There are three main reasons why you may overeat and/or choose unhealthy foods…
- You are unable to recognise and manage your emotions about food
- You completely lack awareness of your body’s hunger cues and fullness
- You actually don’t know what to eat in order to lose weight and/or be healthy
I suppose there is a fourth reason – and that is that you just don’t care. This one probably doesn’t apply if you’re reading this.
If you have struggled with diet and exercise for your whole life you probably struggle with understanding hunger cues, how your emotions drive your movement and eating decisions, and how stress impacts your body.
People who have success with weight loss are AWARE of their decisions, what they are doing, and how they are feeling.
They are not overly obsessed with what they eat, but are able to make mostly healthy choices most of the time. They enjoy the foods that they really love and say “no” to foods that they don’t at least most of the time
So, how do you get to this place?
Well there are tips and tactics – and I will share a couple below – but the reality is you need to start ACTING the way you would if you had already reached your goal.
You must take action before it ever FEELS natural.
So, if your goal is to lose 15kg (or whatever) and feel happy and confident in your body, you have to start taking those actions NOW.
You have to eat how you would eat if you had already lost the weight, you have to do the things that you would do to maintain your goal, and you have to visualise how you would feel happy and confident.
It is kind of like bringing home a new baby. It feels completely foreign and scary and overwhelming. You know that you are supposed to feed and bathe the baby, and change the dirty nappies and all of the other things that new babies entail. So, you do them.
You probably don’t do them perfectly. You fumble through the actions of parenting and it doesn’t feel natural.
You have a night where that baby just won’t stop crying and you think you must just be the worst parent ever.
But you don’t give up. You don’t take that baby back to the hospital. You continue to do all of the things. And eventually, over time, changing a nappy that once took you multiple attempts is now done in a few seconds. You don’t even think twice about getting the your baby dressed or feeding him anymore.
Overtime, it becomes easier and you just naturally do what you need to do.
Because you were performing all of the actions before it felt right, it made it really easy to step into the role of parenting… over time.
When you perform the actions that you know you need to perform in order to eat healthy and live your best life, it will feel unnatural and awkward and uncomfortable at first.
You may not feel like yourself. You will have to overthink things and make conscious choices about stuff you previously never thought about.
But if you keep doing the things that you know you need to do, they will eventually become natural.
You won’t think twice about which item to order on the menu or what to eat while on holidays.
You will be able to choose a healthy option most of the time and also know when it is worth indulging every now and then.
And that is how you make healthy eating and healthy living a LIFESTYLE, not a quick fix or a six week meal plan or the latest fad diet.
Ok, so now for some tips and tactics….
Know how much and when to eat
Many people experience fullness and hunger at the extremes (starving or stuffed). The first thing to do is to learn to not eat too much at a sitting (xmas aside😀)
Practice feeling and acknowledging hunger without going right to a food choice you will later regret – learn to navigate the middle ground between starving and stuffed and manage your hunger.
Learn what foods are actually delicious and which are not. What is really going to be worth it and what isn’t.
Aim to eat to be about 80% full after a meal.
Then – before eating more – ask yourself if you could wait 20 minutes before deciding if you are truly still hungry.
AND, guess what?
You can be hungry sometimes. It’s okay to feel hungry.
In fact, you should be hungry more often than full if you want to lose weight.
Many times we are eating so frequently and eat so much, we don’t even know what hunger feels like anymore.
And when you are not hungry, stop eating or don’t eat at all.
Cut down (or totally remove) processed foods
To crave nutritious food, you must eat mostly nutritious food.
Manufactured, processed and sugary foods make you want more processed and sugary foods – and less nutritious food!
They are purposefully made to be addictive.
Processed foods are pre-packaged items that you typically find in the supermarket that have been modified from their original, whole-food form.
Processed foods are made in some sort of factory and often have a lot of added sugar (but not always).
Preservatives have usually been added and the original natural food has gone through some kind of process to make it last longer and/or taste better.
Processed foods are highly cravable, immediately gratifying, and easy to over-consume quickly (and often cheaply).
Whole foods provide nutritional value (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre, water), are naturally occurring, and are free from additives or other artificial substances.
A few examples of whole vs. processed foods:
- Oranges vs. OJ
- Steel cut or rolled oats vs. cereal
- Nuts vs. most nut butters
- Berries vs. store-bought jam
- Fruit vs. fruit snacks
- Plain greek or natural yoghurt vs flavoured yoghurt snacks
We digest and absorb the energy from sugar and processed foods very quickly and easily.
They over stimulate the reward/pleasure centres in our brains and we tend to overeat them, usually very quickly.
Not only that, our bodies have a hard time registering sugar and overly processed foods on the hunger scale.
When we eat sugar or highly-processed foods and our bodies don’t feel full or satisfied from them, we want and eat more. I bet you’ve experienced this. Ate just a few from the box – then keep going back for more???
Letting yourself be a little hungry from time to time and not overstuffing yourself together with choosing foods that have not been processed as such as you can are 2 of the best ways to ACT like you’ve already reached your goal and therefore ACTUALLY reach it and then be able to maintain it.
If you need help with getting your eating on track so you can feel more energetic, look better, lose weight and get healthier, please message me any time.
You can find out about our training programs by completing details below. I won’t call you, I’ll simple email you some details and you can then contact me if you need more info.