Robin Wade struggled with her weight for most of her adult life. Only when she learned to listen to her body did the pounds disappear.
A native of Louisiana, Robin was raised on a traditional "Southern diet of fried and gravy-smothered foods. Eventually, she turned her love of food and her talent for cooking into a successful career as a certified dietary manager, supervising the kitchens of restaurants in her home state.
The problem was that Robin got in the habit of taste-testing while she worked—whether or not she was hungry. And when she got home, she'd sit down to a traditional meal with her family.
Constantly being around food proved disastrous for Robin. By 1998, she was just 7 pounds shy of 300. And she was miserable.
Robin knew enough about nutrition to realize that she was not eating out of need. She was eating out of habit. A habit fed by being around tasty, delicious food all day—especially cakes and pies, since pastries were her specialty She realized that she had completely lost touch with her internal hunger cues.
Robin's weight-loss strategy turned out to be one simple promise that she made to herself. "I told myself that I would eat only when I was hungry and that I would stop when I was satisfied—not stuffed, just satisfied," she explains. This forced her to listen to her body and think about why she wanted to eat before she put food in her mouth. "If I realized that I wasn't truly hungry, I'd distract myself until the impulse passed—usually by thinking about the pounds I'd gain if I gave in," she says.
By adjusting her eating pattern and making healthier food choices, Robin was able to take off 102 pounds in about a year. She's
still working to reach her goal weight of 149 pounds. And she says her conviction to lose weight is stronger than any urge to eat. "I felt an overwhelming desire to overeat only once," she notes. "Reminding myself of my goal and focusing on my success so far is what keeps me on track." •
Listen to your body. Like Robin, I've learned to distinguish between when I'm actually hungry and when I'm just responding to the sight of tempting foods. It has made a huge difference in helping me keep my weight under control. Here's a trick that I find helpful. Before eating anything, ask yourself, "Am I really hungry?" Rate your hunger on a scale of zero to five (zero being the least hungry, five being the most). Let your body tell you how much to eat.
Weight Loss