It’s been said that the way to a person’s heart is through her/his stomach, but did you know that the way to your stomach is through your mind? Yes, once again, “The link is what you think.”
Judy Beck, in her book, “The Beck Diet Solution,” describes this in detail, and I recommend her book and workbook to anyone who wants to go into this in more detail. I’ll summarize much of what she writes about in the following sensible steps.
Let’s begin by asking one question: “What role does the mind play in creating healthy weight and thus overall wellness?” Let’s take a look at how the way you think helps you deal with the 5 key food triggers, including:
- Social (buffet chat)
- Environment (food ads)
- Biological (hunger cravings)
- Emotional (anxiety, depression, boredom and happiness)
- Mental (thinking about food)
First, those who are overweight or obese often think differently than others about food and themselves. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine how you think about food and being hungry:
Do you confuse hunger with a desire to eat?
Do you have a low tolerance for hunger and cravings?
Do you like/demand the feeling of “being full”?
Do you fool yourself about how much you actually eat?
Do you comfort yourself/your feelings with food?
Do you feel helpless & hopeless when you gain weight?
Do you focus on issues of “unfairness”?
Do you give up regulating your diet and exercise once you begin to lose weight?
To begin with, properly entering the weight/wellness challenge requires that you understand the advantages of doing so. Among the many benefits, you will be healthier, look better, like yourself more, feel more in control and be more comfortable around other people.
What about the disadvantages? None!
Those who will be successful in meeting the weight loss challenge will know how to rationally (accurately) respond to their irrational (inaccurate) thoughts about food, dieting and exercise. Here are some examples:
Yes I know I ate a little while ago, but I’M STARVING…but I’m only having a craving, and that doesn’t mean I HAVE to eat
I can’t stand feeling hungry, it’s awful…but in truth, it’s only uncomfortable and I can tolerate it and I know it’ll go away
Oh, it’s only one extra cookie, so what’s the big deal? The big deal is if I have that cookie, I only strengthen the habit of giving in.
Weight loss and wellness requires people to combat the thoughts of “having to”:
Feel deprived…But I’d rather tolerate deprivation and get healthier
Tolerate hunger…But I can tolerate a bit of hunger in order to lose weight, get fit and be healthier
Eat differently than others… But what’s the big deal? It’s worth it to get fitter, healthier and lose weight
Write down a daily eating plan and not be able to be spontaneous…But I can either NOT write down my plans and be spontaneous, or become healthier…not both
Healthy self-talk sounds like this:
“GIVE MYSELF CREDIT”
“SAY ‘NO’ TO EXTRA UNPLANNED FOOD”
“PUT MY HEALTH FIRST”
“EXERCISE NO MATTER WHAT”
“I CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS”
“I’D RATHER BE FITTER”
“DON’T COMFORT MYSELF WITH FOOD”
“I CAN EITHER EAT EVERYTHING AT THE BUFFET OR GET FIT, BUT NOT BOTH”
Ready to make some important commitments? Here are some that those successful in losing weight and creating wellness make, and stick to:
I’ll make the following changes at home and work___________
To make time and energy for staying on track, I’m going to_____________
The spontaneous & planned exercise I’m going to do___________
My first weight loss goal is_________
To learn to figure out when I’m really hungry, I’m going to_________
When I have a craving, I’m going to__________
In order to eliminate spontaneous eating, I’m going to________________
Tips to lose weight
It isn’t easy to properly engage your mind to lose weight and become fit. It may mean some or all of the following:
- Consistently make time for exercise and all planned eating
- Plan your eating in writing
- Eat slowly and mindfully
- Monitory everything you eat in writing
- Tolerate hunger
- Avoid or deal with triggers
- Resist cravings
- Recognize normal “fullness”
- Avoid unplanned eating
- Identify and counteract your sabotaging thoughts
- Respond to a sense of unfairness
- Give yourself credit
- Squarely face your mistakes
- Plan to avoid these mistakes in the future
- Get back on track immediately
- Assertively say “no” to food pushers
- Seek out personal support and ask for help whenever and wherever you need it
- Plan for special events and traveling
- Cope with negative and positive emotions without turning to food
- Cope with discouragement
Remember, “nothing but nothing tastes as good as being a healthy weight feels.”