Why Module

Lesson 5

Continuing Week 1!

During this week you will cover the first two modules of Eating Reset—PUSH RESET and WHY.   Please complete PUSH RESET first, and watch the videos in order at whatever pace is comfortable for you—then open WHY.

Also please download the attached workbook, which is an interactive PDF.  There is a workbook exercise for each video—try them!  After you complete the exercises in the PDF, you can save and/or print them for future use.   

Good luck!


Continuing Week 1!

During this week you will cover the first two modules of Eating Reset—PUSH RESET and WHY.   Please complete PUSH RESET first, and watch the videos in order at whatever pace is comfortable for you—then open WHY.

Also please download the attached workbook, which is an interactive PDF.  There is a workbook exercise for each video—try them!  After you complete the exercises in the PDF, you can save and/or print them for future use.   

Good luck!


0 thoughts on “Why Module

  1. Hey Alyse,
    I’ve been checking in with my body, like you suggest, to try and figure out when I’m physically hungry. I keep finding that when I’m up working late at night (usually around 10 or 11 pm), my hunger kicks in. Should I eat at this point? Or just go to sleep? Thanks.

    1. Please remember that there are no rules or restrictions regarding when you can or cannot eat while following the Eating Reset program. Therefore, the fact that it is 10 or 11pm at night when you are hungry is irrelevant. How much you decide to eat at this time will vary depending on how hungry you are and how long you plan on being up for. If you expect to go to bed shorty after you eat, you may not want to eat too much because you could suffer from indigestion or reflux when you lie down. However, if you plan on being up for a number of hours and have a good amount of hunger, you may want to consume a “meal’s” worth of food – even if it seems like it is late at night. You may need this meal to feel satisfied for the rest of the evening.

  2. Alyse, you talked about the different types of hunger we feel when we aren’t really “physically” hungry. Some of them are clear cut for me. Like for instance, I know that I need to stop looking to food for comfort when I’m upset. But lately, I find myself staring into the fridge looking for something to eat when I’m not hungry — and for no reason that I can think of. I’m not upset when I do this. What’s going on?

    1. This is a very common question. The truth is that there are an infinite number of reasons why we may want to turn to food without physical hunger and they may not always be obvious. You will not always be very emotional or upset, rather you may just be bored or want to procrastinate so that you don’t have to return to whatever task you feel required to do. You will not always be able to pinpoint what it is that you are feeling when you are turning to food, but you will likely realize that you just feel a bit uncomfortable and you are driven to food as a way to get rid of that discomfort. The truth is that it is not so important that you always figure out exactly what is bothering you. What is much more important is to just become aware of the instances you have no physical hunger symptoms and are still driven to eat. This awareness is a huge step in the process of cutting down on how often you turn to food for non-physical hunger reasons.

  3. Hi Alyse,

    I’ve been realizing how anxious I am when I eat and how hard it is for me to connect mindfully when I eat. I feel physical symptoms like a headache and or woozy and at times I feel like I should eat to get back on balance since I have low blood pressure- but when I’m stressed out its hard for ,me to truly distinguish whether it is hunger symptoms or just my anxiety. I often feel better and satisfied after I eat. I’m think inking of doing your short meditation when I feel like this before I eat to center and ground myself before I eat and to know if I am really hungry. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions with this?

    1. This is a great question! First and foremost, it is important that you work with your physician and follow his/her recommendations for treating your low blood pressure. This will benefit your health; and make it much easier for you to out-rule low blood pressure as the root cause of your symptoms (headache, wooziness, etc.).

      As for the different levels of physical hunger, when you get to the point that you have a headache and/or feel woozy, there is a good chance that you have let your hunger get into the “1-2” hunger level zone…which is not ideal. You may have a tough time hearing the earlier signs of physical hunger if you have not been paying attention and responding to them for some time. When they are ignored for long enough, they become silenced. A good way to get back in tune with a “3” hunger level and to start hearing it again is to try to check in with your hunger every hour or so throughout the day and just note how you feel. This doesn’t mean you have to eat every hour. Just check in! This will allow you to start noticing some of the earlier signs of stomach hunger, and do something about them before you drop to a 1 or 2 on the hunger scale.

