Weight Management Plan That Promotes More Enjoyable, Flexible Eating
When trying to lose weight, it’s easy to become focused on how your weight is dropping, whilst not really tackling the eating that led to the weight issue in the first place. Rather than focusing on weight, a much more helpful approach on any weight management plan is to focus more on your eating behaviour, and to identify ways to help you enjoy your food whilst eating an amount that’s right for your body.
Ditch The Concept Of ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Foods
When trying to lose weight, many people feel guilty when they give in to foods they’ve tried to give up- they feel that they’ve blown it so they give up the diet. You can stop feeling guilty about eating certain foods if you don’t categorize foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. If you eat only ‘good’, ‘allowed’ foods you can end up following a plan you don’t really enjoy, and when you start craving the foods you love it’s easy to give in to those ‘bad’ foods, and give up the diet. Alternatively, you might use willpower to avoid all the ‘bad’ foods and only eat the ‘good’ foods, but as soon as the diet is over you run the risk of re-introducing all the foods you’d avoided to lose weight.
Instinctively, we’re driven to eat foods that taste fatty and sugary because such foods are ‘survival’ foods, being so calorie-dense. If we constantly deny ourselves our favourite foods, we’ll naturally end up feeling deprived, craving them, and eating them. If we stop categorising food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ whilst following a weight management plan, get rid of imposed rules that say that you should eat this and shouldn’t eat that, and give ourselves permission to eat those foods mindfully and in moderation, we can stop feeling guilty about eating the ‘bad’ foods.
Checking in With Internal Cues To Eat Or Not Eat
Rather than ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, it can be helpful to categorise foods as those you enjoy, and those you enjoy less, and then selecting the foods you’d really like to eat and passing on the foods you’re not so bothered about. Gaining true control over food and having a good relationship with food involves a combination of eating what you enjoy, whilst not eating it to excess. A habit worth developing is checking in regularly with your appetite and enjoyment levels, using your inner wisdom and acting on your internal satiety cues, rather than being triggered to eat by external forces such as the sight of food and pressure from others to eat. Asking yourself ‘How hungry am I?’, ‘Am I enjoying this food?’, ‘Am I still tasting this food?’, or ‘Will I really enjoy the food that’s on offer- will it taste as good as it looks?’ can be really useful in helping you decide not only whether to eat, what to eat, but how much to eat.
Enjoy Food More, But Less Of It
The last few bites often don’t taste as good as the first few- ever eaten the first half of a sandwich and not noticed the second half? Many of us eat on automatic pilot, mindlessly eating the food simply because it’s there on the plate- and if it’s a 12 inch plate, the typical size these days, it’s easy to eat to excess and feel stuffed. Yet you might feel stuffed but you might not have actually enjoyed much of the meal because you didn’t really notice it. As the saying goes, ‘Less Is More’- it’s possible to eat less, but actually enjoy it more, if we eat more consciously, or mindfully- and if we cultivate our ‘inner gourmet’- an awareness of and appreciation for the taste of food, which can help us to become more discerning when making food choices. When following someone else’s diet plan, we eat what we’re told but don’t consider whether or not we actually enjoy the food- in this way we don’t get to properly develop that inner gourmet. Diets shouldn’t be uncomfortable or boring, as discomfort and boredom aren’t sustainable- we’ll soon veer off track. If we become more aware of what we’re eating, we can savour it more and enjoy it more- this can help us to feel more satisfied with less. Enjoying food is the key to any successful, sustainable weight management plan, and being more mindful of each mouthful can help you to eat less at the same time.
The Enjoyment Scale: Be More Selective
Since a weight management plan must be enjoyable for it to work, one way of ensuring this is to eat the foods you prefer to eat, as opposed to someone else telling you what to eat- which happens when you follow diets designed by somebody else- the rather limited ‘one size fits all’ approach. If you’re more selective about what you eat by thinking in terms of your personal enjoyment, whilst not losing sight of the nutritional value of food, then you can go ahead and eat the foods you really want to- combine this with tuning into your internal satiety cues, and you can start a new relationship with food that no longer involves a cycle of deprivation, guilt and overeating, and instead one that’s more satisfying, moderate and relaxed.
Creating A Personalised, Mindful Eating Weight Management Plan
Diets don’t work for many people, as most of the time you have to stick to a fixed amount and type of food- which might not even be the right amount for you. A lot of the thinking might be done for you, and once you stop the diet you’re back to your old eating habits. This is why so many people end up yo-yo dieting- they lose weight then re-gain it, then find a new diet, stuck in a vicious cycle. If you become a more mindful eater you can actually end the struggle with food and gain a sense of freedom by enjoying your food whilst knowing you’re not going to overdo it. If you can devise your own weight management plan, focusing on your personal preferences and needs, you’re more likely to feel comfortable with it, and happy to use it as a template for long-term eating.
If you feel you could benefit from my Mindful Eating service, give me a call (Emma Randall) on 07961 423120, or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m based in Lightwater, Surrey. I also offer Skype sessions.
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