Picture it, summer vacation. You're wearing a bathing suit that you actually love and feel great in, you're snacking on delicious food you actually enjoy. You're planning dinner with your family and not even thinking about all the calories your dinner will have, or how your body will look in your bathing suit tomorrow. There's not an ounce of guilt of anxiety around food.
Sounds amazing right?
This was a beautiful moment I had 2.5 years ago when I was in Florida with my family.
As I was sitting on the beach, it hit me suddenly that it was the first time in my life I hadn't spent the majority of my time there anxious about food.
I realized that last night didn't feel an ounce of guilt for eating my favorite coconut cream pie from a restaurant I've been going to for years.
I realized I didn't spend the next few hours after shaming myself for "falling off the wagon" and already planning what I eat tomorrow to make up for it.
It was the first time I didn't stare at my body in the mirror every single morning picking it apart and feeling guilt for the snacks I had yesterday.
How did I do it?
I replaced guilt with mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a buzz word that gets thrown around a lot in the wellness space - but when it comes to your nutrition - it is absolutely the secret ingredient to learning to staying consistency.
And as I always say - CONSISTENCY IS KING when it comes to losing weight without dieting!
So, I want YOU to head into this summer armed with the tools to get you there too, just like many of my clients and women who've joined my programs can now do.
These are tools taken straight from my 8 week program - Master Your Nutrition, Master Your Body where I teach women how to lose weight, heal your relationship with food and keep the weight off off for good.
Here's three tips for replacing guilt with mindfulness:
1. Set an alarm.
No, really! Or put some post it notes up, or whatever you like to do to set reminders. Every three hours I want you to ask yourself: How hungry am I?
On a scale from 1-10 (10 being the hungriest).
I want you to do this because we very often don't listen to our hunger cues. We wait till we're at a level 10 and grabbing whatever we can find or veering off into the drive through line. Your blood sugar tanks or the hangry monster shows it's horns and you make decisions that don't ultimately make you feel better in the long term, it just fills you up briefly.
If you start thinking more about your hunger you can plan ahead. If you're at, say a 7, you know you're going to need to eat soon and can plan for a satisfying and healthy meal.
You'll ultimately find that you will eat food you actually enjoy more this way too, you won't pick up food that makes you feel tired and less energetic.
2. Exposure Therapy
This sounds fancy but it's actually pretty simple. This is a big step towards healing your relationship with food. We have to learn to trust ourselves around food- even the foods we think we have no self control around.
So, I normally have my clients go buy their favorite treat, maybe a big bag of Reeses cups and put them in a bowl in the middle of their counter. A strategic exposure to food.
I want you to taste the food. One portion of the food. Then I want you to come back 30 minutes later and evaluate. Ask yourself if you really want more. Ask yourself questions about how you feel. Not about guilt or anxiety but how the food is making you feel physically. Is the sugar making you jittery? Did it satisfy you? Just be really purposeful with these questions.
The idea is that when you stop thinking of these foods as off limits, they lose some of their appeal. Yes, they still taste good but they aren't the forbidden fruit (or Reese's cups) and they become less satisfying when you do decide to indulge.
There is a lot of psychology around what happens when you restrict food from your diet completely. Your brain kicks in and actually makes you want it more. When you take this strict boundary off of these foods, you're less likely to want to binge it when you do have access to it.
This may take time. We are so programmed to binge the 'bad food' that we have to retrain our brains to trust ourselves around the food.
3. Eat to 80% full
You've probably heard this one before. You try to eat until you're around 80% full. If you think of 100% being stuffed and 70% leaving you still hungry. You want to start mindfully eating until you're right at 80%. And this will become easy, you'll have to think about it less and less.
You're going to keep data collecting like before, start thinking about how satisfied you feel. How you can improve that satisfaction number. Maybe add more protein or good fats. Start to experiment with what makes you feel fuller for longer and leaves you feeling satisfied.
The more you start checking in on this feeling, the more it becomes less likely that you'll overeat, and the more it will start to feel like second nature. You won't need to think about it anymore. You'll start to reach a natural stopping point in your meals where you feel satisfied.
Don't forget mamma. This all takes time. Unlearning a lifetime of misinformation and healing your relationship with food takes time. Give yourself some grace.
If you want to hear me dive deeper into each of these steps, be sure to tune into The Wellness Revolution podcast. I break each step down further in this episode and you can hear more about weight loss and wellness for women over 40 with me and my incredible guests twice a week.
LET'S BE FRIENDS!
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