      As for distinguishing between anxiety-induced hunger and true physical hunger, this can be hard at first, but a few tips that might help you are the following:

      1) Before you eat, remember to use the fruit test – if a piece of fruit is not so appealing, then try to engage in an anxiety reducing exercise/activity instead of eating right away. The breathing meditations are a great option! Other activities that are effective in alleviating anxiety include baths (I suggest using lavender products for an added calming benefit), yoga… even just a short video will do the trick; journaling of your thoughts/feelings, short walks, or calling friends you feel comfortable confiding in.

      2) Really try to pinpoint where your hunger is coming from. Often times, anxiety induced hunger is felt more in the upper part of the stomach where the stomach and the esophagus connect or even higher up in the esophagus where heartburn is typically felt. On the other hand, physical hunger is usually felt more in the stomach (think a tightening, churning or emptiness sensation in the stomach). If you think the hunger is located higher up, then again, try to engage in a non-food, stress reducing activity for at least 15-20 minutes BEFORE turning to food. If you still feel hunger afterwards, then you can always try eating to see if it alleviates the hunger symptoms.

      3) Focus on how you feel after eating. Typically, if you have true physical hunger, after eating you will feel better! If the food satisfies you, you were likely physically hungry. On the flip side, if you are just feeling anxious and you eat, you will not likely feel satisfied afterwards. But be warned: if you are experiencing anxiety-induced heartburn, then food may provide a soothing feeling, even in the absence of true hunger. It’s important to remember that eating will not alleviate the anxiety because it is not solving the underlying problem at the root of your stress. As a result, you typically won’t feel totally satisfied after eating in these situations.

      Hopefully this response helps you a bit. Please let me know if I can answer any other questions you have!

  4. Hi Alyse,
    I also have noticed it is hard for me to eat mindfully when I am having dinner with others or a friend. I attended a couple of dinner parties over the weekend and I found myself going back into old patterns of not paying attention to my food when I ate. Do you have any suggestions or strategies when eating out to celebrate or having meals with others?

    1. Eating with others can make it especially difficult to stay mindful while in a restaurant setting or at a party. A few tips that can help are the following:

      *Don’t go into the meal ravenous. Check in with your hunger regularly throughout the day and even up to 30-60 minutes prior to the meal. Make sure to always honor your hunger. If you notice you are at a “3” hunger level and you have not even arrived at the restaurant or party, it is a good idea to take the edge off with a snack. Depending on how close the next planned meal is, you can alter the amount of food you eat to manage your hunger. Remember – anytime you go into a meal starving, you are setting yourself up to overeat.

      *Make sure to set a mental target of how you want to feel when you are finished eating BEFORE you take even one bite! By setting your intention – even if this is just to say that you want to come out of the meal feeling no more than comfortably full and that you don’t have to eat everything in front of you – you will be much more likely to stay mindful while eating.

      *Create visual divisions on your plate as a reminder to regularly check in with your hunger and ask yourself whether or not you are still enjoying the food throughout the meal.

      *Practice putting your fork down while you are chewing food OR while you are in the middle of a conversation. This will help you to NOT multitask – if you are in the middle of a conversation, you will not be able to focus on your food.

      *If you are at a party where food is set out on tables for you to take, don’t stand within arm’s reach of the food. Doing so will encourage mindless eating. This is especially true if you are talking to someone who is right next to the food table or you are not excited to be at the party or are uncomfortable and are using food as a distraction.

      *When you are eating out to celebrate, remember that the purpose of the meal is to be with others and celebrate a special occasion, it is not just about the food. But even more importantly, overeating is not going to bring you more satisfaction or enjoyment. Remember the law of diminishing returns applies to food: you will get 90% of the satisfaction from a meal in the first 10% that you eat! So savor each bite and remind yourself that you don’t have to finish it all! You can always bring some home or come back another day to enjoy it again.

      *Lastly, be mindful of the alcohol. If you choose to drink, really sip and savor it – don’t just mindlessly knock them back. Just because you start drinking a glass of wine or beer or cocktail, you don’t have to finish it! Be aware of when you go from savoring each sip to just finishing the glass.

      Hopefully these tips help you stay mindful during your next social meal out!

