09 Jul How quickly can you be persuaded to ditch the healthy food and eat the cake or drink the wine instead?
Now, isn’t that a good question? I have asked myself this question many times, when for example it was another “Monday = start of diet day” and by the afternoon I had ditched all my good intentions! Sounds familiar?
I am at the moment in Paris and even though I know that I do best on a grain free, dairy free, nearly vegan diet with lots of greens and only a little bit of animal protein like organic eggs or wild caught fish, I have been eating yummy French cheese, baguette and of course I also tried the good French wine. I am all for enjoyment and having fun but when I wake up in the morning and my joints hurt from the wheat I have been consuming, I do wonder why I am easily swayed from my normally healthy regime.
Let me share my insights with you:
Because I am in Paris – it’s a Special Occasion – it’s the weekend – or any other special time excuse….
When I worked in the corporate world, it seems that every day there was a reason to celebrate. Cakes, chips, dips, and alcohol was part of office life, not to mention the liters of coffee that seems to flow every day. What did I do? Ate far too much of the stuff that I really didn’t want to eat. What helped though was to remember that it was not about the food but about the special occasion or the person we celebrated. I didn’t want to avoid the gathering, because I love getting together to celebrate someone.
- I brought my own food
- I didn’t go to the celebrations that didn’t mean anything to me
- I visualize how I feel after and often that was enough to not reach for the glass or snack
- When I did decide to eat or drink, I did so slowly and mindfully enjoy every mouth full.
I was really “emotional”
Have you ever eaten when you are sad, lonely or even happy but not really hungry? It is like a self-soothing ritual that we sometimes give into to avoid to feel the true emotions that can really painful and seem too much to take. The problem is, that this only works for as long as a second and then we feel even worse because now we also deal with the guilt of emotional eating. Emotional eaters often try to push their true feelings down, they might eat when nobody is watching and shame and guilt are a big part of the repetition of the vicious circle they are caught in.
If this is you, the first step is to admit that this is you! Then it’s time to get some help, it might be a coach or a counsellor or a friend. If you always “eat” your feelings you are not living your life to the fullest, you are depriving yourself of true happiness. What is that you really want? Start with this question and find the answers within yourself. You already know what you really need! Is it a connection? A relationship? To speak the truth about something? Whatever it is, you will not find it on your fork, so let’s tackle this today!
I am bored
I am working mostly from home these days and I can tell you, I am never bored but often things are a little tricky or I need to make a call but instead … I have a snack! What about you? Often people eat because they are bored! That might be going out for lavish dinners out or picking on food all day at home. If you this is you, try these things instead: ring a friend and catch up for a walk, bike ride or even a drive to explore a new place, write a blog, or volunteer in your community somewhere, read a good book or write a book, learn a new language or take up a new hobby!
Because the Food is just there or it’s free
Like the bread basket at a restaurant is just there and screams to be eaten. Maybe you like to keep a lot of “treats’ in your pantry and then and eat it just because it is there. Or how about the cheese plate at a party? It’s just too easy to mindlessly overeat just because the food is simply there. Here are some tricks that help me, I don’t buy food that is not really food or have it in my pantry. When I want to eat a cookie, I actually have to bake cookies. At a party when I catch myself overeating, I retreat to the place furthest away from the food and if the music is on, I start to dance and that is it for me for the night. Make sure you have healthy snack food for when you need it, like organic apples, or veggies with hummus for example.
I am Tired
Not having enough quality sleep for even two days pushes your appetite for junk food by 24%! That is dreadful and so hard to control because when we are tired we are craving sugary foods and carbs! And of course, these foods will pick us up and then throw our blood sugar level into the pits in no time! So, if you can have a nap, or go for a walk in nature, take your shoes off and walk on the earth, have some water or use some essential oils like orange and lemon and of course, have an early night and work on your sleep hygiene.
It’s breakfast time – lunchtime – dinner time – snack time
I have come to love intermittent fasting. I eat my first meal around 11.30 am and my dinner at 6 pm. I have learned to listen to my body, sometimes I have breakfast and sometimes I don’t. Of course, if you have small children, things are not that easy because regular meal times are a good thing for them and the family. But don’t just eat when the clock tells you to! Check in and ask your body what it really needs at that moment. Is it food or is it water or a cup of tea or a break?
I have to finish what is on my plate
I was raised by my grandparents and they knew hunger and food shortage during the war. We had to finish what was on our plates and I can tell you, that was not easy and it didn’t do me any good. Now that I am in control of my food, I use smaller plates at home and I have learned to leave food in restaurants for example where portions are often just far too big. I don’t like wasting food and I do have to learn not to cook as much as I used too when everybody was still living at home.
Mindfulness and Meditation have really helped me figure out the “why” behind my eating. So, wish me luck on my travels because it has been a challenge for me and I had to use all my health coaching tools on myself whilst traveling.
Check in with yourself and ask yourself “What do I really need right now” then take a breath and give yourself the love and respect you deserve.
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