The less time you spend hungry, the less you will over-eat. There is this annoying little hormone we produce called ghrelin, the hormone that causes hunger. Well, to keep that hormone in control, you need to eat often. The BEST thing you can do for yourself in terms of controlling your weight is eat a well-balanced and nutritious breakfast, every day, within an hour of getting up, and eat appropriately (an apple, fruit, beef jerky, a little string-cheese, or a protein shake) every three hours throughout the day to keep your metabolism working its best.
“I had a client who just could not see how often he ate ‘guilty pleasure’ foods. He had an excuse for each one, but just couldn’t understand why he wasn’t doing better with his weight-loss goals.
He had pizza on Monday — but hadn’t had it in three months so it ‘didn’t count’.
Tuesday it would be doughnuts, for the first time in six months…and so on.
”What is the key to solving this problem of perception vs reality? Write it all down.“ In this client’s case he was instructed to start a food journal, the journal was simple with the headings “Day of the week, Time, Food Item/Drink Item, and Macros (protein, carbs, fat, calories).” At the end of the week they went through each item and for every ‘guilty food’, Chris had him put a red highlight through it and for every ‘healthy food,’ Chris had him put a green highlight through the item. By the end of the first week, he got to see how much he did this, how and how all of the ‘guilty meals’ stacked up against the ‘healthy meals’ and was able to be educated on what food choices were bringing him closer to his goals and what choices were keeping him from his goals.”
Keeping records of what you eat, opens your eyes and doesn’t allow you to lie to yourself even when you think your being ‘good’. The reality is that you can trouble shoot you’re eating habits and become mentally aware. Ultimately this activity will make you more thoughtful about what you eat—and once it becomes habit, You’ve nipped it in the bud !
Here are some resources you can use for food logging that I’ve found to be very helpful:
Many of us have no set time when we grocery shop. We head off to the store when it’s convenient, or worse yet, when we’re hungry and realize there’s nothing in the house. Ask CEO of Pro-Train, Chris Wilson and he calls this – “the chaotic shopping syndrome”.
Here are his tips:
Whatever method you choose to use for planning, build it into your life and watch how “easy” everyone else says you make it look;)
We’ve all been there. It’s 2:00 am in the morning. You wake up, you’re hungry, you head to the kitchen. There are cookies in the cupboard. Do you grab a few, or walk away? Or, it’s Saturday night. You’ve eaten healthy all week, and you’re out for date night with your significant other. They want to order a pizza. Do you go along for the ride?
These scenarios happen all the time, and can seriously derail your efforts to maintain a healthy weight or stay on your plan. It’s hard to know what to do when the battle in your head over food starts up. Is there any way to not wind up standing with the freezer door open, staring straight into the face of a pint of ice cream?
To get answers, and a plan of action, we spoke to our own, Christopher Wilson with Pro-Train Food for Fitness. Here are his suggestions for winning the battle over food in your head:
Why force yourself to rely on will-power? Chris says that, “Often people say, ‘I’m going to have willpower!’ But willpower is over-rated. Instead of trying to be strong and have willpower, people need to be more aware of behavior and actions, and their weak points. And the best way to do that is to change your environment so you can succeed.” Chris likens this to addiction. “If someone is recovering from alcoholism,” he says, “you don’t put them in the local pub and say, ‘Just be strong;)!’” So, if there are certain foods around which you know you can’t restrain yourself from, the best idea is not to bring them home to begin with. Start by cleaning out your office and house, and try to get away from the triggering food.
By the same token, you need to make sure that you are stocked up on healthy foods, so that you are not in a constant state of deprivation, and wind up over-eating in reaction. You need healthy snacks, and the time to go shopping for a snack is not once you’re already hungry. So, let’s talk about shopping….
Meditation can be as simple as those four steps, yet what it does for the mind—and, some believe, the body—is deep, and that’s where you start: with deep breathing.
Breathing is automatic. We rarely give it much thought—like blinking or swallowing. Breathing keeps us alive with a steady flow of oxygen and a cleansing release of carbon dioxide. But, also like blinking or swallowing, we can control the way we breathe, and we can use it to soothe ourselves and increase our feelings of wellbeing. Paying attention to and altering our breath is one of the core components of meditation.
Experts suggest noting the way you breathe in different situations, like when you’re happy or stressed or engaged in exercise. Knowing the way your own breathing patterns aid or hinder you in those circumstances can help you to correct it.
Breathing is a key component of yoga, tai chi, and Pilates, all exercises that are said to combat stress. (The Sanskrit word for breath is prana, which also meansenergy.1) So you could even conclude that proper breathing is part of the reason. Learning to breathe properly—through the diaphragm—is not difficult to master, but after a lifetime of bad breathing habits, is likely to feel unusual.
To get started right now, inhale while counting to three, then exhale while counting to three, and continue on in this pattern for as long as you can, paying attention to the pattern itself. Practice calm breathing a few times a day.
Deep breathing, or belly breathing, is the antidote to anxiety and stress:
Through your nose, inhale slowly, filling your lungs to capacity. Concentrate on making your stomach, rather than your chest, rise. This poses a special challenge for us, as we are so self-conscious about our stomachs that we want to bring them as little attention as possible, yet our shallow breathing could be a significant part of why we hold onto excess weight.
Once you’ve inhaled, don’t stop yourself; that’s another bad habit many of us have. Instead, when your lungs are filled, begin the slow process of emptying them. Visualize controlling the flow of air from a balloon, as if emptying it through a tiny opening. It should take twice as long to empty your lungs as it did to fill them, and your stomach should seem to pull back into your body.2
Stressed out? Calm yourself by doing this exercise five times in a row. This is a great anti-stressor. Notice how you feel afterward (you may be lightheaded when you try any of these breathing exercises until you get used to what it feels like to really breathe!).
Just sit there.
Meditation requires nothing of you but a few brief moments of your time and your complete presence. You don’t need special pillows or mats, you don’t need books or lessons, and you don’t need special clothing. It’s as simple as finding a comfortable place to sit or lie down (or stand or walk!) and focusing on something as simple as a word, an object, or your breath.
While the idea is to eliminate stress-inducing thoughts and images from your mind—you should not be making a grocery list or coming up with a new sales strategy while you sit there—it’s best to avoid a conscientious removal of those stray thoughts that enter your head. As you sit or stand quietly, focusing on a syllable or the air filling and leaving your lungs, acknowledge those other thoughts as they enter, but decline to engage them, and return to your focus.3
Meditation brings clarity and calm and can even help to lower high blood pressure.4 As it is with exercise, it’s the busiest times that you most need meditation. If you think you simply can’t spare those five or twenty minutes a day to just breathe, think about how much more efficiently you’ll work once you’ve de-stressed.4
And while meditation probably won’t directly help you lose weight, the mindfulness gained from regular practice can help to soften many of the habits that lead to emotional overeating.