It was important for Emilia to learn how to regularize her eating by sticking to three meals and three snacks a day—before she started dieting. I demonstrated how important this skill is (pages 89-93), by asking Emilia to set aside one day where she would make a note every time she wanted to eat when it wasn’t a meal time or snack time. This is what she recorded:


·         when I stopped to buy coffee right after breakfast (the muffins looked good)

·         when Eric offered me a donut (he brought a box to work)

·         when I finished my mid-morning snack and wanted to keep eating

·         when I didn’t feel like entering data into a chart

·         when I got back from lunch and saw leftover pizza in the kitchenette

·         when I was feeling tired around 4 pm

·         when I saw hard candy on Cynthia’s desk

·         when I went to the kitchenette to get a soda

·         as soon as I opened the door to my apartment

·         as I was making dinner

·         as I was clearing the dishes and putting away food after dinner

·         as I was watching television and saw an ice cream commercial

·         when I was leafing through a magazine and saw a recipe

·         after I had an upsetting conversation with my sister on the phone

·         when I went into the kitchen to look at the mail

·         when I was doing email


Emilia was amazed at how often she had a desire to eat, even when she clearly wasn’t hungry. This experience demonstrated to her how important it was to have a clear guideline: if she wanted to eat, she had to wait for the next meal or snack. Eating when she “felt” like it would definitely lead to weight gain, as it always had in the past. She felt regret over giving up spontaneous eating but recognized that if she wanted to achieve her goal of permanent weight loss, it was necessary.