If you want to lose weight stop dieting. Yes, you heard me right. Stop constantly thinking about food, depriving yourself and beating yourself up about what you should and should not do. Realize that food is not the enemy.
Forget everything you think you know about losing weight. Because honestly, constantly thinking about food, depriving yourself and beating yourself up about what you should and should not do is not going to help you lose weight. If this did work, wouldn’t you have lost the weight already?
The true secret to successful weight loss is to have a healthy and peaceful relationship with food.
Only when you develop a healthy relationship with food will you be able to lose the weight and, more importantly, keep it off for good.
I know you are thinking, “If it were that simple, everyone would have done that.”
Unfortunately, though, not everyone knows how to cultivate a healthy relationship with food. Truth be told – it really is not that difficult! It’s a matter of following six simple steps.
If you follow these steps you will be surprised how easily you can develop a healthy and, more importantly, peaceful relationship with food. A side benefit of this healthy relationship with food is that you will notice your weight loss efforts actually becoming – well, effortless!
Food is not the enemy – how to call a truce
Now I know “mindful” is a big buzzword now-a-days. There’s mindful breathing, mindful living even mindful management. Just about everything we do can be done mindfully. However, when I speak about eating mindfully I’m not talking about taking your orange and examining the color and texture of your orange, and being ‘at one’ with your orange. When I speak of eating mindfully I am referring to several different things.
First of all, when you are eating, be sure that is all you are doing. Don’t eat mindlessly in front of the television, shoveling in handfuls of potato chips – which could be potpourri for all you know if you aren’t paying attention!
Next, slow down your eating. Slowing down your eating allows you to be aware of a lot of different subtleties that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Did you know that it takes 15-20 minutes for your brain to get the signal from your stomach that you’ve had enough to eat. If you are eating fast, you can consume a lot more calories than your body needs before it can send up that full signal.
Also by slowing down your eating you will be able to actually taste your food. So many people say they enjoy food, yet they consume it so fast that they don’t even get to taste it. So they end up having second and third helpings because they missed out on the enjoyment of the food the first go-around.
Another interesting side benefit to slowing down your eating is that you will tend to be drawn more towards natural foods. Those processed foods may taste fabulous for the first few bites, but keep them in your mouth for 15-20 bites and you’ll start tasting all the preservatives and added ingredients. Chew an apple, however, for 15-20 bites and it still tastes like an apple.
~Make a Friend of Your Appetite
Rather than trying to kill your appetite and treating it as the enemy, make a friend of your appetite. Pay attention to your body’s natural signals of physical hunger. Too often, people try to suppress their hunger and skip meals in an effort to cut calories. The truth of the matter, however, is that we need to consistently fuel our digestive metabolism to keep it functioning at a high level. Otherwise, our metabolism slows down and makes it even more difficult to get rid of the excess weight. We should be eating at least 3 meals a day with healthy snacks in between as necessary to keep our metabolism functioning at an optimum level.
Also, people who ignore those feelings of physical hunger find themselves getting to the point where they are sooo hungry that they make poor food choices and end up eating quickly. Those are the very same people who usually find themselves binging at the end of the day. So by paying attention to those signals and eating consistently throughout the day you can keep your metabolism on an even keel and you can prevent those nighttime binges.
~Stop Eating as Soon as You Feel Comfortably Full
I put hunger on a scale of 0-10, where 0 is you are so ravenous that you could eat the pages of this magazine, and 10 is you just had your third helping of Thanksgiving dinner and can’t move for the next two hours. You should be stopping at the 5/6 level. If you stop at a 5 or 6, you should be able to go for a walk immediately following a meal. You should feel energized rather than feeling the need to rest and digest.
When you go beyond that comfortable fullness you will find yourself feeling sluggish. The reason being is that more energy is being required by the digestive metabolism to burn those excess calories that were consumed. Just keep in mind that food is meant to nourish us, not drain us, which is exactly what is happening if you go beyond that comfortable fullness.
~Drink More Water
Many times people confuse the signals for thirst with that of hunger because they are very similar in nature. If you think that you stopped at the 5/6 level of comfortable fullness, and an hour or two after the meal you are hungry, try a glass of water and wait ten minutes. If the feeling passes, it was thirst. If not, have a healthy snack to carry you through until the next meal.
Also, studies have shown that people who drink a glass or two of water before a meal tend to take off weight quicker than those who don’t!
~Indulge without Indulging
There are many tricks you can utilize to feel like you are having something special without actually indulging in the excess calories. If you are someone who like to have a glass of wine, (or two or three), with meals, switch at least one glass of wine to water – but drink that glass of water from a wine glass.
If you still like the cocktail or wine instead of the water in the fancy glass, then try putting your cocktail or wine in a water glass. When most people do this they find that they prefer the water in the wine glass, as opposed to the wine in the water glass and there is no feeling of deprivation!
Another trick you can utilize is switching your plates. Most everyone knows the trick of utilizing a small plate to consume smaller amounts. But have you tried using fancy plates, such as china, for even the simple meals. A salad served on china always seems so much better than when it’s served on a regular plate or, even better, than out of the Tupperware bowl!
~Lose the Guilt
You don’t always have to trick yourself into thinking you’ve had some great treat. Actually allow yourself the ‘guilty pleasure’ every now and again. Allow yourself the occasional ice cream, or pizza or whatever your favorite is. Just make sure that when you do eat it that you are physically hungry, you eat it slowly and mindfully (truly savor it –after all it is your favorite!) and stop as soon as you are comfortably full.
By allowing an occasional indulgence, you can prevent yourself from going on a binge. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Think of the scenario – you know that there is a pan of brownies in the kitchen, but you also know you ‘shouldn’t’ have one. But you keep thinking about them and thinking about them, and the next thing you know you’ve eaten the whole pan! And the whole time your eating them you are thinking to yourself, “Oh well, I’ve already blown it – I may as well eat them all!” Then you beat yourself up for the rest of the night for having no willpower. By allowing yourself to have one, you get rid of the all or nothing mentality that leaves us feeling so deprived. That very mentality sets us up for guilt when we choose the all over the nothing.
Realize food is meant to nourish you in body, mind and spirit; not punish you.
By allowing yourself the occasional indulgence you can get rid of the guilt. Just because you have ice cream or pizza, it doesn’t make you a bad person. Quite the contrary – it means that you are human.
© 2021 TheNourishingWay