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Chances are if you could figure out a way to help people truly control their appetites you would likely be awarded sainthood, along with a really nice big retirement fund. I must admit, I’m fascinated by how we relate with this thing called my appetite. My guess is that if you’re the kind of person who wants to lose weight, you’re also the kind of person who wants to control their appetite. You want to manage it, own it, and make it your servant. And yet, with all the books out there written by the experts that tell you how to tame the appetite beast – many of us are still left cowering in the corner whenever our appetite comes to town. It’s time to get smart and tough. It’s time to say goodbye to all the useless appetite-controlling pills and all the failed attempts at using willpower to defeat the dreaded appetite enemy. Here are the final 4 surefire ways to control appetite naturally:
5 – Visualize Whirled Peas.
Years ago, my brilliant musician friend Mark Kelso created a bumper sticker with these words. Because I trust him so much, I really did my best to visualize whirled peas. It was very uncomfortable. It’s not a palatable image, and it was enough to make me a bit nauseous. So what does this have to do with appetite? So many of us overeat because of discomfort. We might have a feeling that we don’t like to feel, a relationship that’s challenging us, work issues that won’t resolve themselves, or anything bubbling inside of us that’s simply a little too hot to handle. So we eat. Food is a fabulous way to temporarily massage our discomfort. And most of the time, it works. But I’ll tell you this little secret – the better you are at managing your discomfort, the happier you’ll be when it comes to your relationship with food. This means learning to deep breathe, to calm our inner world, and to harness the very mind that often attacks us with its mean little thoughts. In other words, if we want to regulate appetite, we need to relax into our discomfort. We need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. How’s that for a paradox?
6 – Devour Someone You Love.
Sometimes overeating and an unregulated appetite are pointing to a deeper hunger that lives somewhere else. If you find yourself a little too ravenous for food, then try devouring someone you love. Have you ever heard a mother say to a small child, “I love you so much I just want to eat you!” It’s a bit strange, but it’s a true hunger. We have a very healthy and hard to suppress appetite for love. If you really love someone, then at some point you’ll want to make them into a meal, sort of. So, put your appetite where it belongs. As far as I can tell, we want intimacy, connection, and cuddles. When we don’t have the full course meal called “a hot relationship” – our appetite starts to wander. It looks for food. Quite literally, we end up looking for love in all the wrong places. No matter how many times we try, we’ll never find lasting love in the refrigerator. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt to look a bunch of times just to make sure.) And even those of us in relationship often forget this important source of nutrition. Get what you really want. Fulfill your appetite for love. Then tell me if you’re still out of control with food.
7 – Have a Cup of Tea.
Honestly, I get so annoyed when nutritionists, dietitians or health coaches tell their weight loss clients to simply eat celery sticks or baby carrots as a way to help curb their appetite and shed pounds. Really? I’ve never heard of a client jumping up for intellectual joy and having an epiphany when they are given this enlightened nutritional strategy. With that in mind, I consider the art of tea a great way to educate our appetite. Forget for a moment about the antioxidants in tea, or the phytonutrients, or the thermogenic properties. I’m talking about tea as a meditation. I’m talking about tea as an age-old cultural ritual that has us slow down, relax, enjoy, and chat with someone interesting. The ritual of tea allows us to push the pause button on the world. It helps us remember that we’re here not only to work and do things and exercise and diet ourselves – but we’re also here to discuss great ideas, to wax poetic about bad art, and to giggle about nothing. Oftentimes, our appetite falls into a black hole of dis-regulation when we’re moving too fast. We need ritual to slow us down and remind us to live a little. Have a cup of tea, and notice how sometimes what we really hunger for is simply the niceties of tea.
8- Save the World.
A lot of us eat because were bored. We don’t have anything to do that’s really worth doing. Maybe we had an exciting life at some point, but things have gotten a little dull lately. Boredom and an out-of-control appetite go hand in hand. Let’s just all admit it – food is an A+ way to kick boredom in the butt. It works. But as we know, the long-term benefits of this strategy are not always that appealing. So this is my suggestion for something to do: Save the world. I know this is possible because I see it happen all the time. Superman does it, Iron Man does it, James Bond does it – these guys make it look so easy. And clearly, none of them have any issues with appetite or overeating, they seem to have lots of muscle, little fat, and tight abs, so my point is certainly proven. But what I’m really trying to say is that we can do more than we think. How can you give your gift? How is the world calling you to contribute? Who needs your help? And can you imagine how a healthy appetite to serve is the best appetite regulator in the world? A courageous and giving heart is always victorious over an unruly appetite.
What’s your calling? – what’s the one thing you’ve always wanted to do but were afraid to? What would you do if you knew you could never fail?
How to control your appetite – part 1
My warmest regards,
Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating
© Institute For The Psychology of Eating, All Rights Reserved, 2018