Sometimes it’s as simple (yet profound) as a lack of confidence – we don’t THINK we can. Years of dieting have convinced us that we’re helpless against our cravings and urges. Your belief that you can indeed eat like a sane person is imperative to you being able to do it – and, by the way, you are perfectly capable.
You can trust that, with insight and support, you can take good care of yourself.
If you need more confidence, here are a few helps:
• Build your self-efficacy. Remind yourself that you can accomplish what you want to accomplish, in spite of your obstacles. (We all have obstacles)
• Remember that you’ve done difficult things before. Recall other uncomfortable things that you’ve conquered and remember that you can do this too.
• Remember that you are not alone. Reach out and take advantage of the support that is available. We all need support. There are many good coaches, recovery groups, friends, counselors, etc. who can help you on your path to health. Have confidence that you can find the help you need.
So, if you ever wonder – why can’t I stop eating?! you can know that sometimes it’s simply a matter of believing that you can.
Here’s something I know as a wellness coach. You CAN indeed accomplish what you wish to accomplish with your health. I have full confidence in you!
Let us know what you do to bolster your confidence when you need it…
The third reason in our series of why we eat when we aren’t hungry is Inappropriate Restraint (dieting). Rigid restraint involves strict eating rules which inevitably lead to the natural response of binge eating once you break a rule. Rigid restraint is linked with short-term weight loss…and then more weight gain. However, flexible restraint, a habit of moderate self-regulation and reasonable room for “fun foods” was one of the strongest predictors of lasting weight loss.
To encourage flexible restraint while avoiding over-rigid rules, the researchers suggest:
• Create stable but flexible eating behaviors that do not foster a sense of deprivation.
• Eat mindfully, in a way that honors your food and your body’s hunger signals.
• Choose portions that make sense.
• Develop an attitude free of depriving rules and shame. (rid yourself of diet mentality)
• Have realistic expectations of yourself and your weight.
• Release weight slowly over time so the weight loss is stable.
What are your observations about giving up strict food rules?
We’re looking at three reasons* we eat when we are not hungry.
Emotional eating is a biggy. One of the main reasons we carry extra weight is eating when we are sad, bored, restless or anxious. Research (and our own experience) teaches us that eating in response to negative emotions can be a comfort, a tranquilizer, a way of “swallowing” feelings instead of expressing them or just a plain old distraction.
Here were some suggestions from the researchers and a few more thrown in:
*gathered from studies by the American Institute for Cancer Research.
• Research or take classes in problem-solving or stress-avoidance.
• Develop new ways of coping with your emotions. Work with a dietitian, nutritionist or wellness coach trained in teaching coping skills.
• Find a wise counselor and do some healthy emotional work. You will be so glad you did!
• Decide on three things you are going to do BEFORE you turn to food. Tell yourself you can go eat if you want but first you’re going to do three other things. It helps me to take a walk, get outside, listen to some “up” music or sing, dance a bit or jump around. You might decide on a safe health-buddy to call at times like this. Other ideas are to enjoy a garden for fifteen minutes, play some games, sweep the deck and then enjoy sitting on it, swing a bit, call a relative or elderly friend and chat for ten minutes…
What do you do to keep from eating when something’s gnawing at you?
Over the next week or so we are going to look at three big reasons WE EAT WHEN WE AREN’T HUNGRY. Recent studies show that we all tend to eat for the same reasons whether we grow up in Europe or America, no matter our economic situation or our age.
Knowing this is powerful stuff! When we know what’s driving us to grab food and put it in our mouths – we can drive the urge instead of the urge driving us.
One of the top reasons is CONVENIENCE – easy access to prepared and snack foods. It’s everywhere! If food is right before our eyes, is easy to grab and easy to eat – studies show that you probably will…unless you are mindful of what is happening. The cool thing is that we can spot these triggers. We can also do a lot to change the convenience-factor in our immediate environment.
Here are a few ideas:
• Keep candy dishes out of sight. Even having a lid on it or putting it six feet away slows us down.
• Keep snacks in drawers and not out on the counter in plain sight.
• Don‘t bring a lot of snack foods into your house. Keep them around mainly when you have company so they are enjoyed but gone quickly.
• Most of the time keep serving dishes on the stove rather than the table. We tend not to get seconds when the food is not right under our nose.
• Break the habit of buying snack foods when you go into a convenience store. Just don’t look. Do this for 21 – 30 days and the habit is broken. You won’t even miss it.
• Boycott buffets. Just too darn much food before your eyes, and usually not very high quality.
Bottom line – make snack foods inconvenient whenever you can. This is one big reason our great grand parents did not struggle as we do…no Nutter Butters in the house or M&Ms in candy jars.
What do you do to keep food from being ever present?
So, you know those no-bake cookies…the ones you make on top of the stove with butter, sugar, cocoa, peanut butter and oats? Well, my 22 year old son wanted some. He’s home between college and real-big-man-life so naturally I wanted to make them for him because our memories go way back with these cookies! We call them Cow Patties.
Well, I whipped up a batch of those delectable things and there they were all laid out on the counter looking very seductive.
My intuitive self knew that I could certainly have some. And I did. I had two with a glass of cold milk as part of my lunch. Enjoyed them fully and completely. This was quite a treat and very mindfully enjoyed.
Thirty minutes later I am back through the kitchen on my way to the laundry room (Guess whose laundry I am doing?) and there they are…still looking seductive. Mind you, I was not thinking of them. I was perfectly satisfied. But there they were, being flirtatious. My body was not hungry. I needed no fuel. But…my mind and taste buds wanted two more, with milk.
As I write this my stomach hurts, I feel sleepy and sluggish on this sunny afternoon – and I am also very aware that my intuition was so right and my mind was so wrong about what would make me feel great.
I am not beating myself up, mind you. No shame here – just regret. UGH…I am a slug…
Food is not a moral issue so my worth is not determined by this action. What is determined is how good I feel. Right now…not so good.
What intuitive or not so intuitive experiences have you had this week – how did it make you feel?