After years on the diet regime and never getting anywhere, I'd like to say that I am now doing this very different weight management program to help me control my emotional eating and end that vicous "dieting" cycle! Anyway, I thought I would share some great tips from the program with everyone. The program directors are counselling me to become a "mindful" eater, which is a term I really like. All the help they give me is focussed on me rather than good versus bad food! What a pleasant change. You know, I just find that there are so many unqualifed experts out there that are just so aggressive in their weight loss message. It's great to finally find some help from genuine people that really care about me and my health situation. Anyway I hope you enjoy these tips, and that they help you in someway!
Here are their top tips for becoming a mindful eater and enjoying better health:
1. Reject the diet mentality – Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you the false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently.
2. Make peace with food – Call a truce and stop the food fight. Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often bingeing. When you finally give in to your forbidden foods, eating will be experienced with such intensity it usually results in the last supper overeating and overwhelming guilt.
3. Challenge your old beliefs – Say “no” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re ‘good’ for eating under 250 kilojoules, or ‘bad’ because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. These unreasonable food rules have been created from years of dieting that have created these dysfunctional beliefs. These beliefs are found deep in your psyche that give rise to negative thoughts, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Removing the unreasonable food rules from your life is a critical step in returning to normal eating.
4. Honour your hunger – Keep your body fed biologically with adequate energy and healthy carbohydrates. Otherwise, you can trigger a primal drive to overeat.
5. Feel your fullness – Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of eating and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current fullness level is.
6. Discover the satisfaction – In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence – the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had enough.
7. Cope with your emotions without using food – Find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort you for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problems. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.
8. Respect your body – Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect realistically to squeeze into a size six, it is equally futile to have a similar expectation about body size. Respect your body so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical of your body shape.
9. Exercise and feel the difference – Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the energy-burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out (such as being energised), it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk, or just hitting the snooze alarm. If when you wake up your goal is to lose weight, it’s usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time.
10. Honour your health with gentle nutrition – Make food choices that honour your health and taste buds while making you feel good. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters. Progress, not perfection, is what counts.
Good luck and good health everyone!