I think we all know that “Food is Fuel, Not Comfort”…or a reward, or our best friend, etc., but I hear “I just really love to eat! I enjoy food!” as an excuse all the time. Understand that food is simply to fuel our bodies, but know that we are to enjoy our food – that’s one of the reasons we have senses. How, then, do we change our attitudes toward food without sacrificing enjoyment? I found this great article online, and couldn’t have said it better myself, so here you go:
Understand Your Feelings about Food
The fact is that people tend to use food for comfort, with most comfort foods being high in sugar and heavy on carbs. Heavy foods temporarily boost levels of serotonin – a brain chemical that regulates your mood and energy levels.
When the next chocolate craving sets in, step back and ask yourself why you want that chocolate bar. Consider healthy alternatives that will benefit your health and waistline such as some fruit or a handful of nuts.
Spot Food Frenemies
Social gatherings can trigger emotional eating. After-work drinks or catching up with friends can present an evil food trap as peer pressure is on. You tend to eat more when in the company of others, often leading to a “frenemy” feast.
Try to keep track of your drinks – especially cocktails, which are high in sugar. Opt for the healthier dishes like salads, grilled meats and steamed veggies.
Keep a Positive Outlook on Life
There’s a connection between living well, eating healthy and the way you think about yourself. Your mood strongly affects the success of your weight loss. While a negative core belief will hold you back from achieving your goal, a can-do attitude and a cheerful outlook on life can lead you anywhere!
Challenge these negative attitudes and keep positive by writing a “Fabulous 5” list every day. Simply scribble down all the positive events that you have encountered during the day, like a compliment at work or a smile from a stranger. All these small and simple things will make a difference, just wait and see!
Keep a Food Diary
To change bad habits you need to know what they are. Record your daily food intake – every cappuccino on the go, every little nibble in-between meals – pen it all down without making excuses! Make a note every time you munch, including the exact time of day and also your mood in that particular situation.
The point of this exercise? Within a month you’ll start noticing certain eating behaviours. The next step is to distinguish the good from the bad patterns – like eating too many sweets in between meals or eating chocolate every time you feel low.
Focus on Your Plate
Stop multitasking! Eating is an everyday activity that deserves your full attention. Put down that magazine, switch off the TV and concentrate on your plate! The brain needs 15 to 20 minutes to register signs of fullness – so slow down, take breaks and drink in between bites. And if you feel full, don’t force yourself to clean the plate – leave the leftovers as a healthy lunch option for the next day.
Wait out Temptation
Put food cravings on hold. Sometimes you aren’t really hungry, just emotionally stressed or bored. Try to drink a glass of water instead of turning to that chocolate bar. If you are still hungry 10 minutes later, get a healthy bite like a piece of fruit.
So what are you waiting for? Re-train your brain and use your mind power as the key to shedding those extra pounds and keeping them off for good.
Read more at Suite101: Mind Matters: How to Change Your Attitude Toward Food