Just recently I was sick with the flu and managed to spend a few hours catching up on nutrition documentaries on Netflix. I watched Hungry for Change, and was engrossed by the stories of people turning their lives around by eating unprocessed, unrefined foods. Such amazing stories of people shedding half their body weight and enjoying their new life, eating well, exercising and learning how to manage stress.
Most of us get, that to lose weight we have to change the way we think about food, how we shop, and allocate time in the kitchen cooking.
Here I am going to recap on three things that don’t often get discussed when it comes to weight loss. Emotional eating, visualisation and love.
Emotional eating can derail anyone's intentions to eat well. Unfortunately, emotional eating is particularly common, and usually as a response to a perceived threat. This can be anything from “sleep deprivation, dehydration, mental or emotional stress, fighting traffic, worrying about your job, or how you are going to pay for your mortgage.” (Hungry for Change) Whatever is bothering us, we are turning to the foods that gave us comfort as children taking us back to the time when we felt nourished and loved.
This chronic stress causes an increase in levels of the hormone cortisol. This stimulates the liver and muscle tissue to release glycogen a sugar into the bloodstream to give the body a boost in energy so we can run away from the perceived danger, but unfortunately, cortisol also tells the body to store fat, leading to weight gain and obesity, especially around the middle.
How do you deal with emotional eating:
Firstly don't eat when you are upset. Great advice from Kris Karr from Crazy Sexy Life
Secondly is to deal with the things that are making you stressed, whether it be lack of sleep or unhappy with your work life balance, it is important for your health to overcome these issues.
Three easy steps to reduce stress:
Get a good night's sleep - Go to bed at a reasonable time, in a darkened room, with no electronics in bedroom. Make sure you have cooler ambient air and your bedding is comfortable.
Exercise - Find an exercise that you love and commit to it. Whether it be walking 2-3 x per week, personal training classes, or weight bearing exercises will all help your body to break down those stress hormones.
Laughter - Surround yourself with happy people, watch funny movies, anything that puts you in a good mood.
Dig out a photo of yourself, or even a picture of someone else the size that you would like to be or have been. Put it somewhere, where you will see it everyday. The fridge, toilet door, bathroom door or bedroom. Don’t just look at it, but absorb that picture for 30 seconds twice a day.
When we do this we are talking to the subconscious mind, telling it that it is now time to lose weight. This is how I want to be. When we are in a state of chronic stress the body naturally stores fat as a mechanism to protect us from harm. When we tell our body, stop storing fat, I want to be thin, breaks this cycle and gives the body permission to burn fat not store it.
“Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life” Tony Robbins
How many of us actually love ourselves. How many of us constantly chide ourselves for having a saggy tummy, cellulite, love handles, acne or feeling ugly. This sets us up for a day of negative chatter in our head, that reinforces the loathing of ourselves. “How could it get so bad”, “How could anyone love me”, “I’m not worthy of love and affection”. Dr Northrup from Hungry for Change states that “Such thoughts prevent us from getting what we want or feeling the way we want - and deserve - to feel.”
The key is self love. Without that no change will happen.
So how can we turn this negative banter into self love affirmations. Many of you may have visited Louise Hay books in your lifetime. I am no exception. In times of despair I have turned to many of her affirmations. Here is one, that you can write on a post it note and place it somewhere, once again where you will see it morning and night.
“I accept myself unconditionally. Right Now.”
It all takes time, it's not an instant fix, but after 28 days of positive affirmations the thought starts to take over in your brain until all that negative talk has quietened down.
Here is what self love does to your body -
“It improves hearing and eyesight, lowers blood pressure, increases pulmonary function and cardiac output.” Dr Northrup.
“I am by nature a dealer in words, and words are the most powerful drug known to humanity” Rudyard Kipling 1865 - 1936
This is all before we have even began to find recipes, meal plan, shop and cook for a healthy life. The movie, Hungry for Change was released in October, 2012, receiving criticism for being plant based, heavy on juicing vegetables, and not recognising coconut oil as a good fat. Despite this I found these three messages to be key to losing weight. How many of us have gone on diets that have set us up to fail. I believe incorporating strategies to help you deal with stress such as exercise, sleep, fun and laughter, giving our bodies permission to lose weight with love and positive affirmations is the key to any weight loss success.
Mindful eating is about slowing everything down. Making time and prioritising about what and how we eat into our busy lives. It can be a struggle to get dinner on the table when you get home at 7pm. But it is possible when you prioritise and plan allowing you time to anticipate, sit, enjoy, chew and relax during a meal.
What happens with MindLESS Eating
The Benefits of Mindful Eating
With mindful eating, we begin to enjoy the anticipation of food, appreciate the aroma’s, sight and feel of the food. Chewing your food well, and enjoying every mouthful allows the food to be broken down even further at every stage of digestion until it reaches the size needed to cross the intestinal wall, into the bloodstream and then into the cell.
Have a Menu Plan
Habits of a Mindful Person
When the meal is finished, practice mindfulness cleaning up. Get everyone to pitch in and enjoy the teamwork, conversation and fun. Delegate jobs and the cleaning up will be done in no time. A perfect end to a perfect meal.
This is the practice of Mindful Eating.