Overcoming the Compulsion to Overeat by Jerry Rothstein
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I happened on "eating air" when searching for a way to avoid compulsive visits to the kitchen to forage for food. It works for me not only to stop snacking but also to stop eating two servings per meal instead of one, piling on food on the buffet line, even avoiding buying junk food in the supermarket,. I also found it to be very successful in easily accomplishing a ten day fast. After the fast, “eating air” enabled me to continue losing weight till I reached my ideal weight, and to maintain it thereafter. Eating air works for me anytime I want to derail the impulse for food.
"Eating air" of course is a misnomer because air is neither chewed nor swallowed. It is "eating" in the sense of taking nourishment into the body i.e. air into the lungs. Though not technically a "nutrient" try living without it. Whatever you call it, if it works for you as it does for me, it will quench your desire to eat each and every time that the desire to eat grabs hold of your thinking, whether it be snacking, extra portions, buying junk food at the supermarket etc.
There's an additional bonus to "eating air" i.e, oxygenation of body, blood and brain, with all its benefits for health and well being. Breathing is good for you, It's life enhancing. Until you have difficulty doing it, you don't realize that its life's greatest pleasure. Don't take it for granted. You may in fact find that for your whole life you've been barely breathing until you "eat air." Talk to someone with emphysema, and thank God every day that you can fill your lungs.
Consider the compulsion to eat a blessing in disguise because it may be the only opportunity you give yourself throughout the day to really breathe. The more you want to eat, the more you breathe, and the more you breathe, the less you want to eat. Health benefits are derived both from breathing more and eating less. I didn't realize how shallow I breathed and how good I could feel until I started "eating air," and maintaining my desired weight.
I urge you to try "eating air". You'll know quickly enough if it's your "cup of air" or not. Here it is:
Eating air starts with the thought of food bringing on the desire to eat. When that happens overcome it, displace it, replace it, delete it, by "eating air" in the following manner.
1. Exhale deeply i.e. until you are empty of air and your stomach is sucked in.
2. Inhale deeply i.e. breath into your chest and abdomen so that your chest expands and your belly protrudes. Inhale through your nose or mouth or both simultaneously, whichever suits you.
It's as if your filling a two part chamber: the chest, and the belly. What you are actually doing is fully filling your lungs, which is "fulfilling" in more ways than one. Inhale through your nose or mouth, whichever suits you.
3. Exhale as in #1.
4. Repeat until your desire to eat at that moment evaporates.
The next time the desire for food takes hold, be it seconds, minutes or hours later, do 1-4 again. Breathe away the desire to eat every time it occurs, as many times as it occurs. Let "eating air" displace the desire to snack until you are ready to eat your meal, and then use it to eat less at meal time.
I found that two breathing cycles was sufficient for me to dispel the desire to eat until the next time it appeared. It may or may not be so for you so do what it takes to work for you. If you need to do numerous repetitions, sit down, as eating too much air will make you light headed. If you're in a place where you can't sit down, start with #2, and if don't breathe into your belly. Learn from experience.
There are other details you can utilize involving holding and counting but it's not necessary unless you find it useful. Try to keep it simple. If more technique is necessary, I can be reached at the e-mail address below.
Simply put, I overrule the compulsive urge to eat by substituting air for food via deep chest and belly breathing. I don't know why it works but it surely works for me and may work for you.
The greatest obstacle to success is not that "eating air" won't work for you, but that you don't do it every time you are about to act on the desire for food. lt can not work if you do not do it. How do you overcome this pitfall? EAT AIR!
There are other weight control measures that can be utilized for weight control along with "eating air," but nothing else has the immediate impact of reducing food intake. Here's what else you can do in conjunction with "eating air" that will benefit your weight and health goals:
- Keep a pitcher of water (filtered preferred) or herb tea in the refrigerator and bottled water in the pantry. If "eating air" doesn't completely quell the compulsion and you find yourself in front of an open refrigerator or pantry door ready to reach in for something to eat, you may still quench the compulsion by consuming water instead. It is desirable to drink 8 glasses of water a day (a half-gallon) which your eating compulsion can help you achieve. Your overeating compulsion becomes another "blessing in disguise." (I'll bet you never realized how lucky you are being overweight.) Do you know that some people experience thirst as hunger. Drinking water may quench both your thirst and your hunger. You can't do too much of it, in fact the more you do the better it is for you (unless for some reason your doctor tells you otherwise). Just as full breathing [chest and belly] is so good for you, so is drinking lots of water.
- Shopping is the first line of defense. Don't bring into the house those foods which support weight gain. "Eat air" when shopping to resist buying those food that don't support your weight loss/weight maintenance regimen.
- Eat slowly by chewing slowly and fully, and putting your fork down each time you put food into your mouth. It takes 20 about minutes of eating to feel full. Eating slowly for 20 minutes will make you feel as full as if you stuffed yourself for 10 minutes, and you'll have eaten much less.
- Eat a plate of food, rather than serving yourself "family style" from dishes of food placed on the table, which invite refills.
- Make it a point to exercise daily, if nothing more than walking fast. Walk around the block to the car in your driveway.
- Fast one day a week. "Eating air" makes it easy.
- If possible, don't eat after 6pm because after that your digestive system is sluggish and isn't digesting food as well.
P.S. Try "eating air" as
your initial approach to weight loss. It works for me may help you quell your
impulse to head toward the refrigerator/pantry. At a minimum, it is intended to
derail your desire to eat between meals, and to eat less at meals as well.
Dr.Ted's goal is to help people lose weight and maintain the weight loss, by using any way that works, with or without orthodontic jaw wiring. I contributed my success story because Dr. Ted urged me to share it on his website.
If orthodontic jaw wiring is necessary, choose Dr.Ted because he is the first/only professional in the nation to develop a jaw-wiring-for-weight-loss protocol.
If you are already in orthodontic jaw wiring treatment, try "eating air" during the 3-5 day "release-the- wiring- and-exercise periods." If it works, use it to maintain desired weight once the treatment is concluded.
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