Seven Essential Steps for Managing Your Weight Without Dieting

Jan 2 12:14 2007 Michelle Print This Article

Do you think about food and eating more than you think you should? Do you feel guilty when you eat certain foods? If so, you’ve probably discovered that dieting hasn’t solved your weight problem. Take these seven steps toward permanent weight management.

If your commitment to eat right,Guest Posting exercise and lose weight always seems to lose its steam, you’re not alone! Weight problems are not just about what you’re eating, but why you’re eating in the first place. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you think about food and eating more than you think you should?
  • Do you feel guilty when you eat certain foods?
  • Do you have trouble passing up tempting food even if you aren’t hungry?
  • Do you often eat when you are bored, stressed, sad, lonely or angry?
  • Do you often feel too full when you are finished eating?
  • Do you eat differently in private than you do in public?
  • Do you fluctuate between dieting and eating too much?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ve probably discovered that dieting hasn’t really solved the problem. To help you understand why, lets take a look at three different eating styles: Over Eating, Restrictive Eating and Instinctive Eating.

In “Over Eating” people eat because it is mealtime or because something looks good - whether they’re hungry or not. They may also eat to distract themselves or cope with stress and emotions. They may reward, comfort or entertain themselves with food. Their weight tends to go up and down depending on whether they are off or on their diet.

In “Restrictive Eating,” a person controls his or her weight by dieting. They decide when, what and how much to eat based on the rules of the latest diet they are following. Since diet rules are always changing, they sometimes feel confused about what they should eat.

They think of food as either “good” or “bad”—and they think of themselves as good or bad, depending on what they ate.

Now think about someone who doesn’t struggle with his or her weight. If you’re having trouble thinking of someone like that, think of a baby or a young child. I call this “Instinctive Eating.”

These people just seem to know when, what and how much food they need. When their body needs fuel, they get hungry, triggering an urge to eat. They simply stop eating when their hunger is satisfied. Most of them really like to eat and seem to be able to eat whatever they want. However they’ll turn down even delicious food if they aren’t hungry.

You might believe that a person who eats instinctively has been blessed with willpower and a great metabolism. But the truth is, we were all born to eat instinctively. It’s just that many of us “unlearned” our natural ability to know how much to eat. The good news is that you can relearn those skills if you’re willing.

Here are seven essential steps to get you started:

1.      Let go of the idea that there is a perfect diet that will finally solve your problems. The answer lies within you.

2.      Whenever you have an urge to eat, instead of focusing on the food, first ask yourself, “Am I hungry?”  Remember that hunger is a physical feeling. It’s not the same thing as appetite, cravings or the desire to eat.

3.      If you are hungry, remember that there are no “good” or “bad” foods. You’re less likely to overeat certain foods if you know that you can have them again when you really want them.

4.      Stop eating when the hunger is gone but before you feel full, even if there’s food left. Give up your membership to the Clean Plate Club.

5.      If you’re not hungry, ask yourself if something in your environment triggered your urge to eat and what you could do to reduce the trigger or distract yourself from it. For instance, could you put the candy dish out of sight or do something else for a while until you’re actually hungry?

6.      If there was an emotional trigger, ask yourself what you could do to better cope with that emotion. For instance, if stress triggered your urge to eat, could you try a relaxation exercise instead?

7.      Don’t expect yourself to be perfect—it’s not possible or even necessary.

By relearning to eat instinctively, you’ll see that eating to satisfy hunger is pleasurable and that it’s good to eat foods that you enjoy. You’ll find that meeting your other needs in appropriate ways will bring balance and joy to your life. By learning these important skills, you will reach a healthier weight and a healthier lifestyle—without dieting!

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About Article Author


Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yoyo dieter and the award-winning author of Am I Hungry? What To Do When Diets Don’t Work. Learn to manage your weight without deprivation and guilt with Dr. May’s complimentary mini e-course at

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