and whole body pleasers. Remember Day 17? As for ‘taste bud’ pleasers, that’s my term. I’m describing my own experience with low fiber desserts, like ice cream. I can feel satisfied or even full after eating a high fiber, high fat, high protein, nutritious dinner, but still have ‘room’ (at least psychologically) for ice cream LOL. because my taste buds can still enjoy intensely sweet desserts when I’m no longer hungry.
Oh yes…it’s day 18 on Thin Within. I love the example of the hot fudge sundae…if you feel lethargic after eating it, then the sundae isn’t a whole body pleaser.In Fit Kids, she talks about ‘Taste-bud Teasers’ and ‘Wholesome Foods’ and how the change towards those often needs to be gradual. She also goes a bit more into ‘total rejects’.
OOPS! I meant Day 18 and typed Day 17. LOLThat’s amazing how I talked about foods that please my taste buds without ever reading the “Raising Fit Kids … ” book. Maybe I’m still teaching my inner child to each according to hunger/satisfaction.