Thought you’d lose weight during lockdown but actually became part of the ‘Quarantine 15’ club where you put on 15lbs and have no idea how to shift it? Here are some practical tips on how to beat the bulge during this challenging time by changing how you think.
It’s not the body that craves food, it’s the mind. And our minds are driven by emotions and feelings. We have an emotional mind and a rational mind and when the two are competing, emotion will always win over logic which is why it’s never as easy as just saying ‘Okay tomorrow I’m going to eat healthily for the rest of my life’. If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it.
Our feelings and emotions are driven by our thoughts and underlying beliefs and some of these operate at a deep-rooted level. Working with the subconscious under hypnosis to find out the root cause of why you overeat in the first place is transformative and will free you from the behaviour forever.
However, there are some things that you can do a conscious level to begin the process of changing thought patterns and consequently actions:
- Our minds only respond to two things – words and pictures – so the first thing to do is to start changing those. Use sentences like ‘I choose not to have that; I could have it if I want but I choose not to’. When we give our minds choice it’s much more accepting. Just think if you were telling someone else ‘You can’t have that’, they’d want it all the more!
- Don’t use words like ‘good’ and ‘bad’. When we use words like this and we have a ‘bad’ food day, our mind takes us down the guilt road and when we go down that road we feel like we’ve failed, self-esteem plummets so we head for something to make us feel better – a ‘bad’ food and so the circle continues.
- Tell yourself you’re looking to shed weight or reduce weight or eat more healthily rather than saying lose weight. Why? Because losing things is painful, we lose money, a job, friends. When we lose things, we try and replace them so you’re directing your mind to replace the weight before it’s even gone!
- Gaining is great and our minds thrive on excitement so excite your mind with all the great things you’re gaining by shedding weight – energy, health, looks etc. Getting the mind excited about a new way of being makes change seem far more appealing and therefore success is more likely.
- Stop beating yourself up. The mind hasn’t moved on for thousands of years and it will always move us away from pain towards pleasure in order to protect us. When we have a terrible dialogue with ourselves and tell ourselves on a daily basis how awful we are then the mind is hardwired to move us away from this pain towards pleasure. And what gives instant pleasure? Food!
- Stop buying the unhealthy food. Sounds simple but so many people don’t do this. When food is in our line of sight we eat more so if you absolutely do have to buy the food if, for example, you’ve got kids at home, then hide it away in the back of a cupboard where you can’t see it.
- Limit the amount of flavours you have. When we’re inundated with lots of different tastes we want to eat more. Think about it, if you have one meal that contains meat and two veg and one that’s a range of tapas dishes, which one will you eat more of?
- Think about whether you’re really hungry or not. The types of foods that we binge on have no nutritional value or hydration so often it’s just a drink that we need, not that we’re hungry. Before you eat anything, have a drink first as you might just be thirsty.
- Tell yourself that you’re safe. The foods that we use for comfort are often soft, sweet, sugary foods that regress us to being a baby where everything was safe. When we’re in this current pandemic and feeling uncertain we want to feel safe so start telling yourself that you are.
- Cravings last for a maximum of three minutes so try distracting yourself until the craving passes – there are plenty of things you can do for three minutes!
Our bodies would never ask us for some of the things we give it so therefore it can only be our minds that crave the food and very often there will be a subconscious reason at play, the root cause of the emotional eating. But if you’re not quite ready to go down that route then these tips will definitely help.