It’s that time of year again when you may be thinking that it’s time to get fit and healthy and lose those extra pounds. To help you I have put together a few handy ideas; some you may know, some you may not but hopefully it will help to give you that kick start you need to get fit for the up and coming year.
Find a diet plan that suits you
I’m sure you are well aware that there are foods that are regarded as good for your health and others that are poor for your health. The more good foods you eat and the less bad foods, then the healthier your body shall be. However, it is still important to make sure you are not eating too much of the healthy food if you want to lose weight.
Everybody is different and there are plenty of diets that can help such as paleo, low carb, 5:2 etc. so find something that suits you. You can download my diet plan here which many of my clients have had great success with.
When following a weight loss programme it is helpful to plan your meals, to make sure
you get a good range of nutrients and to keep your food interesting and tasty. You may find it helpful to go through your recipe books and write down in a little notebook the meals that you like e.g. the title, the name of the recipe book, page number, and ingredients. Build on the list so that when you plan your meals for the week you already have a quick and easy reference to what you might like. Once a week get into the habit of planning the meals you are going to have for the week and buying in the ingredients you need.
There are many reasons why you eat, the main reason is of course because you are hungry. The problem occurs when you eat for the wrong reasons; you may eat because you are bored, depressed, sad, lonely, unhappy; this is called emotional eating. Identifying and becoming aware of when you eat emotionally can bring you one step closer to overcoming this habit. Keep an emotional eating diary to identify all of the reasons why you eat. Once you have done this you can then come up with ideas on what you can do instead of eating in future to support you emotionally.
Mindless Eating vs Mindful Eating
Mindfulness seems to be the buzz word at the moment but what does it mean and what’s it got to do with eating? Mindless eating is when you eat without really being aware of what you are doing. How often do you:
Eat when you’re not hungry?
You eat something you don’t really want?
Eat until it’s all gone rather than stopping when you’re full?
Eat whilst watching tv, talking, “on the go”, thinking about something else?
Eating in this way can cause overeating and lead to weight gain.
Mindful Eating is when you are paying full attention to your body, to what it actually wants and being totally in the moment whilst eating. If you have established that you are truly hungry then think about what your mind, body, stomach want? Remember to choose food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.
Whilst eating remain mindful:
Sit down, turn off the TV/phone/radio
Eat slowly and savour the moment and the experience of eating
Use your senses to the full, notice the sight, smell, taste, texture, temperature
Chew your food well
Put your knife and fork down between each mouthful
Constantly check in with your body to see whether you are full yet
Most importantly stop eating when you are full
People who eat slowly are more likely to recognise when they are full and stop eating before they have finished. Taking these things into consideration can help you change your relationship with food.
Experiments suggest that dish size influences how much we eat. Many of us are conditioned to stop eating once the plate is empty rather than when we are full, so the bigger the plate the more you eat. People who are naturally slim are in tune with their stomachs for the majority of the time they only eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full and they don’t use food to support themselves emotionally.
Therefore try serving your meals on a smaller plate then you will automatically stop when the plate of food is finished and eat less. If after 20 minutes you will still feel hungry then by all means have some more, it’s not about depriving yourself or going hungry.
Do you eat like Pavlov’s dogs?
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was a Russian physiologist who ran an experiment on body conditioning. Every time he fed his dogs he would ring a bell beforehand. After a while the dogs came to recognise that if the bell rang they knew it was feeding time and they would start salivating even before the food was presented.
Even though you don’t need a bell to make you start salivating there are still so many external influences that can cause you to salivate and crave food. Have you noticed how there are times when you see a food advert, a cooking program, a picture of food, somebody else eating or notice the smell of food and you suddenly start salivating and want to eat? Next time this happens ask yourself “Am I actually hungry?”. Don’t just think food and eat.
Be kind to yourself
If you are overweight, you may be like many others and say unhelpful and unloving things to yourself in the hope that in some strange way by punishing yourself in this way it will act as leverage and make you adhere to a healthy eating regime. Unfortunately treating yourself in this way simply causes low self-worth, low self-esteem, makes you feel bad about yourself and more likely to turn to food for some comfort.
If you find that there are negative things that you say to yourself on a regular basis it is important to interrupt this habitual pattern and replace it with positive ideas. Make a list of all of the things you like about yourself, all of your great qualities and strengths, all of your achievements and every day remind yourself of these things. Focusing on your good qualities can help in the following ways:
I appreciate that right now you may be experiencing self-loathing/hatred but you need to start somewhere so start now!
Be clear on what you want and why
Being clear on what you want and reminding yourself on a daily basis can really make a difference to your success. Make a list of all of the advantages of eating healthy and being slim, how it will benefit you, how good it will feel/look/sound etc. Now make another list of all the disadvantages of eating unhealthily and being overweight, how would it feel/look/sound etc. Now every day read both lists, preferably in the morning, read the unhealthy list first and when you read it think of it in terms of a black and white image, give it a heavy feeling, unhappy sounds/words/music. Then read the healthy list and whilst reading it add colours, give it a light, free, easy feeling, and add happy sounds/words/music. Read both lists twice more making sure you finish on the healthy list and carry this idea around with you all day. You can read the healthy list more than once in the day to keep the ideas there in your mind as a constant reminder as to why you want to lead a healthy life and lose weight.
Have you made the common mistake in the past of trying to make major changes in your life all at once, only to find that you soon got back into your old ways again? When making major changes in your life you will experience greater success by doing things gradually. Try making a list of the unhealthy habits that you have and then come up with ideas on how you can replace them with healthy ones. Pick a few that you think you can achieve and make a concerted effort to stick to them over the next few weeks. Every time you manage to adhere to these changes, congratulate yourself. Once these changes have become automatic then introduce some more and keep building on your success in this way. Research shows that making small easy changes to habits on a consistent basis can lead to sustainable weight loss.
Hypnotherapy to help change outdated beliefs
As you go through life you are constantly learning. As a child your brain was like a sponge, constantly absorbing information so you could learn fast. When you were young your parents may have literally fed you ideas about food and eating that are still now affecting the way you eat as an adult:
“Eat all of your food, think of all the starving children in Africa”
“You’re not leaving the table until it’s all gone”
“Eat all of your food, there’s a good girl/boy”
Or your parents may have used food as a pacifier for when you were upset. You may still hold the belief now that food is a good comforter which makes you automatically turn to food when you are feeling down.
Ideas and beliefs that you have developed from childhood may be unconsciously holding you back in your endeavours to be healthy, and this is where hypnotherapy can help. Under hypnosis a therapist can help uncover your unhealthy ideas about food. Once these beliefs have been identified it is then possible to change those old unhelpful beliefs around to new helpful, healthy beliefs. By changing your beliefs in this way you will then find it easier to go forward in life without these old beliefs holding you back anymore.