As a compulsive eater in recovery, it is a challenge for me to finish eating and leave the dining table.
There are a number of reasons for this.
- I get a powerful sense of relief from eating. The act of sitting down and eating a meal gives me a period of freedom from anxiety. Dr. Vera Tarman, the author of "Food Junkies: The Truth About Food Addiction," has said that those of us who are compulsive eaters may have a more profound response to the pleasure of eating than normal people do. I agree, because once I start eating I don't want to leave the experience of peace and pleasure behind.
- It takes me an unusually long time to experience fullness. Common wisdom says that most people feel feel 20 minutes after beginning to eat. I have literally timed how long it takes me to reach satiety, and the average amount of time it takes is 45 minutes: more than twice as long as one would expect.
- I feel the pull of the leftovers. I have been writing about food for more that four years now, and I have found that the only way I can have enough real non-trigger foods on hand, and still have time for a life, is to cook enough food for the whole day at breakfast time. This really works, so I'm going to keep on doing it, and recommending it to my coaching clients. This means that there will always be tasty vegetables left over to tempt me with the idea that, "A little more asparagus couldn't hurt, could it?"
With such strong urges to stay at the table and keep eating, how do I get up and go, and how can you do the same? First, I avoid trigger foods. Without sugar or any grains on the menu, I don't have to contend with the foods I have never been able to say no to. Second, I make sure I put enough satisfying foods on my plate. I choose and track my meals every morning at www.fatsecret.com, so I know what I'm going to eat and how much, and I make sure I have everything I need before I sit down. Third, I know what I am going to do immediately after I finish eating.
Today, I got up to arrange the left over asparagus on a plate, and I took the picture you see above. When I'm done with this blog post, I'm going to put this picture, and the simple recipe to make it, up on Pinterest.
Here are the directions:
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse and trim the ends off of one bunch of asparagus.
Put one tablespoon of Meyer Lemon (or plain, or any flavor you choose) in the bottom of a roasting pan.
Add asparagus, and roll it around in the pan to coat it with olive oil.
Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time.
Having something specific to do right after eating will get you up and out of "food range." This will give your body time to experience fullness.
On a different level, establishing positive behaviors around food should be connected to your greater life purpose. It really is that important, not just for compulsive eaters like me, but for anyone whose health, mobility, productivity, and happiness could be enhanced by a positive eating strategy.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions about finding freedom when it comes to food.
Catherine's sugar elimination program can be found at: