Why Do You Struggle with Healthy Eating?

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Why Do You Struggle with Healthy Eating?

Are you persistently frustrated by your weight loss attempts? Are you weary of the number of times you have started a new diet and exercise programme, only to fail?

You’ve read all those promises how you can achieve fantastically quick weight loss in time for that fast approaching event. They tell you that they can get you back into your sexiest outfit and looking great in no time. All you have to do is get started on their quick weight loss plan, and you’ll see the weight drop off in weeks.

There’s always a new diet coming on the market making unrealistic, and basically dishonest promises of dramatic, quick weight loss. Fad diets come and go, none of which stand the test of time.

So you have tried many of the best known diets: Atkins diet, Grapefruit diet, Mediterranean diet, Nutri Systems, Scarsdale, Slimming World, South Beach diet and Weight Watchers. Yet you still haven’t achieved the results you wanted. The weight just won’t budge.

You follow the experts’ advice on exercise: cardio, weight lifting, interval training, circuit training, power walking…and still no results.

Discouraged, you move on to another diet programme, a different exercise plan then stick religiously to them…and yet still no results. Weight loss seems to be a lifetime struggle for you. Different diets are tried time after time with the same poor results and it seems that you are always on a diet depriving yourself, putting restrictions up and then all of a sudden going back to eating the way you were before you started dieting. As a desperate measure you even try “fat-burning” supplements or diet pills…only find that your weight still doesn’t fall off.

So you’ve started every dieting method you can think of—drinking weight loss shakes, eating nothing but grapefruit, avoiding carbohydrates—only to find yourself back to your old habits in a few weeks. You bought weights, an exercise bike or a treadmill, exercise videos only to find them in a corner collecting dust. Even if you do follow these diet and exercise plans the results don’t seem to last very long. Sometimes you even end up gaining weight instead of losing it.

The diet plan market is thriving because there is an enormous demand from people who want to lose weight. Yet, diets rarely work. Fact: Only 2-3% of people who embark on a diet manage to keep the weight off permanently

How many times have you started a new diet with great fervour, only to find yourself going off the wagon after a couple of weeks? While your intentions were good, you just cannot seem to stick to it, or achieve the results you want.

I put the failure of dieting to one thing. Most people begin on a diet because they have a strong aspiration to lose weight, for reasons of health or self-image. This is an intellectually or emotionally motivated decision. But this decision will have been made on a full stomach, probably having only that day eaten many of your favourite ‘not good for you’ foods..

When our stomachs empty, our intellectual and emotional motivations take a back seat to our dominant basic desires to consume the fatty and sugary foods that give us pleasure. At this point our “willpower” is inadequate to defeat the urge to eat. We gain our temporary pleasure from eating, while we do our best to excuse the situation or promising ourselves to do better tomorrow. If we can’t rationalise the situation satisfactorily, we are left feeling guilty.

Your greatest challenge is the emotional aspect of food, from an unconscious but very powerful level. Food means much more too us then only providing nutrients. We use food to create or avoid certain emotions and feelings. And if we change our diet, the feelings and emotions which normally are hidden under a cloudy blanket of fullness or sensation, is suddenly there. It is there and it is strong. These emotions are part of us, and they are strong. To return to our comfort zone can often be far to tempting.

Understanding the psychology of why you eat what you do, and when you do will help you be able to change these bad habitual patterns.

1. Focus on cause rather than effect. Most people who want to lose weight are fixated with the effect of their problem (being overweight) and not the cause (bad eating habits).Successfully cutting out your bad eating habits will energise you, improve digestion, help you sleep better, boost self-confidence, allow you to be healthier and empower you. Recognising these benefits and accepting that you want them to be a part of your life will allow you to be happier eating better. First, classify the reasons (other than weight loss) why you’d like to eat better. Losing weight is more likely to happen and last if you see the mental and physical benefits other than weight loss.

2. Take responsibility. Don’t think about food in terms of what you are or aren’t allowed to eat. When you try to rigidly stick to dietary rules and restrictions you think negatively about eating, and often you are tempted to rebel. Acknowledge that you are completely free to eat anything and everything you want, but as you, and not the diet are responsible for what you eat, you choose to make smart decisions about food. Because you are in control of your choices, you won’t feel deprived, even though you will eat better.

3. Embrace temptation. When you accept the feeling of being tempted to overeat, you use it as a means of working through and breaking free from this addictive behaviour. By recognising your desires and not fearing them, you empower yourself, and create a new association in your mind between food and positive habits. You’ll overcome the fear of food, and by realising you can resist the temptation to overeat, you’ll eat less. If you actively choose to resist the desire to overeat, the temptation will fade. In time, when you can identify and live with your addictive desire to eat, you’ll become more aware of your natural hunger, stop eating at the end of each meal and limit junk food and late-night snacking.

4. Try and evaluate your hunger. In case of emotional eating, a person eats when there is no hunger. In this case, try and opt for eating only when you are hungry. For this you have to evaluate and recognize your need for hunger. Keep a diary related to the food you eat and assess whether it was hunger led or emotional eating.

5. In case of overcoming your emotional eating, try and find different alternatives for food you eat. Whenever you feel hungry, try and have some fruit instead of your usual sugar fix food. This can really help to curb your emotional eating to some extent.

6. You can also divert your attention in case of overcoming your emotional eating. In this case, when you feel like having anything, shift your attention. You can opt for cleaning something or simply do some activity. This can help you to overcome your emotional eating.

7. Taking up any form of physical exercise is also beneficial to overcome the condition of emotional eating. You can also opt for daily walk of half hour in case of overcoming this condition.

You can positively overcome emotional eating in case of these simple tips. Emotional eating is primarily related to mind of a person. Once you control your mind in a positive manner, you can easily control your emotional eating. This can also impact your overall health. Try to be positive in overcoming your emotional eating.

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About the author: Larry Lewis
My name is Larry Lewis, Health & Wellness Life Coach, Founder of Healthy Lifestyles Living, contributor to the Huffington Post, recently featured in the Sunday Mail Newspaper and somebody who went from being an owner of a chain of gyms and fitness fanatic, to a visually impaired overweight and incredibly sick person. Read about my illness to wellness story.

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