Continuing eating food we love and losing weight at the same time sounds too good to be true and can sound very contradicting for some.
And I totally get it. The diet industry has brainwashed us to believe otherwise. We have been told for so many years that we need to follow a diet, restrict or count calories, and avoid sugar, fats and carbs to have a body and health we desire.
If that was the truth and it would work, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic and all of us would be slim and size 8. But the truth is, however, that almost one in three adults in New Zealand is obese (according to health.govt.nz). In the United States the diet industry is estimated at $US100 billion a year when you throw in the over-the-counter diet supplements, the drugs, the diet books, the weight loss programmes, the surgery and low-fat foods. In New Zealand low-fat food sales account for $100 million a year alone.
So, something is wrong and something is not working.
And believe me, I was one of them. I believed that I needed to stop eating chocolate and bread to be healthy and fit. So, I tried all of it, the cabbage soup diet, no carbs, no fats, no sugar, Paleo, you name it. And as long as I was listening to other people telling me what to eat or, better to say, what NOT to eat, I always felt restricted and deprived. I felt like it was not fair. In fact, I was so confused about what to eat that I was fearful to eat anything. I felt like I was missing out on having fun, be social and enjoying my time with friends. “Why can some people eat what they want and keep their weight and I couldn’t?” I felt like something was wrong with me.
Well, I tell you, there was. I was listening to other people’s BS** and not myself. I ignored my body and my intuition. Until one day it clicked for me and I realized that I am my best expert. There is nobody who knows better what, how much and when I need to eat.
Only when I started believing and trusting my own intuition, I have lost weight and have been able to keep it off without any scales, diets or restrictions. I have become one of those people who eats what they want and keep the weight off.
It is liberating and empowering at the same time!
So, now you are wondering, well how can I do it and where do I start?
First of all, I really encourage you to download my Mindful Eating Guide where I go through a comprehensive exercise with you.
How to start eating mindfully?
Step 1. Observe WHAT you eat.
Observe what food choices you make. Do you eat based on what will satisfy you or what is supposed to be “good” for you? When our food decisions are based on a diet plan as opposed to what our body desires, our cravings for foods we actually want will be even stronger. Your body will do everything it can to receive the pleasure it misses out. That’s when the cookie monster comes out.
So, you might as well just enjoy the food you love in the fist place. Ask yourself what foods you restrict and how you can integrate them into your diet in a positive way.
Action Step:During your next meal, ask yourself what you are really hungry for and what will make you feel good not only during the meal, but also after the meal.
Step 2. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.
Notice when you eat and how often you eat. Do you eat when you are bored, stressed or do you use food as procrastination to avoid doing your work? When we ignore body’s hunger and satisfaction signals over a longer period of time, at some point, our brain will stop sending the signal completely. That’s when some people can’t feel if they are full.
Action Step: Next time you feel like eating, check if you are really physically hungry. If you know that you can’t be hungry because you ate only an hour ago, ask yourself what you really need: rest, walk, water, a hug. Here is an emergency card you can download for FREE. Use it when you can’t think of anything else other than food but you know that you are not hungry.
Step 3. Eat slowly without distraction.
Get away from any devices around you, they only distract you from enjoying your meal. Sit down with your meal and take good notice how it looks, smells and tastes. How you eat matters as much as what, when and how often you eat. When we eat fast or distracted, our brain doesn’t register that we eat and will ask for more and the stomach doesn’t absorb the nutrients as well as when we eat slowly and undistracted.
Action Step: Take undisturbed 15 mins to enjoy your food. Put the cutlery down and chew thoroughly between the bites.
“Mindful Eating is eating with intention while paying attention to what, how much, how and when you eat.“
When we eat food we enjoy only when we are hungry and stop when we are satisfied, we end up eating less food. Binge eating and emotional eating reduces and our body automatically stops holding on to excessive weight.
To regain your power over food back again, download the Mindful Eating guide.