Last month we talked about how to successfully make change along with some of the psychology behind eating behaviours. We touched on what can hold you back from making changes to your dietary & lifestyle habits, & this is something we really wanted to explore further so we can help ensure you reach your goals successfully.
Weight management is something we regularly support our clients with, however, before embarking on this journey it’s essential to dive a little deeper.
What is it about your current state of health or your current lifestyle that is making you feel less than your best self?
Are you skipping meals & feeling starving later on in the day? Do you return home to an empty fridge & fall back on takeaways or the biscuit tin?
It’s then essential to pinpoint your WHYS. Why do you want to make a change?
That last point would be an example of how we explore the impact of aesthetic goals on our clients’ emotional wellbeing. Wanting to lose weight because you dislike your appearance is a totally acceptable driver for change but without analysing the multifaceted nature of weight + self esteem one can never be satisfied with the achievements they make towards that goal.
It’s for this reason we focus on the process.
At Natural Nourishment we wholeheartedly believe that understanding is the key to long lasting success, & so by building habits piece by piece they cement themselves in naturally.
Our clients still get to live their lives, & their goals are achieved at the same time. If you are feeling stressed or constrained on a daily basis by what you are doing for your health then this is not what we define as ‘healthy’.
There is also the element that stress hormones will have an impact on all of our body systems. One of the most common we see is the tendency to emotionally eat.
As we touched on last week, emotional eating often leads to overeating, which then leads to feelings of disgust or regret over what are often high fat or sugary foods. We wanted to share a couple of tactics that can be enormously effective in combating the overeating side of emotional eating. As an aside this is not just an emotional cycle but also a physiological one – cortisol raises insulin levels which shuttle more energy from our blood stream into storage which = increased hunger signalling. So we always come from the metabolic side as well as the emotional, but you can see how they intertwine.
The first is STOP.
Take a Breath
This is an exercise that encourages you to be more mindful of the present moment. By stopping, breathing & observing you give yourself time to ask yourself – am I really hungry? When did I last eat? Am I thirsty? Bored? Lonely? Angry? What can I do other than eat to make myself feel better?
STOP is an example of a ‘mindfulness’ exercise. Mindfulness has been proven to be hugely effective in not just combating emotional or overeating, but in recognising if your specific goals are suited to you & giving you impetus to reach them.
Self awareness is something that is developed over time when practising mindfulness. A fabulously grounding technique for when you find yourself unable to concentrate, distracted by food or overcome with emotion or a tangle of thoughts, is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique.
5 – acknowledge 5 things you can see around you
4 – things you can touch around you
3 – things you can hear around you
2 – things you can smell around you
1 – thing you can taste around you
Our brains are malleable & highly adaptable so this should certainly be seen as a positive when it comes to making change. However, our brains & bodies also need consistency & structure. Mindfulness can be effective but it needs to be practised over time to help our brains develop these changes.
Finally, when making change & focusing on looking after your mind as well as your body, it’s incredibly important to recognise your thought cycle. The cycle of change is a mind body collaboration so it helps to listen to how you are talking to yourself.
Replacing negative thinking with winning thinking is never going to happen overnight, but there is a direct link between thoughts & results. It can be as simple as believing that you can succeed!
Your thoughts affect how you feel. Your emotions then affect the decisions you make which then define the actions you choose to take. These actions when repeated become your habits over time, which become how you lead your life.
What makes us think positively is hugely individual & can be influenced by so many different things. Once you’ve finished reading this & you find some time for yourself, take a moment to jot down what makes you happy, who makes you think positively about yourself & your life, & use this as a start to making successful change.
Written by Florence de Walden
Associate Nutritional Therapist