What to Do When All You Can Think of is FOOD!

October 20, 2011

This is a guest post by Jocelyn Anne.

I think we’ve all been in this place at some point in our lives. You can think one thing and one thing only: FOOD. When is the next meal? What will I make for the next meal! When can I snack again? Oh man, I’m staaaaaaaaarving. You wake up feeling hungry; you feel hungry all day in spite of eating even more than normal, and you go to bed hungry and disgusted with yourself for having eaten more than you intended to. It’s a pretty miserable place to be in. Sometimes these phases are triggered by overly limiting calories for a significant period of time, sometimes they can come on the coat tails of a major stress, and sometimes you just won’t have any logical reason whatsoever. All you know is you’re miserable and want it to just go away. Right? Right. If you’ve tried everything you can think of, to no avail, let me suggest something you likely haven’t tried: the one-food-plan.

Someone else probably does this same plan and has deemed it something much fancier and more sophisticated sounding, but I’m for anything basic that just works, and that’s exactly what this plan does. So, here’s what you do: you pick one food that has a balance of both carbs and proteins and that can deliver basic nutrients to you over a period of days. Pick a food you can eat because you like it relatively well, but not a food you love. Number one, chances are if you love this food at the beginning of this, you aren’t going to love it at the end, and I’d hate to see you lose a food you love! Second, if you really love it that much, you might crave it enough that this plan will never work. Here’s what I mean: cake and pizza are not good options.

Things that are good options are basic, bland staples like: oatmeal (plain!), buckwheat pancakes, yogurt, etc. If you want, you can also consider combining two foods into one “item,” like an egg on toast. This gives you more nutrients, all your protein and carbs, plus some fat. But just remember, there’s no dressing anything up to make it taste “better.” This includes salt, cream, milk, syrup, sugar (even calorie-free sweetener), etc. The goal is that you develop distaste for the food, because as you do, you’ll come back in tune with when you are truly hungry and when you just think you are. By day 5, when you are starving, you will eat a bowl of oatmeal. But by day 5 when you are not hungry, you won’t be able to stomach thinking about a bowl of oatmeal.

The problem with our mind and overeating often comes from simple over-stimulation. We get so excited about new foods as we realize that we could have that caramel apple! And this chicken fillet! And that cheesy burrito too! And, oh, we’ve never even heard of those new pretzel crackers, when can we have those!? And somehow, in some way, our mind starts to register this excitement and desire as “hunger.” When you suddenly take away that immense variety and your mind realizes that it can have all it wants of one food, but that one food is all there is, you will be amazed at how quickly your appetite starts to fade out.

I recommend doing this for a week and seeing how you feel. I can nearly guarantee that you’ll gain control over your appetite again. If not, stretch it out to seven days. Never go overboard on this plan, or you’ll go back to “normal” eating and find yourself coming out of an overly deprived state and right back where you were. If 7 days doesn’t cut it, this plan isn’t for you. But, I’m pretty sure that won’t be the case.

It’s not a miracle diet plan; it’s simply a way for you to get in tune with hunger. When is it legitimate, and when is not? It will be miserable to go through, yes, but so is always being hungry. So, next time you find yourself starving all day, every day, for no good reason, give the one-food-plan a try and see what it can do for you!

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