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When to Start to Eat and When to Stop Eating is Certainly One of the Biggest Weight-Loss Problems Women Face.

Posted Jan 06 2011 5:00am

How do you know when to start to eat and when to stop eating? Isn’t that always part of a weight-loss problem? It certainly is for the overeater.

Do you consciously or unconsciously “track” how hungry you are? Or, are you like most people, you eat when you’ve learned it is time to eat? Are you so governed by tradition and experience; that is, when it’s time to eat, you eat, and you eat what is considered a suitable meal?  

If this is true for you, which for most people it undoubtedly is, then when are you guided by your own hunger cues?

Tradition and experience can dominate when you eat and what you eat meal after meal. Think about eating breakfast. What is the traditional breakfast?  What about lunch? It is always eaten in the middle of the day, sometime around noon. The usual fare is a sandwich, perhaps soup, a drink, and maybe even some dessert. Dinner usually constitutes the biggest meal of the day. The start and stop times of these meals may vary some, but basically they occur at roughly the same times each day. Then, of course, there is snack time: morning coffee break, afternoon break, and maybe some of the usual snack food after dinner.

If these are your well-worn eating paths each day, you are not giving yourself a chance to use your hunger as a guide.

By using your memory; that is remembering when you last ate, how much you ate, how much you’ve just eaten, you can begin the process of restoring a guideline of “Am I really hungry? How does memory do this? By remembering, you open up your thinking. You are not blindly following custom and tradition and daily experience. You’re breaking the bond some, and this gives you a chance to think, to evaluate, to assess. This is already a step removed from automatically following routine.   

Using memory to guide you about when to start to eat and when to stop eating, can pretty naturally lead to you taking the biggest step of all—using hunger cues to guide your decision.


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