Have you dieted and lost weight only to put it all back on and more? Chances are, you deprived yourself of many of the things you enjoy for a while, lost (primarily) some muscle and water and when you finally succumbed to your ‘normal’ diet, the kilos came storming back. Well the great news is, losing weight, feeling great and improving your state of health is all about eating normally. What is ‘normal’, I hear you ask.
Back in the day, (well, maybe many years ago) we did have a balanced diet, with plenty of living, natural food that we prepared at home. But things have changed… We can now access an enormous amount of ‘unnatural’ processed food at every street corner and this convenience has led us to forget how to eat.
It all comes down to our mindset, our beliefs and managing things in the ‘real” world by keeping it simple. (See previous blog “Weight Loss – Keeping it Real” for more)
Secondly, are you truly aware of what and when you eat or do you speed feed whilst thinking of the next task? Do you sit down and savour your meal or eat on the run? Do you think about what’s in your food when you buy it? Once you begin to ask yourself a few of these questions, the awareness of how you eat will be re-ignited and you can begin the process of eating normally for your health.
A great place to start is with a food diary. Not for the next 20 years (as some women seem to do), but for the next 7 days ONLY. This is a great way to monitor what, when and how much you eat. More importantly, you can record when you are hungry, when you have overeaten, whether your moods and gut where affected positively or negatively, and so on.
For example, do you wake up hungry? Do you crave something sweet straight after your meal? Are you hungry within an hour of eating a meal? With a week of valuable information on paper and in your head, you can begin to eat when you are hungry for good moods, improved concentration, energy levels and weight loss.
Think of this process as your business plan for future healthy, sustainable eating habits. You are gathering all of your personal data in order to implement the right strategies for success.
And thirdly, let’s keep things REAL! We all have daily demands from our children, family and work, as well as life’s challenges, so keeping your food healthy, but SIMPLE is vital if you are going to overcome the mental hurdle of eating well for life. If you can easily see yourself making some small changes for potential great health improvements you are more likely to make those changes. For example, throwing some healthy, tasty ingredients together is an easier mental obstacle to conquer than spending an hour in the kitchen preparing a meal.
So, let’s get started. The most amount of work you really need to do is simply keeping a food diary. After that, the steps are easy.
1. Complete a Food Diary for a Week
2. Eat When You’re Hungry!
Imagine that concept! The interesting thing is, that many people ignore their hunger signals until they go away for good. Start eating each day when you are slightly-to-fairly hungry. If you wait until you are ravenous, you are likely to overeat and make an unhealthy meal choice. We have all had our mouths water as we catch sight of the golden arches if we are starving. This does not occur if you fuel your bodies when it asks you for fuel! And a wonderful thought to keep in mind is: the next time I feel hungry, I can eat again!
3. Listen to Your Body and Notice how Good you Feel
When you start eating when you are hungry, you will begin to feel energised, alert and satisfied with your food. You will lose any feelings of deprivation that you may have felt when dieting, and you will feel strangely at peace with your eating habits. It is a wonderful feeling and you can focus on what’s important in your life rather than obsessing about food. Your mind will shift to ‘fuelling’ your body to feel great, rather than on weight loss, yet the great thing is this, weight loss (or more accurately, fat loss) is on its way…
Once you have mastered this, we can address the rather simple topic of what to eat. And just think: you are establishing some great eating habits to share with your family…
Watch out for Step Three coming your way shortly…