Master Your Mind - Eating Well for Success
We are continually being bombarded left right and centre with headlines detailing the fears around the devastating health affects of our growing obesity epidemic ~ heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and the risks of some cancers and stroke and we know that improving our diet is one way we can actively reduce those risks however knowing what to eat and actually being able to follow this through is not always as simple as it sounds, but there are some practical things that you can do to set yourself up for success.
Start by Looking at what you’re doing now so you know what your habits are - no two people are the same and it’s important to have a starting point - if it’s that you’re overeating understanding the reasons “why” you’re overeating is key - keep a food journal for a few weeks that way you can see not only what you’re eating and when but also some clues as to why you’re eating - is it hunger were you stress eating or simply eating out of boredom ? So for example If you have a stressful job and head straight for the crisps every evening, you are a 'stress eater’. For other people, it could be boredom, sadness or loneliness – there are a number of reasons why we eat besides hunger. Work on relieving those emotions and you can really progress with your eating habits.
Don’t starve yourself or crash diet
So many people still are under the conclusion that by drastically reducing their calorie intake they will lose weight. However a lack of food will have a direct impact on your metabolic rate, and if you damage that you’ll actually start gaining weight the second you start eating regularly again. If we’re not eating the right foods – in particular protein – we diminish our muscle stores, and affect our metabolic rate which helps us burns excess fat during our sleep. Diets don’t actually work as they are not sustainable but finding a way of eating foods that are nourishing and enjoyable that did your routine will stand the test of time setting you up for success and not failure leading to the dreaded yo-yo cycling.
Don’t deny yourself
Depriving yourself of certain foods makes you more likely to fixate on them and then binge. By allowing yourself them the mysticism and excitement diminishes. Obviously, chocolate or cake most days will make a difference, but once or twice a week is fine Keep it varied Look at what most people eat and you’ll see they have the same thing for breakfast and the same thing for lunch every day. Aim for lots of variety, and for food that looks colorful and appealing. Focus on what you’re including in your diet not what you shouldn’t eat.
The C word
Don’t be scared of carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and wholegrain bread are very important, as they keep your blood sugar-level stable, are great for mood and contain essential minerals. Eliminating a whole food group means you run the risk of being deficient in minerals. You don’t need to eat huge quantities buy you definitely do need to include them!
Take your time
You should have 'protected’ mealtimes, which means not eating food while watching television, reading the paper or working on your laptop. If you don’t concentrate on the food you won’t feel as if you’ve been fed. Take time to really enjoy food and remember it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full so just slow down, chew your food well all of this helps in staying mindful and reduces the risk of over eating.
Author: Hala El-Shafie
Hala is a consultant nutritionist with over 15 year’s clinical experience as a registered Dietitian in both the NHS private and corporate sectors. She completed her training at University College Hospital London. Hala presented the new Channel 4 series, How to Lose Weight Well which is back for a third series. She was also part of BBC1’s flagship show - Eat Well for Less. Hala also presented the previous series of Sugar Free Farm on ITV1.
She has a unique understanding of the emotional and psychological issues often associated with food, and has created a successful holistic client-centered approach that has brought her an extensive and loyal following, including a number of high-profile and celebrity clients. Her passion is to enthuse people to eat better for health whilst supporting a positive body image and helping then become free from the emotional attachment of food.