What is going to help you lose weight?
I love helping a serial yoyo dieter with their weight loss journey, so that they lose weight efficiently.
One of the questions I ask in my initial consultation is “have you ever sought help before?” For the client with anxiety the answer is quite different. They will list the specialist help they have received, the medication they have used and what the doctor has said. When I ask this question during a weight loss initial consultation the response is a list of diets. Weight Watchers, Slimmers World, The Atkins diet, The Cambridge Diet, Lighter Life, and the list goes on.
As a dieter you try every day to follow a plan, you read the books that tell you what to eat. Actually, you often think you haven’t eaten anything at all – but you still aren’t losing weight. What are you doing wrong? (Remembering these four things for weight loss.)
What can I change?
In trying to follow manuals you are moving further and further away from listening to yourself. When you were born you knew when you were hungry. You would cry, your parent or caregiver would probably offer you milk, and you would either accept it or refuse it depending on whether that was what you needed. Sometimes you needed a cuddle, were the wrong temperature, felt uncomfortable. In these instances, you would have refused the milk.
In the unfortunate circumstance that you experienced a restricted food source or scheduled feeding times the confusion may have begun that early. However, for most of us it starts when we are a toddler and food becomes a reward, a bribe or a comforter. The brain starts to connect specific foods to situations or feelings.
There is praise and encouragement directed at slightly older children to eat everything on the plate rather than eating until full. Again, routined feeding times create an eat on a schedule pathway in the brain, unnecessary when you were born with the ability to know when you need fuel.
At birth, the body knows how to alert the brain to hunger. Food is a source of fuel. As we grow, external sources begin to control access to the fuel source. Fuel is over provided in counterproductive ways. For example the ice cream offered to the child that finishes all of their dinner, the sweets given to the child that behaves well in the supermarket and the chocolate given to the child that has fallen over and hurt their knee.
Adults hush feelings with food and when the child expresses hunger the response is that they cannot eat anything because they will not eat their dinner. Congratulations for a younger child that finishes all their food. Whilst a teenager is told they eat too much.
No wonder you do not know whether you are coming or going! Throughout your life the fuel alert in your body has been completely confused. I think it is important to point out here that even if your parents had a healthy attitude to the process of food being fuel, society does not.
I try so hard to provide my children with access to healthy foods, they can prepare themselves when they need. Yet we go to friends or family and there is praise for finishing meals, chocolate when they get sad and refusal of a snack in the afternoon because “they won’t eat their dinner”. If you are looking back and wondering at what point in life you started to confuse food as something other than fuel it may not be obvious.
Reconnection of your mind and body
Losing weight needs to be a slow process because, whilst you will need to change the way you eat, there needs to be space for a reconnection of your mind and your body. Did you know that studies of children have shown that, when offered foods with a variety of nutritional content, children will naturally choose the food type that contains the nutritional content their body requires in that moment?
There is one simple thing you can do to begin your process of eating naturally again. Whenever you take a step towards food stop for a moment and give yourself one minute to think.
A – Am I hungry?
B – What do I want to eat?
This is the launch of the new you. Like the reconnection of two separated wires. You will feel the first sparks as your mind reconnects with your body and you listen to yourself instead of habitually reaching for the first thing that you see.
By making available to yourself nutritionally rich foods and spending time considering your needs you are starting to reconnect the disconnect that has been slowly breaking apart as you experience life.
Meal planning can be a simple effective task that provides your body with the nutrition that you require. Always think about what you want to eat. Liberate yourself by taking time to think about what you would eat right now if you could have absolutely anything in the world. Is it really that rubbishy snack that you so often grab because it is known to you, easy and gives rapid satisfaction? Or would you choose something a little more luxurious, something a bit more exotic? Something that might take a little more effort but is more satisfying and nutritious? These are the things to write on your meal plan. All the while be considerate to your body. Respect it, open up the option to yourself to learn about the benefits of quality products and why you deserve them.
Alongside your meal plan think of some snacks that you find filling and satisfying. Write a solid list that you can take to the supermarket and commit to it. If this is a struggle some hypnotherapy will reset your mind so you stick to it. You can check out how many sessions of hypnotherapy you will need by reading my blog post; How many hypnosis sessions for weight loss?
When you are away from home take some of your chosen snacks and planned meals with you. Whenever you go to eat ask yourself the two questions again. Am I hungry? What do I want to eat? Keep in mind your bag with snacks that are beneficial to you. If you’re hungry have something, if you are not, save your chosen food until later.
Remember … later always comes.
Juliet, a hypnotherapist since 2008, with a diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy is an Anxiety UK registered clinical hypnotherapist therapist. In 2018 she was awarded an MSc in Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal Psychology which she uses to complement her therapy work. For more information on Juliet please click here. You can also find out more about Juliet’s work here. Juliet offers all clients a free initial consultation which you can book here. Appointments can be online or face to face removing the need to be local.