As much as we want to believe that weight loss and dieting is easy, it’s not. From my own personal experiences and listening to my Heyday clients, I’ve identified the five most stubborn habits that can keep you locked in an unhealthy relationship with food:
“I shouldn’t have eaten those biscuits. I’ve messed up. I might as well continue eating”.
A problem with black and white thinking is that it skews your perspective. Imagine if you spilt a few drops of orange juice on your white shirt, and thought, “It’s a complete mess, it’s destroyed”. The reality is that it can be salvaged. Learn to draw a symbolic line under your eating. Don’t wait until Monday morning to start being good.
“I’ll start being healthy once all the unhealthy food is gone from the kitchen (so I’ll just eat my way through it first)”.
Clearing away remaining junk food by eating it means that you’re treating yourself like a dustbin. You’re also giving yourself permission to continue being unhealthy. Maybe it’s time to pause and ask yourself, “Is eating this food the best way to care for myself?” Bringing awareness to our habits is crucial to challenging them.
“If I don’t eat that slice of cake, someone else will and I’ll miss out”.
Ah yes, the large family syndrome. I recall sitting around the table with my six siblings and eye-balling each other’s plates. If you do not eat that cake that looks so delicious, your world will not fall apart. It does not mean you will never get the chance to eat cake again. Food never tastes as good when you are not really hungry. Your taste buds are more alive and sensitive when you are hungry.
“I hover around the kitchen waiting until everyone is gone so I can eat all I want”.
The most awful part of eating in secret is the shame. The secrecy around eating reinforces the guilt, torment and shame. A Heyday client, Anna, recently mentioned that she now asks herself, “Would I eat like this if someone was watching me or could see me?”
“The food calls out to me. I swear those Jaffa cakes have my name on them”.
Do you ponder anxiously about all the little tasks ahead of you - emails to send, phone calls to make, school runs...? I often find myself staring at my to-do list but not wanting want to do anything on it, and my mind wanders to the contents of the biscuit tin. It can help to remind yourself that 'I am a competent adult and I can cope. I do have a choice'. Being mindful and aware means that you are putting yourself in charge, instead of mindlessly seeking refuge in the biscuit tin.