  5. Great Videos! One question I keep coming back to is breakfast. There is a loud nutrition message that we should always eat breakfast, but what if I do not wake up hungry?

    1. You are so right – there is a very loud message out there saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and “you should always eat a balanced breakfast as soon as you get up”. However, many people, yourself included, do NOT always feel physically hungry as soon as they get up. If this is the case, you should NOT force yourself to eat first thing in the morning. It may take a few hours to start registering any symptoms of hunger and there is nothing wrong with waiting until then to eat! As I always say, you want to eat according to your own hunger rhythm, NOT according to some external rules or schedule.

      With that said, it is important to realize two things:

      1)Physical hunger can sometimes feel different in the morning compared to the rest of the day. Oftentimes, you may not have a real grumbling or churning sensation in your stomach when you wake up. Though if you don’t eat within a few hours of getting up you may start to feel sluggish, low energy or even have a “foggy” head. These may all be symptoms of physical hunger. If you eat when you start feeling this way and the symptoms go away and you feel better, then it is very likely that you were physically hungry. You don’t want to force yourself to wait to eat until you have a growling stomach in the morning because that may push you into the extreme hunger zone if you do this and set you up to overeat.

      2) You have to consider your schedule. Not everyone has the flexibility to sit down and eat a few hours after getting up. You may be at your job and not be able to put your work aside to eat so quickly after you arrive. If this is the case, then you could play around with eating something very light right before work so that you will be carried over until a time when you do have the opportunity to take a break and eat again while at work.

  6. Hi Alyse!
    I am finishing up the Why section and probably will be done by tomorrow. I got started late because I was moving right after I signed up for the program. Right now, I have been really good at stopping before I am uncomfortably full and no longer having a set diet and set “cheat meals” which would lead me to binge all in one day. My one problem is still dealing with cravings and snacking sometimes when I’m not physically hungry. Even though I am aware now of what I’m doing, I sometimes will still snack. I am hoping to find more tools in the upcoming modules!

    Thank you!

    1. So glad to hear that you are doing so well and making so much progress so early in the program! The behavioral changes you are working on can really be difficult to make in the beginning. As for your issue of eating when you are not physically hungry, this habit can definitely take some time to break. The first step is recognizing that you are eating for a reason other than physical hunger – which you are already starting to do. When you still turn to food in these instances, try to stay as present as possible during the snack/meal (you will be given a ton of tips on how to do this in the HOW module). When you eat without physical hunger, the food never tastes as good as when you eat it when hungry and this will become very apparent when you start eating more mindfully. Also, if you work on staying present while you eat instead of using the food as a distraction or a way to numb yourself from some uncomfortable feeling, it will no longer be doing it’s “job”. For example, eating ice cream on the couch while watching tv after dinner can be very appealing for many and make one believe they are “addicted” to eating ice cream in the evening. However, when I tell them they can still eat the ice cream but they have to eat it sitting down at a table with no distractions (ie. tv, computer, etc), it is not nearly as appealing. By figuring out WHY you are turning to food in these instances (are you bored, stressed, tired, lonely, procrastinating, rewarding yourself, etc), you can better meet your true needs and not have to always turn to food as a way to cope.

      With all of that said, remember that there is nothing wrong with occasionally eating without any physical hunger. In these instances, you just want to eat as mindfully as you can and remember that a few bites of the food can give you a lot of enjoyment but polishing off a large portion with no hunger can leave you feeling uncomfortably full.

  7. Second question: Do you have any tips or strategies to deal with cravings when a female has her monthly friend? 🙂 Thanks!

    1. During the time of the month when you are experiencing pre-menstrual symptoms (PMS), you may feel like you have an increased appetite and cravings for certain foods. This is completely normal and makes perfect sense since your body actually has increased calorie and nutrient needs during this time. Unfortunately, this is a time when many women are prone to ignoring their body’s signals. Since they may feel more bloated and heavy due to fluid retention, they may feel like they should be eating less if they are trying to lose weight! This won’t work though. For most in this situation, ignoring their increased hunger needs and trying to restrict their intake just leads to overeating in the end. The biological drive to eat more and meet ones needs becomes too strong. This is a perfect example of how listening to your body’s cues of hunger instead of putting external restrictions on your intake is so important! Another interesting fact is that during this time of the month, your magnesium needs increase greatly. Naturally, your body will crave more foods sources that are rich in magnesium. What is a very rich source of magnesium? Cocoa beans!! No wonder why chocolate is a food many women crave when they are PMSing.

