Yesterday’s blog seemed to touch a nerve with a lot of readers; most of us really do have people that seem to sabotage our efforts! What I failed to mention is something that can be difficult to get your head around, and that ‘something’ is the fact that we tend to be our own biggest saboteur.
Have I lost the plot – why, when you are making such an effort to change your life, would YOU sabotage yourself? Most of the time we do this inadvertently…
Are you putting too much pressure on yourself and trying to attain a standard that is unattainable. I have a little bee in my bonnet about ‘diets’ that encourage people to give up certain food groups, or which advocate a very low calorie way of living. How is it possible to sustain this for life, which is what you will need to do if you want to remain at your target weight, or to ensure you continue to lead a healthy lifestyle. Ask yourself if your ‘plan’ – be it diet or exercise – is really giving you the best chance of success. Do you feel that you could adopt this regime for life? If not, then reassess! A lack of food over a prolonged period of time indicates starvation to your body and puts it into protective ‘fat store’ mode…anything you eat will be held onto. Enjoying a regular, healthy eating pattern will turn your body into a lean and mean calorie processing machine! It will know when to expect it’s next meal and so will take the nutrients it needs to function, getting rid of the rest, instead of having to store it to use as fuel.
So-called ‘healthy’ options aren’t always low in calories. If you are going it alone and following your own plan, try and sense check some of your choices. For example, nuts and avocados are healthy foods containing a wealth of nutrients and good fats…but they are bloody high in calories, so try and limit them! A salad from a pub might seem like a healthier option than a pasta dish, but if the salad is drizzled in full fat dressing, yet the pasta sauce is tomato based, the pasta may well be the better option. Just check what you are eating!
A quick Google search will give you hundreds of articles about weight loss sabotage, but I think that one of biggest contributors towards our self-sabotage is ’emotional eating’. Eating in response to your feelings, when you are not hungry, is incredibly common…and yes, it labels you as an ’emotional eater’. That need we get to eat, and the thoughts that nothing else will satisfy us, can be our own little devil on our shoulder! A major event can trigger these feelings, but for most of us it becomes our go to thing when trying to deal with the daily issues we face…making it a bloody hard habit to break!
We do it to avoid thinking about a problem, or if we are sad, tired, depressed, lonely, bored, and even when we are happy! Eating a stick of celery, or munching on a bag of carrot batons wouldn’t really be a cause for concern. However it is more than often true comfort foods we turn to…high fat, creamy, salty, calorie laden ‘treats’ that feel as if they are giving you a hug from the inside out!
The following are indicators that you are an ’emotional eater’…
1. Eating without realising you are doing so.
2. Feelings of shame or guilt after eating.
3. Trying to hide your eating by doing it in other places – sitting in the car (after a DriveThru or mad dash into a corner shop for chocolate?!) or eating in your bedroom away from others.
4. Overeating after a bad day at work, or an argument.
5. Getting cravings for certain types of food when you’re depressed or upset.
6. Watching adverts on TV and having to ‘have’ that new chocolate bar that was advertised.
7. Eating when you are bored and have nothing else to do.
Emotional eating leads us to feel as if we’re allowing ourselves to spiral out of control. Initially we don’t notice it but then when the weight creeps on we being to feel guilty. And what is guilt? An emotion of course, which leads to eating again, and leads us to developing that ‘eat – guilt – weight gain – depression, eat – guilt – weight gain – depression’ cycle. So instead of solving the problems you were trying to avoid in the first place, you’ve just added to them!
Given that emotional eating is hard to tackle, how can you deal with it? First of all drop that muffin and have a look at the following…
1. What triggers your eating?
The only way to identify this is through a diary – not just a food one, but food and mood. Just jot down what you eat, when you eat, and how you felt before and after you ate. This will help you to spot trends and notice if you always eat when you feel angry, or tired, and means that you can work towards developing alternative coping mechanisms. Seeing your habits written down can be an incredibly powerful first step towards facing up to them…much like this blog has been for me!
2. Identify when you are hungry.
If your hunger is real the feeling will not pass. Try and wait a while before eating if you think it might be in relation to your emotions rather than plain hunger. We obviously don’t want your hunger leading a McDonalds ram-raid, so a sensible fifteen to twenty minute wait should be sufficient! Thirst is also often mistaken for hunger, so grab a drink – not a bottle of JD 😉 – and wait it out for a while too. Emotional hunger tends to come on very quickly, whereas true hunger is a gradual ‘growing’ feeling.
