How hungry are you really? Most of us have completely lost touch with what it feels like to be hungry. I don’t mean starving until you reach ‘hangry’ but knowing when you feel nearly full and not feeling uncomfortably full you couldn’t eat any more either.
These are a few tools I use with my clients in coaching them on how to change their unhealthy eating habits which I hope can help you too.
Start noticing patterns of when you reach for junk food or tend to overeat. For most people it will be during boredom or times of stress. When you are bored, don’t use food as entertainment. Make a choice to go for a walk or do some housework, phone a friend or exercise as opposed to going to the fridge or pantry out of habit. When you’re feeling stressed, try to distract yourself with 3 deep breaths and notice what you are thinking and feeling. Practicing mindfulness is a way of bringing attention to yourself and your thoughts so that you can change your negative or self defeating thought processes into more positive thoughts. For example the next time you think “I’m so stressed out, I need a cookie or a wine” Think “I’m feeling stressed so I need to visualise a happy thought like an amazing holiday destination” instead of using junk food to manage your feelings. Emotional eating is a form of self punishment, where most people feel guilty after eating and experience only a minute of pleasure before the psychological beat up starts. That doesn’t sound like comfort food to me!
Eat with awareness where possible, so you eat without distraction from the TV, emails and your phone and just concentrate on enjoying your meal and chewing your food properly so your brain registers that you are satisfied. Being aware of what you are eating (as opposed to mindless eating) will reduce how much you eat and if you can’t trust your brain to tell you when you’re satisfied, then eat off smaller plates! Use a side plate for your dinner instead of a regular sized dinner plate and when you’re out at a restaurant try ordering an entree and a side salad and save the dessert for home where you can have a few berries with greek yoghurt or a square of 70% dark chocolate to satisfy sweet cravings after a meal.
Choose foods that genuinely make you feel good, are healthy, nutrient rich and delicious. Eating a wide variety of delicious healthy foods that nourish your body, mind and soul will help you refrain from eating junk because quite honestly your taste buds will re-adjust to not enjoying salty, greasy, fatty, sugary foods and will actually prefer the taste of healthy simple unprocessed fresh food.
Hope this helps