Diet & Nutrition

fruit plate

fruit plate
It’s the end of January.  Did you make a resolution to lose weight?  Statistics tell us that about 80% of resolutions fail by February.

How’s it going?

It’s been reported that as much as two-thirds of dieters regain the weight they lost - plus some - and that dieters are more likely to suffer from depression and poor self-esteem.

There are many reasons diets fail. 

One of the main reasons is that diets don’t address our deep relationship with food and the psychology associated with food and eating.

Recently, a trend developed in the dieting world called “Intuitive Eating”.  I love the name!  But what the heck is it?

Intuitive Eating (IE) focuses on shunning diets and instead fostering a positive long-term relationship with food.  According to the Intuitive Eating website, the idea is to generally reject dieting, honor yourself and your hunger and learn what your body is asking for based on how you feel.

My book, From Overwhelmed to Inspired, essentially covers these concepts in detail.  In it, I explain that based on how we were raised and the events in our lives, we enter into a relationship with food.  All of us who have been in various relationships know, there are the good, the bad and the horrific. 

As with any toxic relationship, we need to have the courage to “break up” with the patterns of behavior with food that are hurting us.  And, as with any harmful relationship, in order to make significant change, we need to possess self-esteem, self-respect and self-efficacy – along with healthy doses of compassion for ourselves and mindfulness of our feelings, our situations and our behavior.

Any true change must stem from this foundation.

Here are some questions to consider as you make food choices, while you are eating and after you eat:

  • Am I physically hungry?  I know that sounds like a silly question, but we often find ourselves eating because it’s time to eat, or because we have been hurt and use food to fill an emotional void, heal emotional pain, or even because food is simply there – Super Bowl parties and buffets are prime examples.
    We’ve got to learn to recognize what physical hunger feels like. 
  • What situations are triggering my eating (or overeating)?  This can be anything from parties and events to fear of not knowing when you will have a chance to eat again, to stress or emotional distress.
    As we become aware of these triggers we can be more present in the situation, paying attention to what, and how much we’re consuming.
  • Am I making food choices that are healthful and “good for me”?  In our fast food society, we have come to think of eating as something quick, that we can stuff down and get on with our day.
    We’ve forgotten the idea that what we put in our bodies is intended to fuel our bodies and minds. 
  • Am I physically full? We’ve all experienced enjoying a beautiful, healthful meal, and yet being miserable because we over consumed. Thanksgiving – right?
    We have to SLOW DOWN our eating to give our brains time to recognize that we are full. AND we need to have the determination to stop eating when we get that signal.

These are only a few suggestions. I hope you’ll begin to give these a try.  This is where mindfulness comes in.  We have to cultivate an awareness of these ideas and situations so that we can make conscious decisions when we’re planning meals, enjoying family get-togethers, or reaching for comfort food when we are hurting emotionally.

Intuitive eating is eating mindfully, with attentiveness and compassion for our physical bodies as well as our mental and emotional bodies.  The idea is to nurture yourself with food and to understand what thoughts and behaviors aren’t supportive of these things.

So, if you’ve made a resolution that has to do with weight loss, perhaps these suggestions can help provide a foundation for long-term success.  Even if weight loss is not your goal, practicing these ideas will help restore your physical and mental well-being and with that, I promise you, you will feel better!

Until next time,

Be well my friends!

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