I’m gaining weight! What do I do? I really don’t want to gain any more.
It’s okay, it’s okay! Believe it or not, weight gain is normal and everyone who quits dieting will experience this to some extent.
I did! When I stopped dieting, I also stopped weighing myself or measuring myself and I strongly suggest you stop weighing too. However, I was aware I was gaining weight just by looking at my belly and wearing my usual clothes.
So what did I do?
I simply purchased bigger clothes!
I know this sounds a bit worrying. But let’s keep it in perspective.
When you heal your relationship with food you really do find balance eventually. This balance means settling at a comfortable weight for your body, and settling at hunger and fullness cues that are natural to your individual body.
To get to this point, where you tend to stay most of the time (which is luxury let me tell you), you will pass this place before returning to it.
It’s a bit like when you’re driving to a new location and you might see the destination it as you drive past, and then turn around to park in front of it.
Gaining, and eating more than what your body is comfortable with, kind of HAS to be the way forwards until food, and large portions just become ‘meh’. Meaning, over time (it was around a year for me), certain foods are no longer off limits, and you stop bingeing on them. The appeal of ‘banned’ food is over, and you eat what you feel you and your body want. It’s a working relationship – sometimes it’s chocolate, sometimes it’s green smoothies. This way of eating is far more balanced and it means your body WILL return to balance.
I’m eating a lot of foods that were off limits in the past – will I be able to stop?
Of course! But it depends on your mindset.
If you are harbouring secret thoughts that these foods are naughty, sinful and should be stopped then you will certainly find it difficult to find balance eating them.
Your mindset runs the show most of the time when it comes to finding balance with foods, even foods with sugar or flour that tend to drive us to eat a bit more at times.
Your body does have natural stopping cues, because you do stop eating – don’t you? There are times when you don’t eat.
Willpower will not help you here! The only way to balance out foods is to learn to trust yourself.
You must learn to like yourself enough to want to feel good!
You must learn to love who you are to treat yourself well.
You cannot cheat your way into food balance. It is a pure reflection of how you feel about yourself.
My family thinks I’ve lost the plot. They don’t understand what I’m doing.
From the outside perspective, Eat Happy Method /mindful eating/ intuitive eating looks quite strange. People see someone who used to ‘care’ or ‘look after themselves’ now eat sugar, sweets, takeaway food, flour etc. There’s definitely a sense of judgement, worry and odd looks coming from their direction.
You can explain, or not. You can direct them to any materials that have helped you, or not.
Sometimes I find that when we put up a defense, people fight harder to bring it down. Just with eat happy, you want to go gently, mindfully and trusting yourself.
Other people and their opinions is probably what started to muck up your relationship with food in the first place.
Read about assertiveness and confidence training. Mindfulness can help here too.
Respond to their opinions with smiles, shrugs, nods, or non-committal looks and not only will you feel more centered, but they will leave feeling quite bemused.
You do not owe anyone an explanation, and trusting yourself here is not just about how you’re eating, but what you think is best. Trust yourself, and your path will keep being revealed to you.
Look after yourself on this journey and go for walks, time in nature, disconnect from your phone and be with yourself.
I’m worried about my health. I don’t want to get diabetes or other diseases linked with some foods or weight.
We can’t ever truly control our health. Yes there are some things that may help. But often time, we just don’t know. We can’t guarantee lifelong health! Frustrating or what, fellow control freaks?
Being too focused on health, or ‘healthy’ foods can cause imbalance. It’s a catch-22 and I feel this one too. In a world saturated with sugar, it’s tough that sometimes we eat something we may not have, just because we saw it!
But ho hum, that’s the world we live in now. In many ways, we are healthier. We have herd immunity (when people vaccinate their kids that is), we have hygiene, clean water, and safe spaces to sleep with fresh air to breathe – so in many ways, we have access to lots of things that support our health.
Food doesn’t automatically make us sick (well unless it’s gone off), and it doesn’t automatically ‘make’ us healthier. Health is more complex than just food.
But here’s the takeaway here: To make sure you’re not triggering your health focused thoughts too much, keep eating anything and everything you want – and just see how you feel. (Classic intuitive eating protocol). However, if you like vegetables, then great – play with veggies! BUT – don’t think of health. Think of balancing flavours, trying new recipes, or learning a new style of cuisine.
I found the book “Why the Chinese Don’t Count Calories” by Lorraine Cissold very interesting, and shows how traditional Chinese cuisine was focused on different food elements to support the elemental balance of the body. This is a very esoteric and earthy way of looking at food, and it’s so kind and peaceful. It’s about treating the body well by giving it lots of different natural flavours.
This might be a more balanced approach that just wondering ‘is this healthy?’ and might make you feel differently about your body – by seeing it connected to nature, rather than just a machine that requires certain types of fuel.
I still feel like I’m overeating. I feel a bit out of control. I thought the Eat Happy Method would help me find peace with food.
However, if you have been practicing all of the steps and the skills (whether the Eat Happy Method or an intuitive eating protocol) and it still doesn’t feel like you are finding balance, then you need to pay attention to that.
If you feel there is something not quite right, then honour it.
I am very open that I went to therapy for a year or so before starting on my Eat Happy path. I think this helped enormously. If you are struggling in any way, it might be showing up through your eating. It’s not your eating that needs to change – it’s what you are dealing with. It needs to be expressed.
Control – what is it? Does it come from what we think, or what others expect of us?
Out of control suggests you believe in a right way of eating.
Perhaps, when you let go and trust yourself, you’re never truly out of control, but eating in a perfect way that communicates to you some deeper truths that need to be listened to.
Time, trust, kindness – these are the magical ingredients that you need by the bucketful.
If you feel unbalanced and believe you are being kind – then perhaps it’s time to investigate! Bring in a GP or a nutritionist! This is totally fine and a great part of learning about food and you.
Maybe you have an intolerance that some say show up via cravings for the exact food you’re intolerant to. Kindness isn’t always permissive.
I hope this has helped shed some light on some of your worries. If you feel there was something I missed, please get in touch!