How To Achieve Successful Weight Loss Through Mindful Eating
A More Personalised Approach To Long-Term Weight Management
Many people contact me saying they’ve tried all the diets, have lost weight but then struggle to keep the weight off long-term and are now looking for a fresh approach to help them improve their relationship with food and get their eating under control. I hear very similar stories, where people don’t want to keep relying on weight loss plans, explaining how they just want to have a normal relationship with food and to stop struggling with their weight. We can all follow a weight loss plan where we’re told what foods are ‘allowed’ or ‘forbidden’, but the problem with a lot of weight loss plans is that they’re not personalised, taking into account personal needs and preferences. The other issue with following a weight loss plan is that it may not give the individual an opportunity to fully explore their own relationship with food, which is a vital part of successful weight loss and long-term weight management.
Don’t Just Have A Weight Loss Goal
It’s really important that we don’t just focus on a weight loss goal but that we also address any underlying eating habits, as well as any medical conditions that could be making weight loss and/or long-term weight control difficult. A person might follow a diet plan diligently and lose weight as a result, but if they then return to their former eating habits where they might have had a tendency to eat large portions, eat a high-sugar diet, binge-eat or graze all day, for example, that person is very likely to re-gain the weight. This is where self-awareness comes in. A weight loss goal by itself is too simplistic, and instead a person needs to go on a journey of self-discovery to understand why they might have a poor relationship with food in the first place, why they might have strong urges to binge, and to become aware of how much they actually eat. I therefore work with clients to explore their thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and values in relation to food, eating and dieting, and how that is then reflected in their eating behaviours. I also help them to understand the nutritional components of their eating; for example, blood sugar balance, and how the food choices they make might be putting them on a blood sugar ‘rollercoaster’ and making them feel hungry, lethargic and experience food cravings.
Mindful Eating Is Flexible Eating
I teach clients the importance of escaping the ‘black and white’ mindset, which is reflected in the words they use. I often hear people talk about ‘good’ foods and ‘bad’ foods, and how they describe themselves as ‘good or ‘bad’ depending on what they’ve eaten. This can cause people to get stuck in extreme behaviours of either being ‘good’ (on a diet) or ‘bad’ (off a diet, and overeating and/or making poor food choices). I teach people to embrace ‘middle-way’ eating instead, which is a much more flexible approach to eating. The great thing about flexible eating is that it’s more enjoyable and more sustainable. What’s the point of following a diet plan really well for two weeks and then giving up? We tend to give up diets because they’re restrictive and it means cutting out or significantly reducing the foods we love. We don’t enjoy most diets because we’re focusing on what the rule book says we should eat instead of being guided by our internal cues or wisdom in terms of what and how much to eat in any given moment. There’s no point in placing ourselves in a mental cell of deprivation, where the only thing we feel we can rely on is willpower. Willpower is like a phone battery, it runs out, and so relying on willpower alone doesn’t work. Ever wondered why you start off the day eating healthily and by the evening you’ve lost a lot of your resolve? If we put rigid rules in place, sooner or later we’re likely to rebel. This is why it’s important to give ourselves permission to eat all foods, whilst eating mindfully. When we give ourselves permission to eat foods in moderation we can start to reduce the guilt and shame around eating- guilt reflects a poor relationship with food, and it’s guilt that can keep us trapped in yo-yo dieting. It’s also responsible for secret eating.
Baby Steps For Successful Weight Loss & Long-Term Weight Management
I help clients to build their self-belief and to start trusting themselves around food. I work along the lines of ‘baby steps’, as change doesn’t happen overnight. Habits can be a bit stubborn to change, especially if we’ve been carrying out certain behaviours and ways of thinking for decades. But we can change habits- all we need to do is be consistent, and patient. Eating habits evolve over time, so you can’t expect to suddenly do a complete overhaul of your eating habits in a short period- it’s vital that you’re patient with yourself. When I’m helping clients to set up new habits, it’s easy to allow old habits to creep back in or to forget what new habits you were trying to set up, so being prepared to work with me for several sessions over time is more beneficial than expecting to make radical and long-lasting changes in just a few weeks. When I work with clients we come up together with an action plan that’s enjoyable, realistic and achievable. We then tweak, make adjustments or re-visit anything the client is struggling with. I’m all for motivating the client and building their self-belief that they can improve their relationship with food and achieve the weight loss they’re looking for, and I do this by celebrating any ‘mini-victories’ with them as well as encouraging them to focus on what they’re doing well, not just what’s not going so well. A harsh inner critic is something I often come across, so I’m often helping clients to turn down the volume on that inner critic too, as part of the whole process.
Developing Self-Awareness For Successful Weight Loss & Long-Term Weight Management
If you really want to improve your relationship with food, it’s vital that you invest in yourself. It’s also important to wipe the slate clean, to take off the old diet hat that may have caused self-limiting beliefs to develop as you’ve watched yourself fail diet after diet. That said, it’s also important to remember that it’s not actually you failing at the diet, but the diet failing you! By wiping the slate clean you’re also aiming to put behind you your memories of an ongoing cycle of weight loss and weight gain. Focus on addressing your underlying eating habits and then weight loss can be a positive by-product. I help to empower individuals by teaching them knowledge and skills, and encouraging them to go on a journey of self-discovery to obtain that crucial insight. Awareness is power, and it’s through awareness and being prepared to go within and embrace new ways of thinking that positive change can happen. Remember that we’re all different, so we all need a personalised, tailor-made approach.