Mindful eating habits
One of the most common things people ask me about is diet. Personally, I enjoy learning about nutrition and weight loss, so I'm always happy to share what I know. It started as something I wanted to know for myself, so I could be more efficient at losing body fat for bodybuilding competitions. Over the years my knowledge expanded, and I went as far as to get certified as a fitness nutrition specialist. But, I couldn't convince myself to sell diets to people.
Since I've had some personal experience gaining and losing weight, I'd like to share with you some mindful practices that have helped me over the years. These are what I consider the foundations to sticking with a diet.
Have integrity with your word
If you keep your promises to other people, but you don't keep the ones you make to yourself, guess what you lack? Integrity. That's a bitter pill to swallow. If you have been telling yourself you were going to drink more water, eat more leafy greens, and stop eating so many cookies, but you keep breaking your word, then you have to evaluate the value of your word. Specifically, the commitments you make to yourself need to be just as valuable as the ones you make to the people you care about. Of course you need to be reasonable about the expectations you have of yourself. If you've been struggling with habitual overeating, and all of a sudden try a drastic restrictive diet, that's obviously going to be a major test of your integrity. The way to create a healthy habit of building your integrity is to start small, really small.
Start with the smallest change first, and commit to consistency.
When it comes to keeping a diet, start with the smallest change necessary to improve. Keep all of your meals and preferences for food the same, except for one small change. It needs to be something so easy you wont break your promise to yourself. So, when you're considering what the smallest change in your diet would be, make sure it's something you can sustain. A great example would be, drinking a glass of water with one meal a day. That's a very small commitment, easy to do, easy not to break, sustainable, and can help influence consuming less calories during a meal. Once you master your sustainable commitment, introduce another small change. The goal is to become better at keeping your word to yourself to make healthy choices, not to deprive you or restrict you. As the small changes become easier, your integrity strengthens because you are keeping the commitments you make to yourself. Having integrity with your word gives you confidence, and that confidence reinforces your motivation to continue making healthier choices.
Never underestimate the power of a good mindset. When I was struggling with binge eating, I went to a hypnotherapist in hopes of overcoming it. In one of our sessions, I remember her telling me to imagine my inner child and how I would feed my inner child. How do I show myself care and love? Would I feed a small child the way I feed myself? I would absolutely not allow my child to eat an entire bag of cookies or 4 cheese burgers, 6 oranges, and a large soda as a normal meal. I wouldn't let my kid eat a treat unless they had eaten something healthy too. So, having a mindset of restrictive dieting vs fueling your body with nutritious food out of self love, have two very different outcomes.
If you're struggling because the temptation of hyperpalatable foods is too much to resist, then consider this mindful practice.
It's always helped me avoid unnecessary calories, and enjoy indulging when I choose to. If you didn't wake up craving a specific treat, don't eat it just because it's there. For example, if I had a dream about brownies, and woke up wanting a brownie, I would have two options: 1. Go out of my way to make/buy brownies 2. Eat a brownie if someone gifted it. It's easy to come up with reasons why I don't feel like baking or don't feel like going to the store (especially right now). However, if the universe conspired on my behalf and the treat I was craving shows up with no effort, then it's a sign and I must indulge. The wonderful thing is both scenarios are uncommon. On the rare occasion where I actually go out of my way to get the treat I'm craving, or someone brings it to me, I never feel guilty about enjoying it because it doesn't happen all the time. Plus, there is something extra enjoyable about satisfying a craving vs eating indulgent food because it's there.
Hope this helps you on your weight loss journey.