Celebration, Love Yourself & Be Realistic About Food

When I talk about making changes that you can maintain for the rest of your life that does not mean you can NEVER have cake and ice cream, chips, or bread ever again. While these foods have little or no nutritional value for us, they do provide a social and emotional value and are an integral part of celebrations, so thinking we will never WANT them is unrealistic. And thinking we aren’t allowed to have them is demoralizing and can actually lead to binge eating.

The trick is to incorporate enough of our favorite foods to feel satisfied but not so much that we don’t make progress in our weight loss goals and decide to quit.

While weight loss is truly mostly about mindset, there are some things we can do in terms of eating to help our progress.

  • Eat plenty of complex carbohydrates in the form of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
  • Eat 5-6 mini-meals or snacks a day rather than 3 larger meals. This helps keep the blood sugar more stable and reduces cravings and mood swings.
  • Eat healthy fats every day in the form of nuts, olive oil, avocados. These healthy fats help you to feel satiated. And by eating some fat your body then actually releases body fat.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit. This time of year is great for fresh fruit, but you can also choose frozen fruits or 100% fruit spreads. I like to add them to plain yogurt for a creamy treat.
  • Allow for some small treats now and then. Choose something you really like but that doesn’t set you on a binge. For example, I love chocolate covered espresso beans. I can’t every very many of them so they work great for me. 3-5 beans is an awesome treat I savor. I don’t have them every day, but when I really want some chocolate or I’m just wanting something decadent they work great. I put them in a little dish and make an event of it.
  • Drink lots of water. Water is like magic. It keeps our insides running smoothly, our skin supple and when you drink lots of water you may eat less. Often when we think we are hungry, especially in the hot weather, it is really that we are dehydrated and our body is craving water.
  • Slow down when you eat. Savor the flavors and test out all the textures.
  • Clean house…or at least the kitchen! It is good for you to know what your trigger foods are, and for now get them out of the house.
    • While you are purging the cupboards toss out anything with high fructose corn syrup in it. Read the labels…you will find it in a lot of “healthy” foods like flavored yogurt and in things like salad dressing.
    • Also throw away anything with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats/oils in them.
    • Add to the discard list artificial sweeteners like aspartame.
    • I also encourage you to get rid of, temporarily, white flour, sugar and regular salt. I know for a lot of folks that is going too far. So if you won’t get rid of them, put them on the highest shelf—preferably one where you have to get on a step stool to reach. Put them in bags or bins to keep them fresher and to hide them from view.

These foods have little, if any, nutritional value and can all trigger binge eating because they affect our blood sugar levels dramatically—in a bad way—or they get us used to super sweet tastes.

I know this may be hard at first, but the longer you go without these foods the better your body will feel. You may feel kind of fuzzy or low energy or headachey the first couple days as your body reacts to not having simple sugars. Be gentle on yourself and eat plenty of fruits and drink lots and lots of water as you adjust.

Try to do for 1 week without these foods. After 1 week a lot of people feel so much better they don’t want to go back. But if after a week you really want something from the clean out list then choose 1 thing and allow yourself a small amount up to one time a day, like my espresso beans. See if that helps you or sets you off on a binge

Unfortunately I can’t tell you that having “x” amount of a food will be fine but “x+1” will set you on a binge. We are all different, and even for each one of us we have different tolerances depending on where our heads are at. Some days 1 ounce of good quality dark chocolate will feel like a luxurious treat and other day s it will just seem like a tease. (Hint: if it seems like a tease, there is a really good chance you are wanting to eating for emotional reasons and you deserve to look at that.)

Generally speaking, I try to make it a bit of a challenge to go on a binge. I don’t keep a lot of ingredients for baking around, I don’t have bags of candy or cookies, because that is not loving myself. At this point I can often have small amounts of cookies or candy around…you see, it isn’t about not allowing myself to have them. I just know that I feel better without them and as much as I love chocolate and sugar I know I’m more apt to eat it if I have a lot of it around.

Have one of your 30 minute blocks each week be focused on food. It might be clearing out old foods or finding a new healthy recipe, or even going out to a restaurant that offers healthy choices that frees you up from having to cook all the time!

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