I’ve been there. It’s Monday Morning, you’ve overindulged all weekend, you put on the old comfy black, baggy clothes because all your thin clothes are too tight!
You made a promise to yourself on Friday night after a bottle of vino that “I’ll just enjoy myself this weekend and on Monday I am starting my new fitness and diet regime”.
Monday morning, breakfast is good, lunch is healthy. This is OK; you think, I can do this. Then comes the four o’clock slump.
You have a pre-prepared healthy snack box with you but your colleague offers you a slice of birthday cake. What do you do?
Let the cycle begin. You eat the cake and then think to yourself, sure I’ve screwed it up today anyway, I might as well eat rubbish the rest of the day and then be good again tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes!!
Is it a lack of willpower, self control or just greed? We eat when we are sad, lonely, worried! I have a client and she readily admits that she just eats whatever the emotion, happy or sad; she is just addicted to food.
Why can’t we control ourselves around food? Why does everything revolve around food? Why do we keep eating even though we are full?
Unless you have been hiding under a rock, it’s fair to say that we know what we should be eating for good health, so as the world famous NIKE adverts state, why can’t we “JUST DO IT”!
I’m going to relieve you of a little guilt around your lack of self control around food. It’s not all your fault. That said, I’m not letting you off the hook entirely!
Here are the main reasons I believe we have a poor relationship with food and why we let it control us, and not the other way around.
Unfortunately we start off at the wrong place when we lose weight. Start from a place of self-acceptance then we can move on to the next level of self improvement. Don’t postpone self-acceptance until you hit your target weight because you are wasting precious days, weeks, months and maybe even years of your life.
Losing weight is not the key to happiness, however, happiness could be one of the keys to losing weight.
Is it an addiction?
Substance use disorder and food addiction both involve the same biochemical processes in the brain. Eating triggers the dopamine reward centre in the brain.
So when you bite into your favourite chocolate bar, dopamine is released; it’s the brain’s way of rewarding us for engaging in basic life-sustaining behaviours.
The flip side is it also releases dopamine when we do pleasurable things that aren’t good for us. It’s the dopamine that produces that high feeling when we drink our favourite glass of wine or eat our favourite junk food, it keeps us coming back for more.
What is your why?
Do you want it bad enough? Are you willing to focus on exercising regularly and eating healthily most of the time?
Most people set short term goals to lose weight for a wedding, party or some other important event in the not too distant future. This is not enough – to have a healthy weight you have to be “consistently good” not “inconsistently perfect”.
Get real with yourself, focus on your LONG TERM health and your weight will naturally gravitate towards its natural set point. Stop looking for the short term fix because it gives only short term results and a long term damaged metabolism.
Is food your only pleasure?
Are you the sort of person that at the end of a long and hectic day, a few glasses of wine are especially effective in temporarily soothing your exhausted, hard working self?
It’s scientifically proven that sugars and fats releases opioids which are also active ingredients in cocaine, heroin and many other drugs. So that nice warm fuzzy feeling when you eat ice cream or chocolate is real.
The solution? Start rewarding yourself with other things rather than food. However, in order to quit emotional eating it’s important to also practice and acknowledge difficult feelings you may experience. Read on…
Do not eat your emotions
As human beings we gravitate towards pleasure and avoid pain. We are fantastic at finding ways to distract ourselves from acknowledging our difficult feelings; sometimes these distractions are detrimental to our health and our waistline.
I know it sounds crazy when I say let yourself experience these emotions whether it be sadness, anger, guilt or rejection. It may not change the source of the problem but it will prevent you from shutting off your feelings with behaviours you’d like to stop – like eating!
Emotional eating does not discriminate, it’s a legal, powerful and effective way to find temporary solace from the challenges in life.
If it didn’t work so well, no one would do it. Make a commitment to reach deep inside and ask yourself some hard questions and hopefully the above reminders can help you in your journey.
If I can help you take the next step on your health and fitness journey, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Places are also still available on my Six-Week Online Better Bodies programme here