I recently read a book by the only man to have survived alone on a raft at sea for more than two months, Editor of Cruising World magazine, Steven Callahan. In “Adrift, Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea,” Callahan recounted how while slowly starving he dreamt of food, “My body knows what it needs. For hours on end fantasies of sweet ice cream, starchy baked bread, and vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables water the mouth in my mind.”
Reading an account of one man’s survival in the face of sure death was inspiring. My ex-husband is building Callahan’s redesign of “Solo” the very boat that capsized, so he too can take off on a singlehanded sailing adventure across the seas. He believes he could survive as Callahan did, while I’m telling myself I’ll die of starvation if I don’t eat in the next half hour. Sort of puts things in better perspective, don’t you think?
Yesterday I felt hungry all day. I decided it was because I felt trapped. I didn’t have a choice about what or where to eat – I couldn’t leave my house because there were a few inches of ice literally on everything outside , so I did what any normal, sane person would do. I ate. I might want to work on this issue since if I were ever truly in a situation where the food supply was limited I’d hate to think I’d wipe it out in one frenzied day of panic.
I didn’t eat junky stuff, but I did eat far more than usual. For instance I had a wheat bagel, sliced with raspberry honey. I never slice my bagels, and never put anything on them, so that was odd by itself. I have a very regular schedule of hunger, I eat generally around 7 AM, then again around 10 AM, again around 12 noonish, and maybe 4 or 5 PM is dinner. Thursday I had my usual breakfast, then snacks, then more snacks, then a big lunch, then more snacks, then a big dinner. I popped a few chocolates that day as well.
Basically healthy food but it still adds up. I had a mixture I hadn’t had for a long time where I get out a bowl and toss in granola cereal, raw almonds, raisins and carob chips. That sounds nice and healthy but those calories add up. I mentioned last week it was nearly 4,000 calories that day, of reasonably healthy foods, so I proved you can overeat on good food. I also ate two bananas, one on my cereal in the morning and another in the afternoon as a snack, so I wouldn’t faint from hunger, I guess.
I never used EFT that day. Thinking about it later it seems I had a fear of not having enough, of running out, of thinking I’m being controlled by outside forces, and of not having a choice. One thing I did not do that day was berate myself in any way shape or form. I do not say mean things to myself – I never have, except for the occasional, you idiot type of stuff but never in a serious way. I don’t do that, and if you do, stop now. Just stop. If you hear yourself saying something unkind to yourself just stop.
Since I Didn’t Pay Attention To My Hunger, I Ate Non-stop
Next Daily Bite look for my list of my favorite foods and a bit on tracking your hunger levels. I promise to post my hunger level worksheet so you can see that I’m not perfect either. I maintain a reasonable size and shape by eating like what I call a normal person. I don’t obsess about it, and I do overeat sometimes (witness last Thursday), but one overeating episode does not frame my whole day nor does it color my life. It’s not me, it’s just a behavior.
So, I’m cold – I’m usually cold, so this is nothing new, but it’s especially cold to me. I’ve got on layers, two pairs of socks, two pairs of pants, three shirts, and I’m still feeling brrrrr, shivering cold. I’d put the heater higher but my husband likes this arctic chill, so I’m compromising. Being chilled I suddenly thought about getting something to eat. Not because I’m hungry, but simply because I’m cold. Moving around would feel nice, eating would warm me too – that’s the thought that ran through my mind, and it makes sense. Eating stokes the metabolic fire, after all.
Discover Your Eating Triggers
So, there I’ve just discovered an eating trigger for me. Being cold makes me want to eat something – not a bowl of cereal, or a sandwich. I was thinking along the lines of chocolates, or nuts – something simple I could just pop in my mouth and commence chewing. Ah, but then I remember, today is the second day of my big plan to eat a “clean diet.” I’ve been talking about it for a month – letting people who know me in on the plan in an effort to help me do it. I eat a pretty healthy diet but I’ve let my weight creep up this winter, so I need to nip it in the bud right now.
Now nuts are okay on a clean diet, but the salted peanuts we have in the house are greasy and very high fat (raw almonds would be a better choice), and I know I’m not really hungry, so no amount of nuts is going to satisfy me. I just want to chew. It’s one of those, “eat until they are gone” type of hungers. So my new goal for this week is to wait for real hunger before eating. That’s all – just wait until I’m hungry first.
So I did a couple quick rounds of EFT: (Remember, if you need EFT instruction, here are no-cost materials to help.
“Even though I’m ultra cold, and I want to eat something, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
I always start on the P.R. point (side of the hand – karate chop point) and say the set-up three times. Then I do a series on the usual tapping points with the shortened words: “too cold.”
“Even though I don’t want to wait until I’m hungry, I deeply and completely accept myself and will wait anyway.”
“Don’t want to wait.”
Notice how you can add any words you like at the end of your statement? Go ahead and embellish the wording, speak to yourself in a kind manner, and the words will come to you.
While tapping I was thinking about my issue – how being cold is making me want to eat. Is that true, or was I just having a knee jerk reaction? I remember being offered hot chocolate as a child, with those little marshmallows on top, “Here, have some nice cocoa, it’ll make you feel better.” Smiling grandma fades out. So many memories intertwined with food.
There’s nothing wrong with having memories around food – food is an important part of our lives, and I’m not advocating stopping that practice – no way. I am interested in discovering my triggers though: those times I absentmindedly put something in my mouth because of a triggering event, such as the cold feeling in my body. Being cold is not the same as being hungry.
How to Wait for Hunger
Waiting for hunger isn’t so difficult but the hunger itself can be elusive and you may wish it would come sooner. The more nutritious food choices you make, the less often you’ll feel true hunger. Waiting for hunger isn’t so difficult, you just need to find something else to do when the urge to eat strikes without hunger. I’m busy working, so that’s no problem.
You’d be shocked if you waited for real hunger – assuming you eat nutritious food when you eat, that is. I ate breakfast at around 7 AM, nice big bowl of oatmeal and raisins with a sprinkling of brown sugar and non-fat milk. Around 10 AM I decided to eat an apple. Nice, sweet, juicy apple. Crunchy, excellent snack, IMO. So, now it’s likely I won’t be hungry again for another couple of hours.
Oops, I wandered off in the middle of writing this and ended up peeling and eating a Clementine while standing in the kitchen admiring the snow (a Clementine is a type of seedless tangerine, I think). Anyway, it was good. So I wasn’t hungry just then, that’s okay. I’m not a robot – it’s a plan, not a life sentence.
The nice thing about waiting for hunger is you can estimate it – so if I want to plan for lunch, I know sometime between noon and 1 PM will probably be when I’ll get hungry. Unless I’m busy doing something, in which case I might decide to wait. My husband just offered to make me some soup and a sandwich and I said, “No, thanks. I just ate an apple.” I could eat a sandwich, but today, I’m going to wait for hunger. Try it yourself, and see what happens. You may be surprised.
From now on I know that if I’m cold I may want to eat something, so I’m going to wait for hunger. Simple. It’s about being aware, that’s all. Notice what’s going on around you, and use EFT for the obstacles.