Slipping into a habit of overeating, mindless eating or emotional eating is easy to do and often happens without us realizing what we are doing! Let's go over a few tips to conquer these pitfalls.
Did you know that sometimes you get hungry because you are dehydrated? Think of this as your body's way of telling you to hydrate. If you find yourself hungry in between meals, try drinking a large glass of water then waiting fifteen minutes. After the time has passed, if you're still hungry you need to eat. Sounds simple, right? You should drink a glass of water upon waking and 30 minutes before each meal.
Permanent lifestyle changes
One of the best ways to avoid continuous “dieting” is to make your everyday eating healthier! Make healthy fare part of your daily life. Think about eating vegetables with every meal, using fruits for desserts. Use meat as a side dish and leafy greens and vegetables as the main dish!
Emotional hunger vs. Genuine Hunger
Learning to tell the difference between actual hunger and emotional hunger is an important part of being healthy, losing weight, and staying fit. Emotional eating is often something we do without thinking. How does emotional hunger feel? How do you know if what you are experiencing is genuine hunger? Try using the hunger scale below:
Start eating around #3, don't wait until you are at stages 1 or 2 as that is when we make bad choices. At number three you still have complete control over what you are about to put in your body. Anywhere past three and you are likely to eat fast food or anything you can get your hands on quick!
Emotional eating often happens when we are not thinking clearly, however, if we make a habit of taking a deep breath and assesing our hunger level we may be able to stop this bad haibt!
Stop eating around #6 but not past #7 unless it's the holidays and you are all set for a nap! Okinawans are some of the longest lived peoples on earth (proven birth records of many centenarians). Some say it is because of their habit of eating until 80% full. The Japanese call this Hara Hachi Bu (try saying it out loud, you'll like it) but it simply means, don't stuff yourself silly!
I started practicing this concept this year. One thing I love about it is I never feel that lethargic after-a-meal tiredness anymore. I try to leave at least a few bites on my plate. I have also started using smaller dishes.
Avoid #9 and #10 if you want to feel healthier, be slimmer, and stay more focused. Unfortunately, our brain is about 10 minutes behind our tummies, so we often don't get the signal we are FULL until several bites past full. If you practice slowing down while eating and stopping early, this will help you stay at a better level on the scale.
Eating this way does take practice, but the more you slow down while eating and practice listening to these cues, the better you will get at it.
Eat sugar. Crave sugar.
The more you eat of the white stuff (or syrupy stuff, or hidden sugar, or in any form) the more you will want to eat it. This includes “sweet” replacers such as honey, maple syrup, stevia and others. Healthy people rarely crave sweets. Sugar cravings are a sign of mineral deficiency.
If you have intense sugar cravings, eating more vegetables will start rebuilding your mineral supply which will, in time, reduce these cravings. You can read more about individual minerals here. If you'd rather watch than reading, I have a “break the sugar addiction” playlist here.
Another habit that will make a huge difference in how much you eat is to stop mindless eating. Usually, this means, stop eating in your car, at your desk, on the couch, in your bed and walking through the mall!
This year, I decided as part of our Family Nutrition/Health Goals, that I would start practicing eating only at the table. I already didn't eat in my car cause I like my car to stay super clean. With my husband working late most nights, we had gotten into the habit of eating in the living room.
When you eat in front of the television or computer, your mind is distracted and not listening to satiety signals. So put away your phone, sit down at the table and relax while you eat slowly!
Stressing over your weight
This tip is much easier said than done but stop weighing yourself every day. Weighing every day is a bad habit that will cause you so much stress. It is natural for our weight to fluctuate a couple of pounds day to day. Over the years I have been coaching women in weight loss, the one thing that tends to make us give up is seeing a bump in the scale.
Noticing a one or two-pound increase (almost always due to water weight) often discourages us and causes us to lose our momentum and give up. If you must weigh yourself, it's best to only do it once a week, first thing in the morning, nakey!
Keep track of this on an app like Myfitnesspal. If you can stand it, just don't weigh at all. Go by how you feel and how your clothes are fitting. Think about what you are doing instead of letting a stupid scale determine your worth!
Trick your brain
It's all about perceptions. Part of the allure of temptations is the fact that your “desire” is off limits. If you perceive that french fries are off limits and a complete no-no you will want them more. If you realize that they are permissible, you truly could have them, the intensity of desire is lessened.
So play this trick on your mind and tell yourself, “I can totally have that, and it is permissible, but I think I'll wait until this afternoon, or even tomorrow before I indulge myself.”
When you perceive that you have that choice, you will crave it less. “Perception of choice” is why keeping a “cheat day” list helps so many people. Maintaining a list of foods we are craving for a specific day gives us the perception that we CAN have them, just later. Often, when people I coach do this, their “cheat day” arrives and they no longer want the thing they were craving!
Get rid of the word SHOULD
Stop telling yourself you should do this or that. Start becoming aware of your choices instead. As women are often guilty of taking on too much and putting ourselves last. “Should” creates a sense of obligation and no one enjoys being obligated to do things.
“Should” you give up junk or do you “WANT” to eat healthily? Decide! Then, stop filling your life with shoulds. When you fill your life with “shoulds,” you will feel like a slave. “Should” is like our prison guard, keeping us bound by chains of guilt, condemnation, disappointment and frustration. Give the word “should” a good kick in the butt and send “should” packing.
Instead, figure out what you WANT and replace those “shoulds” with “I want” or “I choose” so that you will be more aware of your control over the choices you make in life. Using “shoulds” keeps you from focusing on the present! It makes you miss out on the space between where you are and where you are hoping to be. So get rid of should!
I hope these tips bless you and you are inspired to choose to live a healthier lifestyle. Join us in the Healthy Kitchen Challenge and get motivated to make better choices. Connect with me on social media to let me know you are taking the challenge!