The following statement is true and when you believe the truth your job of retraining yourself to eat to maintain a healthy weight becomes a natural and sustainable process.
“You were born with perfect eating habits. Instinctively you could balance your incoming calories with the calories your body required for its energy needs.”
And almost right from the start you were conditioned to ignore your body’s eating signals. If you were a breastfed baby your mother (or more likely, her mother-in-law) worried that you weren’t getting enough to eat.
You were offered supplements to your mother’s adequate supply of breastmilk in the form of formula and baby cereal.
As you grew, perhaps, you were encouraged to eat up, clean your plate, and praised for being a good eater. Early in life you were taught to eat in units. A unit being a whole sandwich, a bowl of soup, or all the food placed on your plate. You ignored the signal that told you “you have enough to eat,” and learned that you were not to stop eating until the unit was gone.
More distance between you and your instinctive, perfect eating habits was reinforced as you learned that food is entertainment and consolation.
Through the years the conditioning has brought you to a place where you weigh too much, feel unwell, and worst of all, are trapped by your habits.
You can retrain yourself to eat to lose weight, feel energized, and reach and maintain a healthy body weight. It won’t happen overnight. You can’t do it with a crash diet and you can’t do it by replacing your food with special prepackaged diet meals and shakes. You need to re-establish the good eating habits with which you were born.
In my blog yesterday I asked you to answer these 12 questions:
- How often do you eat when you’re not hungry?
- What foods make up the mainstay of your diet?
- How do you typically prepare foods?
- How often do you eat between meals?
- What kinds of foods do you eat between meals?
- What do you drink, both non alcoholic and alcoholic?
- How often do you drink beverages other than water or milk?
- Do you eat many low-fat or fat-free foods?
- Do you use artificial sweeteners?
- How often do you eat out (that includes eating in cars)?
- How do you order when eating out – is every restaurant meal treated like a special occasion with appetizers, drinks, and dessert or do they resemble about what you would eat if you were eating at home in both food choices and portions?
- How much weight do you need to lose?
The answers give you a starting place for retraining and they also help you to see that not all of your eating habits contribute to weighing too much. Few people need to change everything.
Question 1 and 2 are so important that they are the only questions that will be covered in part 2 of my Retraining blog.
Starting with question #1 that asks how often do you eat when you’re not hungry?
Did you answer this question by saying, “I’m always hungry!”
A lot of people do because they have lost touch with their feeling of hunger and satiety. If you are one of those people here are some blogs to help you recognize homeostatic hunger (your body is in physical need of fuel) and hedonic hunger (your mind is telling your body it wants food for any number of reasons unrelated to a physical need for food.)
There are many things that affect your reasons for eating that aren’t connected to a physical need for food. You will need to discover the connection between lack of hunger and need to eat so that you can make the two work in harmony.
It’s perfectly okay to eat when you’re not hungry sometimes.
It’s a matter of what you’re eat, how much you’re eating, what else you’re eating during the same day and finally, how frequently does it happen. There will be times when it’s fine to have a few little bites and times when there is something else you could do that would better serve your overall weight and health goals.
Question 2 asked what makes up the mainstay of your diet.
How nutritionally balanced is it?
The quality of your diet (not every individual food choice, but how all your choices add up over the course of several days) really does matter.
Your body needs a variety of macro and micro nutrients to stay healthy and repair and rebuild tissue. If you eat a diet that is consistently lacking in vital nutrients you can’t feel your best. Popping multivitamin pills is not a substitute or cure for poor nutrition. Eating too much or being overfed is not the same as being well-nourished.
There seems to be a connection between good nutrition and weight management.
A balanced diet that provides good nutrition can be satisfying. Satisfaction is key in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. If you’re not satisfied, there is no driving force to keep doing what you’re doing. That means that if you’re not satisfied, the driving force will be to find satisfaction!
You can be satisfied and well-nourished and it doesn’t mean you have to eat anything you don’t like or give up anything you love!
US Dietary Guidelines (More flexible and delicious than you might think!)
Retraining Yourself to Eat for Weight Loss! Look for Part 3 tomorrow!