What keeps you on track? What keeps you motivated?
Do you know that in the UK, cigarette packets have lots of horrible pictures of lungs and diseases on them. They hope that by seeing these pictures, smokers will quit smoking.
But this doesn’t happen. In fact, some say that the images are stressful and because smokers tend to smoke when stressed, they end up smoking more.
So, fear is not a good motivation.
However, you might be using fear motivation with your eating.
“I don’t want to gain weight”
“I have to stay slim!”
“I don’t want to be fat”
“I really don’t like to be overweight!”
There is a lot of fear here.
Sometimes that fear is more to do with being healthy.
“I must eat well”
“That’s too unhealthy”
“I don’t want to be sick”
“I must stay healthy”
Sometimes you might think that if you didn’t think like this, you wouldn’t keep yourself controlled.
Do you think that if you didn’t worry about your eating you would eat ‘badly’? (In a way that makes you feel sick or unwell?)
It’s true, that a bit of reasonable concern can help us stay safe. With driving, we need to know the risks of not paying attention. But if we had too much fear, and too much worry – we would end up driving very badly because we would not be relaxed. Our fear would make us tight and anxious and we would not be safe drivers.
This is the balance we need. A bit of awareness about any risks, but with enough confidence that we can relax and make the whole experience much better.
With eating, it’s not true that too much worry or fear will keep you healthy or slim.
Too much worry around your eating will make you:
· Not enjoy food
· Get too scared
· Feel too tight
· End up losing control and eating a lot
· You’ll feel worse due to the stress response of your body
Thinking about scary things (like weight or illness) too often can make you feel stressed. Thoughts lead to feelings. When your body is tight, you can feel unwell. Aching muscles lead to headaches, and constant worry leads to cortisol which is not a great hormone to have in your body all of the time. It actually can increase weigh gain, so relaxing is really a better option all around!
The reason you might be worrying so much is that you simply don’t trust yourself.
You think that you are not good enough and have weak willpower. You fear that if you don’t keep yourself in check with anxious thoughts you’ll end up eating like a pig.
I can tell you now, this does not help and will not get you feeling good.
Feeling good about food doesn’t mean you’ll over eat. Enjoying food does not mean you will gain weight. Relaxing about food rules will not make you sick.
How can I say this?
Because I work with women who care a lot about their weight or appearances. These women will always have the skill of caring, it just needs to be put to use in a better way. When they realize they can relax, they put a bit of that care into food, and that’s the perfect amount. Just a bit! Not too much, the balanced amount.
I care about myself. I want to feel good. I deserve to feel healthy.
Because I think and feel this way, I don’t want to hurt myself through eating in a way that feels bad to me.
But of course, sometimes I choose to eat lots of different foods. I might eat fries or crisps, or chocolate. But then I always find balance between eating green smoothies, and lots of vegetables and good hearty meals.
Trust is really important
The reason I can eat this way, and the reason the women I coach can relax about eating and still eat healthy is that we learn to trust ourselves.
Too many food rules stops you trusting yourself.
If you want balance you need to listen to yourself.
What makes you feel good, and what doesn’t?
This is a great exercise for anyone who wants to just relax around food.
Every time you eat, ask yourself – “How do I feel?”
Wait a few hours, and ask again.
The only thing that is important here, is how you feel.
You are allowed to feel full, or tired, or energised or light.
You can decide if you are okay with being quite full, or if you want to see what it feels like to eat a bit.
The only person this food is impacting – is you. It doesn’t matter what any one else thinks.
You are allowed to feel a lot of different things with food, but if you don’t feel them – you won’t trust yourself and you’ll worry too much.
To get balanced means you listen to yourself, and this is how you’ll always find the balance between all the types of eating you can do.
Balance means that you will change how you eat all the time, because that’s life!
Learn to trust that you can handle it.
Worry: a bit of care is good. Too much is not good.
Eat like you would drive, relaxed enough to enjoy it and aware enough to know what you’re doing.