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Everything you ever wanted to know about eating...

Emotional Eating:

Disregarding hunger and fullness cues and eating when you are experiencing an intense emotion such as stress, sadness, anger, anxiety, or even happiness and excitement.

Emotional Restricting:

Disregarding hunger cues and not eating due to intense emotions. Also known as “Emotional Fullness.”

Mindless Eating:

Not paying attention to hunger or fullness cues and snacking/grazing throughout the day; eating while working, when you are bored, watching TV, or doing other activities while eating.

Mechanical Eating:

Following a meal pattern and meal plan as closely as possible. For example, a meal pattern may look like eating 3 meals and 2-3 snacks spaced out every 2-3 hours. A meal plan will tell you what to eat at each of those meals and snacks. If you are eating mechanically, you are following these instructions as closely as possible.

Mindful Eating:

Being present in the moment as you begin thinking about food. Being aware of hunger cues to help you know when to begin eating. Using all of your senses when choosing and eating food (what does it look like? What is the temperature, texture, taste?). Acknowledging your responses to the food (like, dislike, neutral?). Being aware of fullness cues to help you know when to end eating.

Intuitive Eating:

Relies heavily on internal hunger and fullness cues and fully trusts their bodies to know when it is hungry and when it is full. Eating for physical rather than emotional reasons. Think of babies and small children. They are some of the best intuitive eaters.

Intuitive eating is hard for most of us!

What can interfere with intuitive eating?

  • Emotions

  • Distractions

  • Ignoring hunger

  • In the short-term, it will come on stronger later, and make you more likely to over eat or binge

  • In the long term, continuing to ignore hunger skews your natural/internal cues

  • You begin to feel hungry less often

  • Ignoring fullness

  • In the short term, you are going to be in pain from over eating

  • In the long term, continuing to ignore fullness skews your natural/internal cues.

  • It begins to take more food for you to feel full, and you begin to associate pain with fullness.

Why start with a Mechanical Eating plan?

  • It serves as a structure and support until there is biological restoration

  • You get a meal plan and pattern to follow

  • You do your best to follow it 100%

  • It is necessary regardless of absence of hunger or fullness

  • Eating regularly helps foster natural body rhythms

  • Gentle hunger cues begin to emerge

  • You learn how to respond to hunger/fullness when it arises

  • You learn how to distinguish between physical and emotional cues

Overall, Mechanical Eating is a helpful tool to help you become reacquainted with what balanced eating should look like, feel like, and be like. It can help you end the patterns of emotional eating, emotional restricting, and mindless eating, and helps to restore hunger and fullness cues in a safe and structured way.

It is not the only tool in the box though.

Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is an incredibly successful method to ending emotional eating and binging behaviors. It allows for more freedom as it relies on the individual to be present in the moment and aware of the world around them and what their body is feeling and experiencing all without judgement.

The following is copied from:

Principles of Mindfulness:

  • Mindfulness is deliberately paying attention, non-judgmentally, in the present moment.

  • Mindfulness encompasses both internal processes and external environments.

  • Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations in the present moment.

  • With practice, mindfulness cultivates the possibility of freeing yourself of reactive, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.

  • Mindfulness promotes balance, choice, wisdom and acceptance of what is.

Mindful Eating is:

  • Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.

  • Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.

  • Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral) without judgment.

  • Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating.

Someone Who Eats Mindfully:

  • Acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food.

  • Accepts that their eating experiences are unique.

  • Is an individual who by choice, directs their attention to eating on a moment-by-moment basis.

  • Gains awareness of how they can make choices that support health and well-being.

If you need help with your diet or want a mechanical eating plan, reach out to schedule a complimentary consultation. We look forward to working with you.

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