Since I am the most un-self-disciplined person in the world, I welcomed the news that there was a new way of managing food that did not require dieting where you ate only what you actually wanted to eat. Geneen Roth is the author of several books on this topic. I read her last book which was a best seller (Oprah again!) but although it explained the background for this way of eating, it didn't have instructions - or at least the instructions were sketchy. So I bought one of her earlier books which had more instructions.
Turns out it's a little bit more complicated than I had hoped. Yes, you only eat what you want, but only when you're hungry. So you have to learn how it feels to be hungry and stop eating on a schedule. You have to eat slowly so you'll know when you're full so you can stop eating. This is all based on the premise that your body has not forgotten what you knew as a very young child - what your foods your body needs and when it needs them. But your mind is getting in the way by giving you cravings for foods that you think will satisfy emotional needs while simultaneously telling you that you are an evil, bad person if you eat them. No wonder almost all of us are over weight!
The whole process consists of becoming aware of hunger, cravings, which is our minds and which is our bodies. A lot of work. The author says that she and the other people who practice this gain weight at first as they eat only what they want - which usually begins with something like chocolate chip cookies. Then as they learn, they realize they mostly wanted the chocolate chip cookies because they had forbidden themselves to have them. Once they let themselves have them, they really stopped craving them. Eventually they lose weight and stay at a normal weight.
Then comes the process of eating only what you want. What if you're at a restaurant and when your food comes, and you don't want it? She says - pack it up to take home and order what you do want. What if you wake up in the middle of the night really wanting an ice cream cone bad? She says if you're really sure you're hungry and not just mentally wanting it, get up and go get yourself one. If you try to eat something else, it won't satisfy you.
I love and hate this thing at the same time. It sounds like a lot more introspective work than I want to do. Time consuming. Perhaps confusingly uncertain. I love it because the idea of only eating what my body wants is such a great idea. I already have experienced the feeling of eating what my body wants and it really is a great feeling. I'm trying it now. I do hope I don't gain.