If you want to lose those extra kilograms for the long term but find yourself in a continual cycle of dropping weight only to gain it back, then it’s time to consider more than just what and how much you’re eating.
It’s time to get to know and understand your own psychological connection with food.
When you’re fit, you’re energized and motivated too. Meaning, you get more done. You think better. Sleep better. And just generally make better life decisions.
Yet many of us are still tied to the scale and married to counting those calories. And yet failing to keep the weight off permanently and chronic illness at bay.
For those of us who do manage to lose weight, disappointment can often follow. Seeing that excess loose skin on many areas of our body when we’ve worked so hard to lose weight and tone up can be disappointing and a psychological trigger to put the weight back on.
This is where the importance of exercise comes into the equation. But when toning those muscles isn’t sufficient, there are other solutions. For instance, the abdominoplasty can address issues around the abdominal area following weight loss. And we’ve linked a video here just in case you’d like to know more about that.
So, it’s time to get in tune with both our body and mind and understand the psychology of weight loss. And our relationship with food.
The ‘not hungry’ eater
Acknowledging when and why you eat is the first step to breaking those bad habits.
Many of us will often eat even when we are not, in fact, hungry. If you can narrow this down on a personal level, you can start to look at how to change that behavior. And hopefully cutting down substantially on the number of unnecessary calories we consume daily.
Non-hungry eating is something many of us do. Largely because we get used to eating at certain times and in certain social situations. Hungry or not.
The reasons include:
- Eating simply because the food is there
- Stressing about hunger later in the day
- Eating has become a habit
- Eating because of stress or other emotional triggers
- Feeling the need to always finish everything on your plate
The constant dieter
Dieting for short term gains such as a holiday or special occasion is common. But rarely successful in the long run. This usually means the dieter will eventually return to bad eating habits and stop working out. Often we end up gaining even more kilos.
Some alternatives might be:
- Keeping a journal to record your daily eating habits can be very successful for weight loss. But it’s also important to write down your thoughts and feelings too. where you are and who you were with can also help identify bad habits.
- Track your activity levels. Knowing what you need to do and sticking to it. Simply counting the number of steps you take each day is a great way to monitor physical activity.
- Don’t skip meals to reduce calorie intake. This will only slow your metabolism and result in binge eating. Not only is this bad for your health but you’ll likely gain not lose.
The ‘stealth’ eater
Good food choices, along with planning your meals ahead of time can be key to weight loss. You’re more likely to reach for chopped vegetables if there are easily available. Controlling bad food habits will be easier if those healthy snacks are within reach. And help you say no to those high fat, high sugar treats when you’re having a snack craving.
It’s the same principle for exercise. Doing something you enjoy and view it as a lifestyle choice. There are heaps of opportunities to join adult sports teams. You could try something completely new or go back to what you enjoyed in your youth.
If the idea of the gym makes you want to cry. That’s a sign that you need to rethink your fitness routine.
Here are some habits a stealth eater might have:
- Not snacking in the evening. Creating a connection between TV and food will likely harm your weight loss efforts
- Understanding when they’re reaching for food out of boredom or stress. It’s important to understand the difference between eating for hunger and emotional eating.
- Healthy food behaviors will help you achieve goals. But it’s also important to acknowledge that you are not perfect. If you break your eating or exercise rules, don’t beat yourself up.
The mindful eater
A mindful approach to eating means slowing down and really savoring what we eat and how much we consume at mealtimes.
The mindful eater will:
- Consider their hunger before they decide to eat.
- Question the need for sweet treats when they are offered.
- Eat slowly and know when to stop. It’s so important to understand when we are full. Most people eat so quickly that the brain doesn’t have time to tell the body when to stop. This can lead to overeating.
- Feel good about your body and your lifestyle choices. Make changes where you need and learn to feel empowered by your decisions.
- If you’re active and eating well, your weight loss will take care of itself for the long term. Try not to narrow your goals by thinking in terms of time and number of kilos.
The bottom line
Our psychological relationship with food is crucial to losing weight. Bad habits may have formed long ago and we may not even know why. But changing these habits is possible.
Forming a healthy relationship with food and exercise is within reach. And so is losing those extra kilos permanently. Our health tips are meant as a starting point. Move away from the idea of will power as your main weight-loss tool. And towards the idea that psychology is intertwined with our relationship to food.
We are complex beings, even when it comes to our long-lasting health. Weight loss isn’t one size fits all. We need to explore our inner being and establish new rules for ourselves.