Everyone knows that if you eat less and exercise more you lose fat. So why is it so difficult to do that and why are so many people eating themselves into a state of disease?
Without a long and complex debate around the whys and wherefores of obesity and overweight, there are a few very simple and clear reasons and drivers:
- Emotional attachment to food.
- Compulsive behaviour.
- Unfamiliarity with, and fear of, true hunger.
- Reward behaviour.
- The continual presence of food; snacking.
- Large portions.
Emotional attachment to food is a strong and common trait. It can be set up in childhood if food is used as a reward, or later in life if food is turned to for comfort. If you experience emotional eating then try to deal with the emotions or attach the emotions to a more positive behaviour, such as going for a walk or talking to a friend.
Compulsiveness might arise from the age we live in, where everything is available most of the time and we feel we must have this or that, and we must have it now, because we can. Try waiting for food if you feel a compulsion. Make yourself hold back for an hour and in that time do something that distracts you.
Fear of and unfamiliarity with hunger is very common because we’re never far from food; in the home, at the office, at the station and shopping centre, and so on. Because we’re a snacking society we never hit a meal hungry. It becomes an unknown and feared feeling. Reconnect with hunger by sticking to three moderate meals a day.
Reward. It’s easy to think that we deserve some chocolate or wine, or whatever food or drink, because we’ve had a bad day or experience. ‘Deserve’ and ‘food’ aren’t words that comfortably sit together. We need food to stay healthy and alive, but deserve is something different altogether. Detach the two and remove the connection from your thoughts and vocabulary.
Snacking. No need for it. You will survive between meals.
Large portions. We’ve all got used to restaurant and fast food size portions and we don’t adjust portion size to suit our own size or activity level. Yet it’s fundamental to staying a healthy weight. Always serve yourself less than your eyes tell you you need. Retrain your brain.