Mindful eating? Intutive Eating? Normal Eating? yes Yes YES!

January 17, 2008

Where do some of the ideas in Low Stress Weight Loss come from?

Mainly from my own history and my own successes and failures. But I have always read a LOT of diet books and magazines and listened to podcasts, and read blogs etc too – to keep up the motivation. But that kind of intensity is exhausting, and rapidly crosses the border from “interest” to “obsession”.

The biggest guideline for “Low Stress Weight Loss” is to eliminate the stress I’ve so often felt while attempting to lose weight. So out go the daily weigh-ins, out goes calorie counting, out goes long frequent sessions at the gym. And I’ve also radically cut back on my reading diet books and magazines, and listening to diet-and-fitness podcasts. Basically aside from this blog and seeing Dr Hope every 2 weeks, I’m just on my own.

That said, a lot of my approach is based on what I’ve learned over the years. There are a few books that have had a substantial influence on my current thinking, and some books and websites that go in the same direction. To be clear – I’m not following any of these plans specifically, but I think there are some good ideas in a lot of them, and some of those ideas are similar to what I’m working on.

There are two books that have had a pretty major influence on me. The first is “The Path of Least Resistance”, by Robert Fritz, which is a general self-help book I bought and read maybe 15 years ago. The basic premise is that your life will go in the direction that you make to be the easiest for you. So if you want to change something you need to think about all the things that keep you where you are so you can build new ways into your life to go in a new direction. I got this book for reasons having NOTHING to do w my weight, but I’ve applied the principles to job, weight, relationship, etc – and I think reading this book fundamentally affected the way I looked at personal change.

A more recent book I can recommend is “Mindless Eating” by Brian Wansink. I bought this book because it seemed interesting (a mix of psychology and marketing), not really for “diet” reasons. He is a university guy who runs a food center at Cornell where they do a lot of the work that is behind the manipulative packaging and context of eating – or more to the point, overeating. His book kind of walks you through the way portions, context, etc contribute to overeating, and he made an attempt to make it diet-y by adding some mild suggestions of how you can incorporate that knowledge to change your behavior and lose weight. Because it’s not a typical diet book perspective and the ‘diet’ hand is pretty light it’s refreshing. And it was maybe the first time I saw anyone write down that making a few small changes you could lose 1-2 pounds a month pretty painlessly but that over time that would really add up. So the idea sat in the back of my head for a few months until I was again unhappy w my weight and ready to do something about it, and that’s when it kind of cemented for me – so I’d say his book was a major influence, even if not directly.

A few months ago when I started all this I was looking for some more understanding and found on the web several sources that talk about “intuitive eating” and it’s twins (“mindful” and “normal”). I haven’t read books on the topic or spent more than a few minutes finding sites and bookmarking them, but I thought I’d share some of what I found for those who are looking to explore this type of approach further.

My personal issues aren’t really binge-eating, nor do I feel the least bit receptive to Overeaters Anonymous, but both of those topics have lots of info in the same vein, and a lot of people seem to find them helpful. I also tend to avoid the “emotional eating” stuff, because I am someone who tends to put more emphasis on BEHAVIOR than anything else, and what I’ve stumbled upon on emotional eating hasn’t really pushed my buttons.

Of what I’ve found online and liked, the most popular seems to be “Intuitive Eating” by Tribole & Resch, who have written a book (which I don’t have and haven’t read) but they have good (and free) info on their website : http://www.intuitiveeating.com/

The other search term I had success with is “normal eating” where there are a few authors and “mindful eating” where again there are a few authors. Here is a link to a mindful eating site http://www.tcme.org/patientNewsletter.htm

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