How you think about food determines what and how much you eat. The thoughts, feelings, and emotions that you associate with your food can help you lose weight or keep you from losing weight.
In order to reach a healthy weight and maintain it for a lifetime, you need to change the habits that got you fat in the first place. The way to do this is to change the way you think about food.
Unfortunately, these patterns are established in childhood and may be so deeply ingrained that we don’t recognize them. To help you identify the way you think about food and the bad habits that keep you fat, start by keeping a food journal. Write down everything you need, along with all the emotions that you are feeling before and during the meal or snack. If you keep an extensive diary for about a month, you will be able to see the patterns they keep.
Are you an emotional eater?
Do you turn to fitness in times of stress or to overcome feelings of inadequacy? These are deeply ingrained responses to food that make it very hard to stay on a diet. You were taught to associate food with comfort and relaxation from the time you were born. As an adult, you continue the pattern of eating or drinking when you are nervous, stressed, or upset.
Many people overeat for emotional reasons that may be very hard to identify. Sometimes, remaining overweight protects them in some way or isolates them from problems that they would otherwise have to face. In these cases, it is important to get help overcoming these compulsive behaviors.
Do you associate food with particular activities?
Humans are conditioned to think of food while participating in some activities. We are conditioned to eat popcorn and drink soda at the movies. This is one good example of how activities affect your eating habits, but there are many others.
Think about the times and places that you normally find yourself eating. Do you eat in front of the TV, computer, or while driving? When you allow your activities to prompt you to eat, you tend to eat far more than you should. This sort of mindless eating can quickly empty a bag of potato chips or other high-calorie snack food without you even realizing how it is happening.
Breaking this cycle of compulsive eating will help you gain control over your diet. If you feel you must eat at these times, have a healthy snack available.
Break the Cycle by Transferring the Emotions to New Healthy foods.
If you realize that you are an emotional eater or that you eat mindlessly in some situations, use this knowledge to create new, healthy habits. Substitute healthy fruits and vegetables for high-calorie snacks, and try to develop healthy alternatives to the foods that cause you problems. Once you have recognized when and why you eat, you are on the path to recovering control over your eating and finding a new, healthy body.