Barbara’s first blog was so well recieved , here she is for her second and blog of this series….
Eating Behaviours That Keep You From Losing Weight
So it all started when a family friend told me my mother should put me on a diet. I was 16 years old and from that point onward, my whole relationship with food and myself changed.
Hi I’m Barbara Orban and I’m a former yo-yo dieter, binge eater, emotional eater, you name it, I was that. I went through years of trying to manage my eating, manage my weight with diets, eating healthy, exercise, diet pills, detoxes, wraps etc. My weight would fluctuate 10kg every year or two and I always had my “fat” clothes and my “slim” clothes. It wasn’t until I started looking at my eating behaviours rather than a specific diet or exercise routine that things started to change.
After years of research and trial and error I have finally managed to improve my quality of life. I no longer fret over what goes in my mouth. Although it involves a multifaceted approach, one of the biggest reasons why diets fail, that is often overlooked is:
When we eat for reasons other than hunger
Someone said to me recently how eating enough fibre and protein is the key to weight loss. My question to them is, what if I eat for reasons other than hunger? Is eating enough protein really going to be MY key to weight loss?
Let’s look 3 types of eating behaviours. Restrictive eating, emotional eating and externalized eating
Restrictive eating behaviours are when we restrict foods
Reducing our carbohydrate intake and cutting out junk food altogether are restrictive eating behaviours. We may avoid bread and rice, opt for salads and pick the low fat and low calorie options. Even if we fail, we set rules upon our eating habits and these rules are what we try and follow in order to feel successful with our eating.
Emotional eating is when we eat to avoid feeling certain emotions
This could be as innocent as eating when we are bored. I used to eat to avoid studying when I was at university. Other times I’d binge on McDonalds and KFC because the girls at university got to eat what ever they wanted and be skinny while I was eating salads everyday and unable maintain without yo-yoing in weight. I was so upset about my inability to maintain a particular weight without constantly dieting that it drove me to eat.
Externalized eating is when we eat from the mere sight or smell of food
Eating because the food is there. For example you have just eaten a big meal but you are presented with a platter of snacks so you eat because they are there. Or you walk past a bakery and smell fresh bread so you go inside and end up buying a ham and cheese croissant.
I would regularly binge on Krispy Kreme donuts because I would see the fresh donut sign on. I’d buy a dozen donuts and eat the whole box in my car and then hide the evidence before I got home because I felt so guilty. Sometimes I’d stop by Krispy Kreme’s because I failed on my diet. ‘Well, I’ve ruined it anyway so I may as well just start tomorrow’, is what I’d tell myself.
I started reading books on emotional eating. At that point I was still clueless as to how I ended up with an empty packet of magnum ice-creams, when a moment ago I was on my laptop in the bedroom.
It took me a while but after really slowing down and back tracking I was able to pinpoint the exact emotion prior to getting up and going to the kitchen. You see when we are on autopilot, we don’t take note of the different instructions going on in our head.
When you first learn to drive a car, for a while your brain is telling you, now turn the ignition, take the handbrake off, etc. After a while it’s automatic, you are not reciting what to do in your head anymore, but it’s still happening. It’s no different with eating. You may not have noticed the thought process behind the eating, but it doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a thought process there.
So what can you do about it?
My advice would be to stop looking for the next diet to cure your problem. It’s like breaking your arm and trying to open a jar. You have to plaster your arm and wait for it to heal first.
Here are 5 Steps to Help Change Your Eating Behaviours
- Let go of restrictive eating. I know it sounds counter-productive but it’s the only way to step off the up and down elevator of dieting and yo-yo weight.
- Give yourself permission to eat. Just telling yourself you are allowed to eat a donut dramatically changes the power that donut has over you.
- If you find yourself mid-binge, don’t beat yourself up about it. In a non-judgmental way, back track what you were doing and try to pinpoint the thought process that led you there.
- Learn to extend the time between the thought process and reaching for food. Without trying to change, just take notes and observe your patterns.
- Ensure you are feeling satisfied after you eat. Even if you had a binge, consciously feel the food in your tummy and how it feels. Observe if you like feeling this full or if you would feel more comfortable if you ate less.
Eating for reasons other than hunger can be a great hurdle in your efforts to maintain your weight. Once we recognize that working against our bodies doesn’t help. Also that hunger can be trusted, weight management becomes possible.
Barbara Orban is a health and nutrition coach with vast knowledge in nutritional psychology. She also has certificates in personal training and works as a dental practitioner. She dealt with a lot of eating issues in her twenties and would like to develop a program for women and work one-on-one with women who suffer from chronic dieting and eating for reasons other than hunger.
She has developed a website called www.secretstoslim.com
and a private Facebook group for women called
“The No Diet Movement”https://www.facebook.com/groups/1286071491486447/