      So, to help you deal with your cravings at this time, try the following:
      1) Really listen closely to your body’s needs. If you feel physically hungry more throughout the day, honor that hunger and eat without the guilt! Try having a few extra snacks on hand throughout the day or even an additional meal.
      2) Focus in on what types of foods will really satisfy you. You will get a lot of tips on how to do this in the HOW module. If you are craving a burger and fries (not a chicken salad) or some chocolate (not a bowl of fruit), go for it! Focus in on just eating a portion that will satisfy your craving and leave you no more than comfortably full.
      3) If you feel like you are retaining a lot of water, try drinking a little more than usual. Doing so will help to flush out the extra sodium that your body is retaining.
      4) If you want to try other food sources that are rich in magnesium (instead of just always turning to chocolate) you can try: spinach, pumpkin seeds, soy beans, brown rice, avocado, yogurt and figs

  8. Thanks for this module, Alyse. I haven’t heard anyone describe my eating habits this well! Multiple people have told me that you don’t register fullness for 20 minutes. The big question for me is- how can you tell when the right time is to take a 20 minute break if you can’t tell how full you are yet?

    1. It is true that it can take about 20 minutes to register a feeling of fullness after you eat. Therefore, at first it may seem difficult to know when you should stop eating if it only takes 10-15 minutes for you to finish a meal. A few things to think about that can help you determine the right time to stop eating:

      1) While you are eating, try to take a break at a point where you are no longer hungry and you start to notice a comfortable sensation of food in your stomach – NOT when you are full. This can be hard at first because it is a very subjective feeling, however with practice you will get really good at it! In the beginning, you may stop eating a little too early in a meal and notice that 20 minutes later you are still a little hungry or not quite satisfied. And other times you may have a few bites too many and end up feeling a little more than comfortably full 20 minutes later. Soon enough though, these mindful check-ins during and after your meals will help you to figure out exactly how you want to feel when you stop eating so that you end up feeling no more than comfortably full 20 minutes later.
      2) Notice changes in your eating pace. If you start eating faster or slower part way through a meal it may be because you have had enough. If you begin to just shovel in the remainder of your meal to “get it over with” OR you seem less interested in the food on your plate, you are likely no longer hungry.
      3) Slow down and be more mindful while you eat. The HOW module will give you plenty of tools to do this so that you can maximize the enjoyment you get from a meal without over-eating.

  9. I’ve actually noticed myself listening to my hunger a lot more and feeling less guilty about breaking my own “food rules.” I have more of a sense of mindfulness when I eat and don’t feel as crazy around my “forbidden foods.” While I used to consider myself a balanced eater, I was still following rules that I disguised as “guidelines” but really they were still making me feel deprived and sometimes I’d mess up and just eat a bunch and then go back to my plan. For example, I used to have a rule that I could only eat 2 “bad carbs” per day (bread, pasta, sweets…) and I couldn’t even go a bite over this limit. Now I let myself have that bite when I want to, and, I guess to no surprise at all, I don’t feel the need to eat a lot of it whereas before if I was letting myself have the “bad carb” it was all or nothing and I was eating an entire portion. For example, today I’d already had 3 “bad carbs” (toast in the morning, a few ginger snaps mid-morning, and some sweet potato fries at lunch) but then at dinner I really wanted a few more fries. So I just warmed up a few fries in addition to my salad+fruit dinner and that’s all I needed! I savored each fry 🙂 Even though I’m eating more carbs than before and breaking all my previous rules, I’m feeling comfortably full more of the time compared to pretty hungry and then really full as I used to feel. Also in the past, if I broke my rule of eating after dinner, I’d usually have a full meal right before bed and then wake up feeling bloated, whereas now I’ll have a little snack if I’m hungry and wake up feeling hungry for breakfast, which is a nice change! Thanks Alyse! 🙂

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