What we put in our mouths is only part of the story when it comes to good nutrition. Did you know that how you live your life and the thoughts you think can have a profound impact on how you metabolize and digest food? Whether you want to lose weight or seek better health you must consider not just what you eat but the emotional underpinnings behind decisions you make when it comes to food and your body. To get the full benefit of the nutrients in your food consider the following tips to make your fuel more effective.
Let Go of Stress
Most people think that to lose weight they must drive themselves hard, restrict food and adhere to impossible diets. Diets are not sustainable for most of us and we condemn ourselves for failing when we throw in the towel. This causes an inordinate amount of stress on our bodies and minds.
The field of Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind Body Nutrition studies the fascinating connection between the brain, body and our behavior. What we focus on grows. Constantly obsessing about weight directs our energy toward focusing on what is wrong with us. This type of thinking can be very stressful.
The paradox is that stress can play a role in causing you to hang onto weight. Stress signals to our nervous system that we are in fight or flight mode and we need to protect ourselves. This coupled with negative thinking can cause us to hold onto weight by slowing metabolism and diminishing digestive effectiveness.
Letting go of stress requires learning how to relax. Practice trust. Trust in your life that everything will get done and be ok. Trust that you are safe. When it comes to food practice staying present. Stay connected with yourself and your body as you eat. Find a consistent eating rhythm by eating at regular times of the day. Enjoy your meals as you eat! Relax into your relationship with food!
Be the Person You Want to Be – Now
Your relationship with yourself, how you feel about yourself and your inner monologue can all have a profound impact on how you metabolize food. For example, there are many people who believe that they must lose weight to get what they want in life. They believe they can only be happy at a particular size. This type of thinking keeps many people stuck. It causes undue stress and therefore impacts what is happening with your body!
Instead of waiting to be the person you want to be until you fit some ideal, thinner version of yourself, be the person you want to be now! Anything you want you can have now…it does not require losing weight to get there! Don’t wait to buy certain clothes until you are thinner – go out and buy them now. Do you think that weight loss equals confidence and success? Recognize that you can have both now – your thoughts about yourself have nothing to do with weight! You get to decide what you think about yourself and your life regardless of your size.
Choose Sustainable Eating Habits
Are you struggling to maintain your eating habits at this time? Are you rigid about what you eat? Do you limit calories, fat and carbs? Not only is this type of eating stressful it’s also rarely sustainable. It may work for a while and you might lose a few pounds but when you fall off the bandwagon you might find yourself gaining all the weight back and then some. This is what we want to avoid.
Instead, practice sane eating! Cut the word NEVER out of your vocabulary. Attempting to banish certain foods entirely rarely works. Instead, consider making small changes. Eat a little less dessert and find a way to satiate that need for sweetness in other ways, like spending time with friends or your kids. Slowly up your intake of veggies and fruits and perhaps you will find yourself facing fewer cravings for junk type foods. This may be a slower approach, but it stands a greater chance of helping you to successfully choose foods that bring you better health.
Spend Time with Body Positive People
Spending time with people who are over-focused on dieting and being skinny can keep us in a negative space. When you are attempting to listen to your body’s needs and feeding it based on how you feel it’s important to surround yourself with people who are body positive. People who are body positive focus on what’s important in life rather than their jean size. They feel good about themselves and their lives and do not judge anyone for their size.
When we surround ourselves with others who love us unconditionally, we realize we don’t need to be a certain size or shape to be loved. This realization can have a profound impact on stress levels and therefore positively impact your relationship with food and your body! Think of the burden that can be lifted when you spend time with people who are body positive. You can relax into knowing that you are loved for who you are in the body you have right now.
The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
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