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Leonora eats more, loses more

To lose weight without constantly fighting against your body's survival instincts, it's essential that you eat enough.

If you don't eat enough as you lose weight, your body goes into a protracted Famine Reaction that makes you crave fattening foods, slows your metabolism and primes your body for storing fat.

So, what does it mean to eat enough?

One aspect of eating enough is to eat when you feel physically hungry.

Most people don't have any troubles allowing themselves to eat when they feel hungry. In fact, the biggest challenge people have in this aspect of eating enough is to ensure that they don't overdo it by not waiting until they feel hungry before eating or drinking a meal or snack.

The other aspect of eating enough is to ensure that you feel genuinely satisfied when you finish eating.

When I help women to lose weight by connecting with their body, I often notice that they are reluctant to eat until they feel satisfied for fear of putting on weight.

This fear is ungrounded.

If you don't eat enough at a meal or snack to satisfy your hunger, you never fully extinguish your desire to eat.

You find yourself thinking excessively about food and dreaming of all the things you'd like to eat.

You feel on edge and irritable because one of your body's most basic of needs has been left unmet.

You find it difficult to resist snacks, especially energy-dense treats such as chocolate or biscuits.

On the other hand, when you allow yourself to continue your meals and snacks until you feel genuinely satisfied, things are completely different.

You're better able to relax and get on with your life without constantly thinking about food.

You feel much less inclined to reach for snacks when you don't feel hungry.

Overindulging on large quantities of foods that make you feel bad about yourself rapidly becomes a thing of the past.

The result? you lose weight more effectively.

If you're just starting your journey of losing weight by connecting with your body, then using a Success Diary to track your hunger and satiety signals as I describe in my book The Don't Go Hungry Diet will ensure you eat enough to keep your Famine Reaction at bay, but not so much that you don't lose weight.

Tracking your body's hunger and satiety signals takes just a few minutes a day, but it makes all the difference to your results, as you will read in Leonora's e-mails below.

From: Leonora
Sent: Saturday 17th May 2008 8:56:59 PM
To: Dr Amanda Sainsbury-Salis
Subject: Finally relief from the famine reaction!!

Hi Amanda,

I was in your workshop on 10 May in Melbourne and although I had sort of started following your principles before the workshop, once I started entering details into the diary a remarkable thing happened. For the first time in many years I stopped being constantly hungry! I have spent years either completely denying my hunger or being in a state of constant extreme hunger and it has finally stopped. In only a week!

I hope I stay this way. I am certainly going to continue using the diary for a while to make sure everything is working. I am eating less and feeling completely satisfied.

So I'm looking forward to finally shedding these kilos!

Thank you


In a reply e-mail, I asked Leonora to keep me posted of her progress.

From: Dr Amanda Sainsbury-Salis
Sent: Monday 19th May 2008 8:51 PM
To: Leonora
Subject: Re: Finally relief from the famine reaction!!

Dear Leonora,

It is marvelous to hear of your great experiences in just 1 week, and I encourage you to keep going in eating enough to satisfy your hunger. What is also great to see is that when you started allowing yourself to eat enough to keep your hunger at bay, you started eating less while feeling completely satisfied. What a power it is to feed one's body's needs rather than denying them. You are now working with your marvelous body instead of against it.

When you look in your hunger column, do you see all -2s and -3s? I encourage you to strive for that, so that when you weigh in again after your first 2 weeks of using your Success Diary you will see good results.

Will you let me know how you get on at your first fortnightly weigh-in? I'd love to hear your news.



Dr Amanda
Connect with your body

Thirteen days after she came to my workshop, Leonora wrote to let me know of her excellent results.

From: Leonora
Sent: Friday, 23 May 2008 12:26 PM
To: Dr Amanda Sainsbury-Salis
Subject: Re: Finally relief from the famine reaction!!

Hi Amanda

Today I weighed myself (I know you said once a month but I couldn't resist) and I've lost another .5 kilo (1.5 in total since your workshop).

I do have mostly -2 and -3's and +2 and +3's but there are occasions when I've misjudged how much I need and ended up at a very uncomfortable +4 - however, it's not taking me long to get the hang of how much I really feel like. There are also occasions where I've ended up with a -4 due to not being able to get to food and this is a very destructive place to be.

I'm hoping that the inclusion of exercise will increase my weight loss - even slightly. I was 108 kilos when I started and I think a healthy weight for me would be around 65 kilos. I'd accept 70 kilos if that was the best I could maintain.



Leonora's experience shows how effective it is to let go and allow yourself to eat until you feel satisfied. Rather than leading to weight gain as you may expect, it actually helps you to lose weight by decreasing your interest in food.

I trust that Leonora's story will inspire you to write down your own hunger and satiety signals until you become an expert at losing weight by eating enough.

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What our readers say...

"hi amanda, I bought your book couple of days back, and now that ive finished it, i want to say thank you and share my experience so that it can help others in this "once-exhausting" journey towards maintaining one's weight. I have been in australia for the past 3 years. During my first 4 months, i had put on 10 kg. I went back to my home country, exercised, ate properly and lost these extra kilos. However, for the last 3 years i have been struggling to maintain my weight . I have never really been overweight , and during my the past three years my weight has been fluctuating from 55 to 60 kg. the funny thing is that everytime i would go back home to be on holidays, i just would not understand how come i lost weight while eating everything i wanted. When ill come back to australia, although ill diet more than i use to at home durings my holiday, although ill exercise like crazy here in australia, i would still put on some weight. i first thought that it might have something to do with the food at home and the food in australia. I also thought that it might have something to do with the weather or climate or even temperature. However, after reading your book, i understandd what it was all about. The answer was that went i went home for holidays, ill just forget about dieting, and ill just eat the proper food whenever ill feel like, and ill eat the amount i felt like, so as to feel just satisfied or "elegantly" satisfied. i went back home over the summer holidays, for 3 months, and lost weight. I came back and bought your book and got all my answers for all the questions ive been asking myself for the past 3 years. I just want to say thank you, and i hope that this message might help others. "

- Shazeea Maharaullee, Monash University, Victoria