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    5. Eat when you are hungry continued...

    Once you're ready to try this, start ­slowly. Begin by saying, Okay, I'm going to eat when I'm hungry once a day, and I'm going to be very kind to myself. I often say to myself, What's the kindest thing you could do for yourself right now? It's not kind to stuff your body, to walk around with that discomfort. But it's important that people understand that what they really need to do is develop a way to treat themselves with utmost kindness. And food is, in many ways, the most obvious and the easiest place to start, because we all have to eat a couple times a day. So yes, start with food. Because if you say to yourself, I'm going to eat when I'm hungry today, once today, that means you'll have to ask yourself if you're hungry. And if you're not hungry and you want to eat, then you have to ask yourself, What's really going on? It's as if your relationship with food has a story to tell you. You need the information in the story, not just to stop being compulsive about food but also to live the life you want to live. And that's possible no matter how many times you've tried, no matter how many times you believe you've failed. As long as you're above ground, it's possible.

    Geneen Roth is the author of seven books on compulsive eating. Her California retreats and workshops around the country help women explore their relationship with food.

    Originally published on April 13, 2010

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