While this may be the season we’ve all been waiting for (balmy evenings, sunny strolls and beach BBQs…), it’s also the time of year we’re most likely to want to go on a weight loss diet.
Psychotherapist Mandy Cassidy believes too many people focus on cutting carbs, counting calories and splashing out on gym memberships when all they really need is a change of heart.
Mandy, who works as a consultant with weight loss website LighterLife says people get trapped in a cycle of yoyo dieting because they focus too much on what they’re eating and not enough on why they’re eating. Often, overeating is triggered by emotional issues such as stress, sadness and boredom. When we don’t target the roots of these issues, it becomes very difficult to stick to a diet change because the urge still remains. Mandy believes it is easier to lose weight when you train yourself to look at food differently. Here’s a selection of her tips:
1. Pay attention to your eating patterns
Most of us don’t really think about how often or when we overeat. It’s all too easy to start a big packet of crisps with the intention of eating a few and putting them away, only to find you’ve reached the end. Picking while you cook is another problem area – a lick of a chocolaty spoon, or a handful of bacon bits here and there can all add up. Sometimes people eat when they are bored, or after a stressful day, leading them to rely on food for comfort. If you eat even though you’re not hungry then you might need to try to break out of this habit by replacing it with different habits. For example – after a stressful day why not treat yourself to a bath, or your favourite film? Learning to substitute unhealthy comfort food for healthier versions can also help. For instance, choosing a tropical fruit salad instead of a chocolate bar, or a handful of mixed nuts instead of a packet of crisps.
2. Face your weight demons
If you are overweight or obese and hoping to lose weight then chances are you sometimes feel down or self-conscious about your body. This can lead to serious self-criticism which opens up a new dynamic in your food relationship. Self-criticism can lead to a dangerous cycle of purging out of guilt, eating out of hunger, and then purging out of guilt again. Not only is this bad for the body but it’s also really bad for the mind. It’s important to enjoy who you are and what your body is capable of. Remind yourself of what you’re worth and think about all the things in life you are lucky to have. Chances are if they were to go, you would miss them.
3. Distract yourself
Don’t punish yourself because you love eating, channel that love into different things. Mandy says: “I believe that often food is used in an effort to quiet some underlying discomfort, whether you are aware of it or not.” To get through these moments it can help to find a distraction. Often the urge to binge doesn’t last very long and if you can occupy yourself through it, you can avoid heading to the fridge. Next time you feel like eating when you’re not hungry, try this:
- have a glass of water
- call a friend
- go for a walk/run/cycle
- pick up a magazine, or have a browse on the web.
Hypnotherapy is an effective way of changing how you think about food and the process of eating. Through suggestion techniques that reach the unconscious mind, it is possible to tackle the root of overeating habits instead of just tackling the habit itself. The most effective way to lose weight and keep it off is to enjoy your lifestyle. If you spend a lot of time thinking about all the food you can’t have, chances are you will give in at some point. Hypnotherapy for weight loss can stop you wanting those bad foods, making it a lot easier to give them up.
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