3. Limit emotional eating foods.
A bit of an obvious one here, but try not to have cupboards fully stocked with crisps, chocolate and other trigger foods. Harder if you have a family who also eat this food, but as an interim measure – to help you crack this – ask them to buy their goodies daily and consume them whilst they aren’t home. Stock your kitchen instead with foods that you could use to wean yourself off the high fat and high calorie crap…I would far rather see a carrot baton binge than a family sized bar of chocolate one! Although binging in any form is not good, trying to go from sinner to saint in one fell swoop is likely to cause even more trauma. Why? Well, imagine trying to tackle your emotional eating and then feeling like a failure when it goes wrong. What is going to happen? Yep, a big old emotional eating session of course! I get my ‘tall’ other half to keep his goodies on top of our kitchen cupboards where I cannot reach them…although I have been know to try and hook them off with a coat hanger! Far better not to have the stuff in the house!
4. Eat regularly and sensibly.
Missing meals and eating crap is going to leave you feeling lethargic and tired and will not set your mind up for the shite that life throws at you! Following a nutritious and healthy diet – with a few treats – will make your body feel good and your mind feel saintly. If you eat crap and feel crap, and then have a row with your partner, or your boss has a crazy at you, it is far more likely you will wallow and end up eating. If you eat good and feel good, you’re far more likely to think “sod you, arsehole!” and brush it off!
5. Find distractions and alternatives.
Get a tool box! Not for real tools…unless your house is in need of DIY and you can tackle a project to distract yourself of course…but for those little distractions that will help. Fill it with nail varnish, good books, exercise DVDs (preferably ones involving boxing!), your favourite films etc. Put a journal in there, or start your own blog, and get your feelings out there instead of trying to eat them out of you. Get a Twitter account and find some supportive ‘virtual’ friends. Go to www.coursera.org and sign up for a free course – I’m starting a few weird and wonderful ones soon – and expand your mind instead of your waist! Put anything in that little rescue box that will take your mind off eating.
Above all else – BE NICE TO YOURSELF! A slip up is inevitable, but do not give up…one bout of emotional eating will not send you sliding right back to where you started. Get rid of any guilt you feel, smile, hold your head up high and deal with it – move on, start afresh and be nice to yourself.
If you feel that you need extra support then speak to your doctor and ask for a referral to a counsellor. There is no shame at all in seeking professional help in order to improve your mind and body. I have done it and I’m bloody glad I did…although make sure you ‘click’ with the person you are opening up to…I went through my fair share of wet lettuces until I found the type of character I needed to help me!
So, on to the usuals…
Today has been a bit too relaxing for me! After the Body Magic was done, we set off to see the neddies, followed by our daily Asda visit…but there was no babysitting, so I was at a loss! I have nearly finished a good book that I am reading, so read a bit more of that, caught up on Twitter and Facebook, and settled down to write the blog. I love doing the blog – as you all know! – but it does take more time than I thought it would…but then I do tend to ramble and rant! 😉 Looking forward to watching the second part of Trevor McDonald ‘Inside Death Row’ tonight. I know it’s a grim subject for most, but I find the psychology behind the criminals fascinating!
Breakfast: Banana and porridge with cinnamon.
Lunch: Low fat Supernoodles with added veggies – carrots, peas, green beans, red onion and mushroom.
Dinner: Italian chicken – made with left over roast chicken, red onions, green and red peppers, chopped tomatoes, mushroom, spinach, mixed beans in tomato sauce, garlic, chilli flakes, basil and oregano.
Snacks: Cherry Muller light, cheese Doritos, 2 Finn Crisp crackers with sweet chilli light Philly.
I woke up with a bit of a dodgy tum…not sure why, as I hadn’t eaten anything dicey yesterday, but sometimes my diabetes medication can do that to me randomly! Despite that, I have a bit of a hungry head on and decided on filling porridge and noodles for lunch. The dinner was a bit of a throw together dish but was lovely! Snack wise, I fancied crisps but decided against two packs of Doritos and went for another, healthier, cheesy snack instead.
Exercise: Treadmill, double BodyPump, double Boxercise, and at least double Dancercise.
I say ‘at least double Dancercise’ as my Dad called and interrupted me, so I started it over again as I don’t like to ‘cheat’ myself! The treadmill session was again completed before anything else, and I am so pleased at how I am able to up my time slowly, each week, and have not so far required extra oxygen! My back is still niggling me, but I will crack on and will visit the doctor if I feel I need to.
Another Weight Loss Bitch blog complete! I am really enjoying getting my random thoughts down daily…very cathartic – as I’ve said before – and a great record to look back on and to help keep me on track!
So thank you for reading again my lovelies, all my love…
Weight Loss Bitch xxx
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