Lose Weight when Food is Your Life
Yesterday a friend was telling me that she feels eager to lose weight, this is not a new conversation, weight loss is something she has been seeking for most of her adult life. We chatted about ways to do it, there are all the diet books in the world. Diet clubs, apps, plans, you name it it’s out there. The thing is, like many people she has used all the apps, all the clubs, all the plans and they work well. Until she loses the weight.
I do not think it is revolutionary for you to hear that weight loss comes from a lifestyle change – and this is where I believe many people stumble. Because food is part of our culture, it is what you giggle about as you tell your friend about the easter egg you bought for your daughter and then ate in the car on the way home. The pack of biscuits you put in the cupboard to get you through the week but ate in front of one movie.
When you come together for a day out find you have all “been good” this week so you can have dessert, or you meet your friend at the local healthy café because you are both trying to “be good”. Yesterday you were “a bit naughty” when you bought a chocolate bar as you paid for the petrol and tonight, you will probably celebrate Friday with a big bag of crisps and a gin and tonic. I could go on forever and ever because this is life for many people in our society.
So, I start to see a clear problem, which is not necessarily the food. When I work with a client that considers food a part of their lifestyle, I must ask the question, how will your dialogue with your friends and family change? If your conversations always revert to the topic of your most recent weight loss find. If every time you meet your friends, you conspire together to “be naughty” or come together in solidarity to “be good” what will happen to those relationships when food is no longer a focus for you?
Food is accessible beyond belief in our society, there is the ability to eat excessively, cheaply, and there is food available quickly everywhere you look. In years gone by food was less accessible and more expensive. It feels like there was the option to be less mindful about what one ate because in a supermarket aisle you would need to search for the processed item, contrasting to today where you must search for the natural. Food manufacturers produce foods that taste so good we want to eat more of them regardless of whether we experience disordered eating. To maintain a healthy weight a combination of changing your belief system and mindfulness may be key.
Why does your belief system need to change to lose weight?
Do you see food as celebratory, or a treat, or anything other than the fuel you need to survive? If so, this is a belief that you may choose to challenge.
Do you prioritise your taste buds above the requirement of your body to function optimally?
When you use food as a celebration, you lose the true purpose of food. The treat, or feel-good factor no longer comes from being connected to friends and family or the experience, rather the food that you will consume. Food is no longer fuel for our body but something that is there solely for enjoyment, much like a hobby. We begin to use food to bring joy and pleasure, seeking out taste and forgetting about nutrition.
When you bring the focus of food back to fuel for the body and seek healthy activities that bring you fulfilment without food your habits will change. Alongside this consider what experiences you can enjoy with your friends and family to create a new common interest. How will you adapt your dialogue to fit your new lifestyle into your conversations so that you recreate connections with those around you that do not revolve around food?
As you move away from finding the next best diet or sharing experiences with friends that are food based a huge door to the world will open. There will be the opportunity to connect with friends in a deeper more thoughtful way. There is more to consider when trying to lose weight than restricting foods, when you commit to eating food as fuel and finding fulfilment elsewhere use your dialogue to bring your friends and family with you, the excitement is right around the corner.