Getting Weight Loss Results: Learning to Eat Again
Stressful day at work?
Kids driving you nuts?
Whatever the case, it has caused us upset and driven us straight to food. We have all been there. Not surprisingly, the top reason women over- eat is stress and unfortunately we have learned to use food as comfort.
The good news is that it can be re-learned. The truth is, most of the time when we grab that bag of chips or that tenth cookie, it is not hunger we are satiating but rather our need to feel secure and calm. When we feel stress, anxiety, fear or anger a transmitter in our brain called neuropeptide Y is increased and leads to carbohydrate cravings.
In addition, high fat/ high glycemic index foods release serotonin and endorphins in the brain that create feelings of calm and satisfaction. Therefore we get conditioned to seek out these comforting feelings through food. This is usually what causes our overeating, not hunger.
We fool ourselves in believing in these temporary “highs”, instead of what is really happening , which is quite self-defeating. Sugary carbs set you up for “sugar highs’ followed by “sugar lows”. These “lows” create feelings of depression that just lead to more carb cravings and more eating. Since we can’t always avoid our stresses in life, we can change how we deal with them.
GET REAL- Deal with the problem itself, whatever it may be. As you know, drowning your problems with food has never worked for you before. So try something new. Instead of treating that second slice of cake as a reward to a bad day, reward yourself with a delicious and nutritious meal. You have the power to change the way you live, the way you see yourself and change your relationship with food.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY/TRAIN YOUR MIND- Since we have established that that the true source of overeating is not hunger, we can proceed in a more productive way. If we find other comforting habits or pastimes to take the place of bad foods, we can learn to redirect our emotions. Train yourself to find other sources of pleasure.
Try a new hobby, learn to cook, indulge in a spa treatment. Just treat yourself without dumping bad foods into your body. Read an inspirational book or biography. Pamper and reward yourself in productive ways.
FIND SUBSTITUTES- I have never eaten something I did not like, and I eat healthy foods most of the time. With a little time and preparation you can love every nutritious meal you put into your body. Remember serotonin levels will rise even with complex carbohydrates but they will not give you the same crash. If you need something sweet, cottage cheese with sugar free jam is excellent or even some oatmeal with cinnamon or berries with sugar free whipped cream. If you love savory treats, put some lowfat cheese in that oatmeal, or spice up some hummus.
SET LIMITS- You can’t be everything to everyone. Women have been socialized to be nurturers and caretakers, which is not a bad thing unless you forget your own needs in the process. Help yourself first, then you can care for others more honestly. And don’t forget to ask for what you need from others to make you happy. Find time to nurture yourself.
EXERCISE, OF COURSE!- I guess you knew I would say that, but studies show that exercise is a natural endorphin releaser. Trust me, you may not always go into an exercise session in good spirits but you always come out feeling better. Again find a routine or activity that is fun and keeps your interest. If the treadmill seems like torture (it does to me) do what you love and stick with it, there are so many options out there.
These ideas are a great start. Realize what ails you and decide to be productive. Make the choice to live healthier and change your relationship with food. Remember, eating healthily can be nutritious and delicious; all you need is some preparation and good intention. Now, prepare to take yourself to the next level.