Most people’s goal is not just to lose weight- it’s to keep it off. Most people’s struggle is not with lack of knowledge, (most have some clue as to what they should and should not eat), it’s the mindset they have, the stories and excuses they tell themselves, and their relationship with food. As we charge ahead into the holiday season, now is the perfect time to strengthen our mindset, to truly enjoy the holidays, and to start 2019 feeling in control, and having made progress toward our goals.
I invite you to work on two mindset shifts:
- Focus on food
- Don’t make food your focus
It sounds contradictory, but I will explain.
Focus on Food
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you will absolutely need to have a plan. This means knowing what you’re going to have in advance, setting yourself up for success by preparing for your meals (for example, having the groceries in the house, packing your own lunch when at work). I also recommend recording what you ate in a food journal. Time consuming? Maybe. Worthwhile? Absolutely.
A great example of being successful when planning, preparing and recording is one of our long-time clients. For the past eight months, she has consistently exercised 4-6 days per week. She lost some weight and inches, but the change was not as dramatic as she would have like. For the first time, last month, she committed to planning all her meals, preparing ahead of time (she even got up early to prepare a tasty chili for that night’s dinner) and she recorded all her meals. In just shy of a month she lost 8 pounds. For a free, 7-day meal plan with healthy, delicious, family friendly recipes, click here!
I want you to pause for a second and pay attention to your thoughts. Are you thinking ‘this is way too much work!’ or ‘there’s no way I want to write down everything I eat’, or ‘I would but (enter excuse here)’. You have two choices: you can say ‘oh well’, accept that this is just the way it is and take action, or you can continue doing what you’re doing.
Focusing on food also means eating mindfully. Most of us like food, but few of us truly pay attention to the food that we eat. We rush through, or eat while distracted by the television. When our plate is done, we want more because we never allowed ourselves the opportunity to enjoy what we ate.
Instead of rushing through your meals, eat mindfully. Slow down, focus on the tastes and textures of your mouthful. Take your time, chew your food, and enjoy with gusto!
Don’t make food your focus
While long-term success in achieving a healthy body weight requires you to plan your meals and practice mindful eating, it’s also important to think of food as fuel for the rest of your day. Eat to live rather than live to eat. My nine-year-old son reminds me of this skill every day. Given the choice between sitting down and eating a meal and playing, or dancing, he will always pick one of the latter options. He eats because he needs energy (and because I make him) and then moves onto the next activity.
While it’s encouraged to gather around the dinner table as a family, look forward to the time spent with family rather than just the dinner itself. When dinner is done (and you’ve eaten mindfully) you can move onto the next activity for the evening. If you don’t have activities planned, start planning them now so you’re not tempted to fill empty time with snacking! Eating is not a pastime, it’s not a comfort for when you feel sad or anxious, it’s not a reward; food is simply fuel to do things.
To keep off the weight, it’s important to change your relationship with food. While it’s necessarily to plan, prepare and record your meals, remember that the purpose of food to fuel your activities. Go and play!
Yours in Health,
P.S. Want to change your relationship with food? We can help you take your next step. Click here and let’s chat.