Wise person, wise mind-body

by Dr. Ellen Cullman, FLT Columnist

A wise person asked, “What would happen if I gave up my on-again-off-again diet and ate only when I was hungry and stopped just when I was satisfied?”

“I’d get hungry, really hungry,” she thought. Nevertheless, the next thought provided the solution. “Oh, yea, I can eat when I am hungry! It’s that simple. All I have to do is pay attention to my hunger and use it like a ‘dinner bell.’” The next morning a very hungry wise person awoke. Thrilled to toss out the diet, she began eating a yummy breakfast — eggs, bacon, two iced donuts — then drove to work.

While driving to work she felt full. In fact, she felt stuffed and lethargic. “Feeling this way was not satisfying — not satisfying at all,” she moaned. “I totally forgot to pay attention to my stomach and instead stuffed myself way beyond satisfaction. “I need to learn to pay attention not only to the yummy taste of food but also to my stomach’s comfort zone.”

Determined to try a second time, she vowed not to eat until hungry again and, at that time, also pay attention to her stomach’s comfort zone while eating. It was hard to wait for the ‘hunger bell’ to strike. To keep her mind off of it she decided to focus on a project for her boss. The time seemed to fly. In fact, she forgot about lunch!

Driving home, there it was — the “dinner bell” just like in the morning. Beginning to eat her dinner, she wondered what ‘satisfied’ feels like. She decided to set her fork down every other bite or so and notice how her stomach felt. Over time, her hunger sensations were different. “How am I feeling?” she asked herself. “Am I satisfied?” She felt good, but could perhaps eat a couple more bites. She did and again set down her fork to investigate. “Yes, I am satisfied,” she thought, knowing she could always eat again when hungry.

While doing dishes a new energetic feeling came over her so she planned something fun to do for the evening. “Wow! I love this energetic feeling instead of the usual lethargy and fatigue after dinner,” she exclaimed. Before going to sleep, she reviewed her day, “It’s amazing to think that for one day, instead of my diet, I simply responded to my genuine mind-body signals to be my dietary guide.” As she fell asleep, she knew she was onto something helpful, wholesome and even life changing. Yes, she felt like a wise person with a wise mind-body, to boot.

See more of Dr. Cullman’s columns at http://www.firstlocaltoledo.com/columnists/dr-ellen-cullman. Email mindfuleatingcoach@gmail.com or call 419-494-7699 for information about coaching sessions and mindful-eating groups. Dr. Cullman is available for educational presentations, seminars, and personalized retreats.