Weight loss should always begin in the mind. This is why people who have been overweight for years and then go through a life changing event like divorce or illness suddenly lose weight without trying. Their mind changed first, they were too busy to think about food or eating or weight and they began living instead. We hate our bodies when they are overweight but it’s really our mind that’s keeping hold of the weight, driving us to overeat. Understand what you mind wants and then you can let go of the body you don’t.
1. Keep asking, why am I eating this?
You may have started because you were hungry but are you still? If you are about to eat something and you’re nor hungry, what are you wanting that food to give you? Is it pleasure where there is none, distraction from your thoughts, filling the emptiness in your soul or punishment for your body?
2. Learn to spot emotional hunger
Body hunger is not an empty feeling; it is lighter than a mental hunger. You feel it in your stomach rather than your whole body. There is no urgency with body hunger; it should feel natural and normal. Mind hunger though is felt in the whole body, like a void, like something is missing. The main feeling here will be urgency and panic, a quick need to fill the space. It doesn’t give you the time that body hunger does because it is screaming out to feel better. Body hunger is something we have to react to; mental hunger is something we need to work to fill before it happens. When we get the two confused and we end up with excess weight.
3. Know how every type of food makes your body feel
Your body’s requirements from food are unique to you; no one else in the world will have the same reactions to food as you do. This is because your body has been through a unique journey to get here and that means your digestion, cell structure, metabolism, energy needs, vitamin requirements and hundreds of other things are unique to you. This also means there is no such thing as the perfect diet. There was the way of eating that suited you when you were three years old, the way you ate when you were going through puberty, when you were experiencing high stress, when you were pregnant, when you were sick or injured etc…etc. Your body requirements change constantly, even with the time of year. All this means your way of eating has to be reactive, and to do that you have to listen to how your body responds to what you put in it.
4. Know your triggers for emotional eating
When you eat is one of the biggest clues in figuring out what your main reasons for eating are. We will always begin or plan to eat shortly before the emotion that we fear starts to happen. Although it may not be something we notice consciously, the mind realises that something that is going to happen or we are going to start thinking about will cause us pain or discomfort, and so it urges us to act before it begins. Stopping for food on the way home from work tells you there is something that your mind fears will happen at home, that it wants to protect you from. Overeating before bed can be an indicator that you are anxious about the next day. Sadness or fear begins to come up which need food to go away. Taking lots of food with you to work so you can graze all day reveals a job that is causing either boredom or stress. You may not realise any of this at the time it happens, you will just feel the urge to find food, but it is your mind showing you what is truly making you unhappy.
5. Accept that thin doesn’t equal happy
Thin just equals thin with only one guarantee, smaller clothes. Being happy today is easier than being thin today. Attach happiness to weight loss and neither will come.
6. Work out why your mind needs your weight
The mind is a lot stronger than the body. It needs to feel safe, and to do that it will force us into doing things the body doesn’t want. No matter how much we hate the weight we have, while our mind views it as having a positive effect on our lives, it will cause us to take action that keeps it there. Weight as protection, unused energy, baggage from our past or as separation from the world. Your body is the physical manifestation of your state of mind. It makes visible all your thoughts and emotions, so what is yours telling you?
7. Identify the people who keep you eating
Weight can cause unseen problems in relationships. Pressure to lose/not to lose it, jealousy, and anxiety about appearance can all happen because of how other people think your weight affects them. Unfortunately, there may be people in your life that emotionally feed off your weight and use it to feel better about themselves. Know them, know what they get from you and then make a choice.
8. Have a mirror mantra
A mirror mantra is the first thing you are going to think as you look in the mirror to stop you going down any negative rabbit holes. It can help to have it written on a post it on the mirror too. These are redirecting mantras, they remove the emotion and move us on mentally. Some of the most common I recommend are:
• I don’t need to worry about this now; I’m doing the work I need to
• This is irrelevant to what I’m going to achieve today
• It’s all in hand, and today is about enjoying myself
• Today I listen to my body
Extract from “Still Overweight? The 6-week course that changes your weight and relationship to food forever”