There actually is a physiological reason we run to junk when we’re stressed. It isn’t just an upbringing thing. Carbohydrates tend to have a sedating effect. It can be like taking drugs. The downside of self-medicating with junk food is that it can set you up for blood sugar swings, which can lead to mood swings. So what initially made you feel better will make you feel worse. Of course, the natural reaction in such a case is to reach for more junk, which just feeds into the vicious cycle, and that vicious cycle just adds to the stress. A healthy diet will help to keep you more on an even keel and more able to deal with stress.
I like all-you-can-eat buffets when I’m watching my weight. They make it easy to go low-carb, and I can maintain or even lose weight that way. When I do buffets, I load up on meat and have a little bit of non-starchy vegetables with it. I did this when I went to Las Vegas last time and actually lost weight. The trick is to stick to your plan and choose accordingly.
A lot of us have problems with our weight because our eating strategy goes something like this:
See food → Eat
Or maybe it’s something like:
Feel uncomfortable in any way → Eat
Have you ever wondered how thin people decide when and what to eat? In my readings, I found exactly that. It was in a Neuro-Linguistic Programming book, Heart of the Mind: Engaging Your Inner Power to Change With Neuro-Linguistic Programming by Connirae Andreas and Steve Andreas. The author of this chapter of the book is naturally slim. She did not realize that fat people thought of food differently until she elicited the eating strategy of one of them in a seminar. She was surprised how simple it was (See food → Eat). Here’s the strategy she taught the person to use instead, which is her own:
The Naturally Slender Eating Strategy
- First, something makes me think of food. This might be seeing that it’s time for lunch, hearing someone mention lunch, feeling hunger, or seeing food.
- I check how my stomach feels now.
- I ask myself, “What would feel good in my stomach?
- I visualize a possible portion of a food: a sandwich, a bowl of soup, a dinner salad, etc.
- I imagine eating this food. I think of the taste of this food, and then feel the food slipping into my stomach, and get a feeling of how this amount of this food will feel in my stomach over time if I eat it now.
- If I like this feeling better than how I will feel if I eat no food at all, I keep this food item as one possibility. If not, I discard it.
- Next I visualize another food I might eat.
- I imagine tasting this second item, and feel how it feels as it goes into my stomach, and stays in my system for some hours to come.
- I notice how I like this feeling. Do I like it more than my best choice so far? I keep in mind the food item that makes me feel best, to compare my next choice.
- Now I repeat steps 7, 8, and 9 as often as I want to, always keeping in mind the kind of food that I imagine would make me feel the best over time if I eat it. I compare each new possibility to that.
- When I’m satisfied that I have considered enough options, I eat the food that I imagined would make me feel best over time, so that I’ll get to feel that good.
She says to a “naturally slim” person, this strategy would seem obvious. She says that she does sometimes eat fattening things, but usually in small portions. She says that what keeps her from eating fattening things more often is that, when she thinks about it, she knows that those things will make her feel physically worse over time. The object of the strategy is to feel good. She says that when she has taught this strategy to others, they eventually become slim themselves.
She uses a similar strategy to decide when to stop eating: will the next bite make me feel better or worse?
I think I will have a good chance of staying slim in the future because I have found myself using similar strategies more and more in the last couple of years. I still have my moments when taste wins out, though. Now that I have found this strategy, I plan to use it more consciously.
I’ve been at this dieting thing for quite a while now. There are some indications that this may be the last time I lose weight. Here are some of the things that I find myself doing more naturally:
I keep in mind how a food will make me feel when I eat it. I know that too much of something could upset my stomach or make me feel sluggish. I know that overdoing carbs could make me sleepy or give me a headache. I know that a well-balanced meal of moderate portions feels much better than eating an oversized meal.
I am more likely to choose my meals á la carte at some restaurants. I know that restaurant portions tend to be large, and I plan to bring some of it home.
I now use smaller dishes when appropriate. I often use 9 inch luncheon plates to serve my dinner, and I use small 10 ounce bowls and sauce dishes to serve myself my cereal and snacks. (The standard size dinner plates in my Corelle set are 10 1/4 inches across. The cereal bowls that came with my set our 18 ounce. The 9 inch plates and 10 ounce bowls were purchased open stock at the Revere/Corning/Corelle outlet store. They don’t come with any of the sets.)
I have learned that I cannot deal with large packages of some snacks such as cookies or banana chips. I have decided that if I really want cookies, I will go to the convenience store and buy one of those individual serving packages. Sure, it costs more by weight, but I end up eating a whole lot less of it. As for the banana chips, one of the local stores sells those in bulk bins, so I can buy exactly the amount I think I can deal with.
I am very happy with these habits. These are the type of habits that will lead to a lifetime of healthy weight. Now if I could just get the fitness part of it established! I’ve started working on that. This month, I have been doing my T-Tapp workout most days.
Hypnotherapy can be useful for changing the thoughts and habits relating to diet and weight loss. Weight loss tends to be more complex than other issues brought to hypnotherapy and takes more sessions, but results are generally good. There are a great many habits surrounding eating. People who use hypnosis as part of their weight loss program tend to keep the weight off longer. Hypnosis can also be used to reduce specific cravings that can interfere with following a diet plan. We had a class demonstration once where the instructor demonstrated how to reduce the appeal of a particular food. This person enjoyed potato chips and would buy them whenever she stopped at a gas station. The instructor worked on changing the way she “sees” potato chips using NLP techniques. We checked in with her in the next few weeks, and she had stopped eating potato chips.
When you choose a hypnotherapist, make sure they have adequate training and credentials. There is no licensing for hypnotherapists. Various organizations certify hypnotherapists, but the qualifications vary a great deal. Typical training for hypnotherapists can range from a weekend course to a year-long program including an internship.
Because being overweight has possible medical causes, a hypnotherapist should ask you to provide a medical referral before he works on weight loss if you are obese. Any time you are planning a major dietary change, it is recommended to work with a doctor, no matter your age or how healthy you think you are.
You can find out more about hypnotherapy for weight loss here.
I got uncomfortable with the “I deserve a treat” line. To me, that translates to, “I deserve a blood sugar swing.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the way those feel! I’ve been feeling so good on the NutriSystem plan that I just can’t imagine wanting to feel the way I used to. There’s definitely a socialization to the “I deserve a treat” line. I’ve talked to my skinny friends about it, and they just don’t feel that way about sugary foods. Sugary things just don’t appeal to them. It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? When I told them how I was brought up with food, they said, “We feel sorry for you,” and they meant it. I’ve noticed that the instructors at the hypnotherapy school easily turn down treats when offered. Talk about positive peer pressure! I really love where I’m at, and it’s rubbing off.
We often think of doing things a day at a time; but when it comes to weight loss, sometimes it helps to think more of a MEAL at a time. So you blew a meal? It doesn’t have to be the whole day or the whole week or the whole diet. Just get right back on track at the very next next meal. We can do this!