The seven points below are common traps encountered in an average life. Please don’t follow them literally, unless of course you want to gain weight and incite poor health overall. Instead, do the opposite. Put energy and attention to the final question of each point.
1. Go on a diet.
Ignore your personal preferences, appetite and natural rhythms and restrict your food intake without regard for what actually satisfies you – be it foods, quantities, hunger or times of day.
Restriction and deprivation will backfire eventually, evidenced by the millions of people who have dieted and are still overweight, gaining more weight with every diet.
What is one small, but permanent change you can make regarding your food intake?
2. Skip breakfast and/or lunch.
Just power through; you can eat later. You’ll get used to it.
Starvation is sometimes viewed as an honorable or expedient thing to do in order to lose weight. But eating too little actually slows your metabolism and causes you to lose precious muscle along with fat. And muscle boosts metabolism, so you don’t want that to happen. Skipping breakfast has been shown to cause overeating in the evening. That calorie deficit tends to result in poor choices.
Have you noticed how your brain and body function during the day on insufficient fuel?
3. Listen to your mind instead of your body.
Allow stories, excuses and un-explored emotional attachments to food run you, for example, “I deserve this.” While you’re doing that, ignore the pain in your stomach that tells you you’ve had enough.
Excess weight is not always about cream puffs versus carrot sticks. It’s often about your thinking, which doesn’t necessarily reflect truth or reality, and the associated feelings. The meaning you give to those thoughts and feelings, i.e., the stories you tell yourself about why and what you eat, is what keeps you eating and gaining.
What’s your story?
4. Abuse adrenaline and other stress hormones.
Take on more than you can handle, race against the clock and react to everything. Try to please everyone, while you’re at it.
Meal planning, physical activity, or rest and relaxation are usually the first things to go when you’re living on the edge of burnout. Yet they are what you most need. Did you know that cortisol (a stress hormone) is known to deposit fat right at your waistline?
What are you getting from being juiced on adrenaline?
5. Get consistently less than 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night.
Stay up late to get more done. Push through that fatigue. Never mind that you’re not functioning at optimum levels in any aspect of your life, including your food intake.
Sleep, a basic need, is often compromised because of stress, or a variety of other reasons. Hormones that regulate appetite and satiety don’t work as they should if you’re not getting enough restful sleep.
What’s holding you back from getting to bed at least 15 minutes earlier every night?
6. Eat in restaurants – a lot.
Buy very few groceries and rely on restaurant food for your sustenance. Making lunches and cooking is way too much trouble.
It’s fairly safe to say you are tipping the balance in favor of fat, salt and sugar over simple nutrition and reasonably sized portions when your nourishment comes from restaurants. Even what you choose to drink when dining out is probably working against you.
You never know exactly what you’re consuming when it comes from a commercial kitchen. Don’t assume the salad is a safe bet.
What could you cook tonight?
7. Eat mindlessly.
Eat while you work, read, drive, or even standing at the kitchen counter. Just keep putting food in, whenever you see it or think about it, regardless of hunger. Do it quickly, without fully chewing or tasting. Don’t bother noticing if it pleases you or if you’re getting full.
As you can see, mindless eating can be insidious. Wake up to why, where, how, when and what you are eating.
What happens when you give eating your full attention?
Healthy weight loss can be achieved. It doesn’t come from a diet, a product or any temporary measure. It’s a way of life that takes patience, honesty, courage and commitment. That’s sustainable!