In my last blog, how to eat yourself thin – part 1. I explained why diets don’t work.
Your body will become your enemy if you try to starve it into submission, but it can also be your best friend if you begin treating it with respect. Your body knows how to be healthy. It has this incredible built in mechanism to regulate food intake called the appetite. You may have heard of it?
Crazy as it sounds receptors in the brain can calculate, very accurately, the presence of sugar in the blood and food in the stomach. It allows the mechanism called ‘hunger’ to signal when we need to eat. As the food is slowly chewed, the stomach begins to fill, blood sugar rises and hey presto, chemicals are released that send the signal that tells us to stop eating.
Granted they may not be screaming STOP EATING at 80 decibels in your ear, but if you bother to listen out for them their message it is quite clear. At first you might be aware that the food doesn’t taste quite as delicious as it did when you started eating. Then you might notice the complete absence of hunger (this is a great time to stop eating!) If you continue eating you may become aware of feelings of nausea, bloating and discomfort (guess what, you’ve left it too late!)
I am always amazed at how many of my weight loss clients at lynnwardhypnotherapy have completely lost touch with this natural ability to monitor their food intake. They have spent so many years ignoring what their bodies are trying to tell them that they no longer recognise their bodies’ signals, let alone trust them. Thankfully hypnotherapy offers a very safe and relaxing way of accessing the sub conscious part of your brain (that part of you that is responsible for your habits, impulses, urges and feelings) so that they can become aware of and responsive to the bodies signals.
You too can naturally tune into you bodies needs if you just give it the time and space to communicate with you.
Below I have listed 10 top tips that will help you to reconnect with your bodies’ natural ability to regulate food intake so that you gain back control of your eating habits and need never resort to ‘dieting’ again!
Young children only ever eat when they are hungry; they are totally in tune with their bodies signals and are very happy to share them with you! They don’t care if it’s dinner time or playtime, or how much food is left on their plate. If they are hungry they will eat, if they are full they will stop. You know when a child is no longer hungry; he loses interest in the food, plays with it or spits it out!
1. Eat only when you are hungry.
You won’t be able to listen out for that signal that you have had enough if you are concentrating on the TV or playing a video game.
2. Don’t eat in front of the TV – give your full attention to enjoying your food.
There is a short delay between your stomach becoming full and your brain registering the fact.
3. Eat slowly, put the knife and fork down between bites, actually taste and savour your food. If you are still hungry after you have finished your meal, wait 10 minutes before deciding to go back for seconds.
Chewing is the start of the digestive process. It not only breaks food down, but also sends those ‘satisfied’ signals to your brain.
4. Chew food thoroughly, 20 – 30 times before you swallow!
If we enjoy our meal we will feel nurtured and satisfied and less likely to go in search of a ‘treat’ later.
5. Eat food you actually enjoy.
We have all become confused about what represents a ‘portion’ of food. Your ‘healthy’ cereal may claim it has just 230 calories per 40g portion but do you know what 40g of cereal looks like?
6. Actually weigh some of the most common foods you eat, such as cereal, pasta and rice, and begin to develop a mental image of the amount you should be eating.
Plate sizes have expanded over the past 40 years along with our waists. The bigger the plate you use, the more likely you are to fill it.
7. Eat off a smaller plate.
Food eaten in car or whilst standing or preparing food is often not registered by your brain, though it is always registered on the bathroom scales!
8. Always sit down to eat and if possible eat at a table.
Wholegrain foods such as brown rice and granary bread, pulses and lentils keep you feeling full longer, as do lean protein such as chicken, fish, meat and eggs.
9. Eat whole grains and protein to keep you full.
We often mistake thirst for hunger, so stay hydrated, don’t wait until you are thirsty before you have a drink.
10. Aim to drink a glass of water, or equivalent every hour.
If you remember these simple body ‘conscious’ rules and forget about dieting you may be surprised to notice that excess weight naturally disappearing, and though the rain clouds might not be quite so obliging, it’s certainly not too late for a Sunny September!