Just over a week ago my young daughters Erin and Lottie were staying with me during their school half-term break. As it was the holidays, I was fairly relaxed about bed time and they tended to take the opportunity to stay up an hour or so later than normal. One evening, just as I was encouraging them into bed, my youngest daughter Lottie (who is 5) told me she was hungry. Being aware of what Lottie had already eaten that day and the amount of activity she had had, I was fairly certain that she wasn't really physically hungry, so I wanted to do something to discourage her from having anything else to eat so late.
"Think about elephants!" I told Lottie. She stopped open mouthed for a few seconds and then started to giggle.
"What?" she asked me.
"Think about elephants. Everyone knows you can't be hungry if you think about elephants. Try it, you'll see." I am not sure whether Lottie actually started to think about elephants, but one thing I am sure about is that she stopped asking for something to eat.
Today I was thinking about this and the fact that many of us (including myself) often mistake a mental hunger for physical hunger and because of this, weight issues are prevalent in our society. For one reason or another, we are mentally dissatisfied and we mistake this nagging dissatisfaction for hunger. We then reach for the crisps or the biscuits, the chocolate or the ice cream. We eat far too much of it because it cannot really assuage our dissatisfaction, a hunger that is mental and not physical.
I then thought to myself that if my little trick worked on Lottie, then maybe it will work for me too. So I intend to experiment with this. I could happily afford to lose a few pounds right now, and I have decided to give the Think About Elephants strategy a try over the next few weeks. I will report regularly on my progress. It might sound a bit daft, but then breakthrough ideas often sound daft to those steeped in conventional thought. I'm prepared to just give it a go and you never know!
If any readers who also fancy giving it a try, feel free to do this experiment with me. I will set out the simple instructions below.
Whenever you get the feeling that you are 'hungry', before you get anything to eat, stop for a moment.
Put one hand on your belly button and start to breathe deeply so that your abdomen expands, pushing your hand outwards.
Take ten deep breaths like this and while you are doing so, think about elephants.
After the tenth breath, focus your attention on your stomach and determine whether you can actually feel physical hunger signs.
If after doing these things you still feel you are hungry, then go ahead and get something to eat.
That's it! No cutting out certain foods. No consuming foods at which a starving rat would turn up its nose. We are simply going to harness the power of imaginary elephants.
You can either picture elephants in your mind, or just think about some elephant facts. Of course, you may want to mix it up a bit on different days by thinking about hyenas, giraffes, rhinos or wildebeest instead.
My experiment starts on Friday for 4 weeks and I will give a weekly comment about how I am faring as a comment to this article. Here's to a fat loss breakthrough!
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