It’s Monday. You start off well, have a good breakfast, healthy lunch, really good snacks, lots of water, a wholesome dinner…. and then you eat everything you see between 6-9pm. Even though you’re not hungry. Nothing is safe. Then you wish you hadn’t done it, and you feel like you’ve immediately put on a stone, and you can feel it around your waist and thighs, you even weigh yourself to check.
Or, you’ve been doing really well all day, and then something happens to make you angry/upset/cry, so you eat six Kitkats in a row straight from the fridge. It doesn’t make you feel better but they taste good. And then you think ‘Well I’ve ruined it for today now so I might as well have some crisps/cake/chocolate and start again tomorrow’.
It’s making you unhappy as you want to stop worrying about food all day, and you want to lose weight NOW, but you know that’s never going to happen. You know you would never be able to stick to a ‘cashew nuts and ham diet’, or a ‘six eggs a day non-diet diet’ for a quick fix to lose ten pounds in a week. And you can’t afford to employ someone to walk around with you all day to smack bad food out of your hands. Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
Here is the reality…
- Your body needs food and calories to function
- Food should be a source of joy, not misery or guilt
- Crash diets don’t work long term. Yes you will lose weight, but it’s not sustainable, as a lot of the initial weight loss will be fluid loss
- If you lose weight too quickly you will lose lean mass (muscle), which you don’t want
- A very small percentage of the world’s population looks ‘Baywatch standard’ in swimwear!
What can you do?
- Eat wholefoods. Make things from scratch, it’s cheaper and easier than it sounds. You can control what you’re putting into your meals, and you will automatically be consuming less fat and sugar.
- Remove temptation from your house. Don’t buy cakes, biscuits, sweets, processed foods, if you can’t stop eating them. Or if do you have them in the house, put them somewhere that is a faff to get to
- Meal plan and food prep. It sounds boring and like something only highly organised fitness people or show-off Pinterest mummies do. But knowing what you’re going to have to eat each day (and more importantly what you can snack on when you’re hungry between meals, or in the evening when you’re not hungry but want something to eat anyway, will really help to stop the binge eating. If you don’t have time to tub thing up or bulk chop fruit and veg on a Sunday (who does?!), at least make sure that you have the right food in the house. Who says you can’t bung a whole carrot and half a cucumber in your bag to take to work? It doesn’t have to be neatly chopped and arranged in a mason jar for it to be good for you. And meal planning doesn’t need to be complicated, and it can even be the same each week if you find things that work for you and your family’s routine… eg pasta on Monday, chicken on Tuesday, chilli on Wednesday, jacket potatoes on Thursday, pizza on Friday
- Make a general shopping list. Have a notebook in your bag or do it in the notes section on your phone, and when you have a little minute (while waiting at school pick up, waiting for the kettle to boil, or even while you’re on the loo!!), just think about the things that you need to have in your fridge, freezer and cupboards in order to eat well, and write them down. Then each time you go food shopping, just run through the list and see what you need to top up on. If you do your food shopping online, this will be easy and you could do your food shop in ten minutes, as your order history will be there for you to choose from
- Have a list of snack ideas that you know are healthy and low fat/sugar, and make sure that you always have something to hand. When someone has made you so angry you could explode, it might not be as appealing as a big bowl of Coco Pops, but if you don’t have any Coco Pops, or if they are hidden right at the back of the cupboard, but a pitta with marmite or a small cup of porridge with banana might hit the spot
- Alternate your tea and coffee (or whatever you usually drink) intake with water. Hot or cold, with lemon, mint leaves, or herbal tea bag. It doesn’t matter how you drink it. Find a way that you like, and do that. Two litres a day is needed, so just get used to drinking it. Yes you will wee a lot but your body will get used to drinking more so it will calm down!
- Move your body! If you don’t like ‘exercise’, find something that you do like. Dancing, walking, housework, dog walking, gardening. Anything that gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat a bit, three to four times a week, will make a big difference to the way you feel. And get out in the fresh air for about half an hour at least once a day.
- Do what you love. It’s not easy, and we have all done jobs that we’ve not liked, but if you’re unhappy at work, try to find a solution to make it better. Speak to your boss, talk to HR, change jobs, retrain to do something else if you can. Or if none of that is possible, try to make work bearable and make sure that you do something you love and that you’re good at in your spare time
- Don’t cut out any food groups or ban things completely. If you tell yourself you’re not going to eat any cake, all you will want to eat is cake. The 80/20 rule is a good guide. Eat good healthy stuff 80% of the time, and allow 20% wriggle room for cake. Or whatever makes you drool!
- Be grateful. Life is not a series of Instagram quotes, but it is precious, so do your best to look after yourself and the people you love, and be grateful for the things that you have. Not everybody is fortunate enough to grow old, which is something that we learn the hard way as we go through life. And also appreciate the small things, as these are what can make your day
Try and do this for a week, and repeat, repeat, repeat. And contact me if you need help.