Maintaining healthy weight loss by making food your friend ☺

By Leanne Hall

If you are like most people, you find it impossible to keep up to date with the latest diet “fad”. From the Atkins Diet, the Zone Diet, and more recently the Paleo diet, intermittent fasting diets, and the latest “body transformation” web based programs. All have one thing in common: they promise weight loss…..FAST!

It’s not rocket science, restricting your food intake will make you lose weight. However, keeping it off is where the overwhelming majority of these programs receive an epic…..you guessed it….. FAIL!

So why is this the case, and what can you do instead?

Well, it all starts by taking a long hard look at your relationship with food. Right from when we were kids, we began categorising food as “bad” or “good” and associating “good” feelings with eating. Think of an unsettled baby who is comforted by being fed, or a child who is “rewarded” for desirable behaviour with a “treat”. This is all well and good when we are a child, but when we take these beliefs and attitudes into adulthood, we need to deconstruct them a little and understand how they impact on us now. For example, do you reach for the chocolate and chips to make yourself feel “better”? Do you over indulge on pizza as a “reward” for going to the gym?

Add to all this a desire to lose weight, with a history of dieting behaviour and perhaps a bit of overeating or binge eating. What you then have is a dysfunctional relationship with food and eating. In addition, although we may identify similarities, each of us has a unique experience, and so your relationship with food will be very different to your friend’s or sibling’s, in the same way that your genetics and metabolism also differ. Get the picture so far?

images

Ok, so as you can see we are all unique and different in wonderful ways. Therefore, why do we insist on trying a one size fits all approach to weight loss? It’s like trying to squish a square peg into a round hole, and then calling the peg a failure and disappointment for not forcing itself to fit!

Instead, consider this radical thought: all food is neutral, and there is no such thing as “bad” and “good” food. Also, think about all the ways you can nurture and reward yourself, without involving food (eg, bath, massage, reading a good book, walking).

The next time you reach for a snack, take a brief moment and ask yourself; “do I really want to eat this?” Sometimes we mistake other sensations and feelings for hunger, and so having a glass of water and waiting a few moments can help us work out whether we really are hungry, and not simply thirsty, bored or tired.

What we are in fact doing here is learning to separate our feelings and emotional experiences from food and eating. This, my friends is the ultimate key in developing and enjoying a healthy relationship with food. In this world, you can have your cake and eat it too…..without the associated feelings of guilt!

Once you have improved your relationship with food, developing an individualised approach to weight loss is much easier, and your chances of long-term success become significantly higher. Healthy eating becomes a lifestyle choice, instead of a bunch of overly restrictive rules based on deprivation and guilt.

By replacing dysfunctional eating with good nutrition, your body will begin to find its balance and homeostasis. You will be amazed at what you can achieve once you start to learn how your mind and body work together.

And always remember; to be perfectly healthy you do not have to eat perfectly

 

About Leanne Hall - Leanne is a clinical psychologist, personal trainer & health coach. She believes that good physical health is the key to good mental health, and combines evidence based treatments with principles of holistic health – including good nutrition & an active and balanced lifestyle. Leanne is also married with 2 young children, loves to run, lift weights and cook wholesome raw food!