“I just love food too much”
When Emma* came to see me she was adamant that she COULD NOT lose weight or eat better.
Nothing had worked for her before. In fact everything had left her bigger than when she started. She’d piled the weight back on again plus a few extra pounds with every diet she’d tried and ‘failed’ at.
She didn’t believe she could eat healthily because she loved food too much and she just couldn’t change her eating habits.
When we talked through what she’d tried before, it was all about giving up stuff or cutting out foods that she loved. Plus all the weird slimming-club recipes or diet products that she found boring or unsatisfying (so she’d end up eating way too much of them!).
No wonder she struggled to stick to anything for very long. She was trying to change too much and being encouraged to lose weight too fast. She didn’t enjoy the way she was being told to eat, so she associated eating healthily with having to do stuff she didn’t want to do.
Of course I reassured her that I love food too and I would never tell her to cut out anything she loved, as this was more likely to lead to cravings & binges…
We looked at how she could tweak things instead of doing something drastic.
We looked at where she could make small changes to her habits that she felt she could keep going forever. I also encouraged her to focus on changing her perspective about food and healthy eating so it was more helpful to her reaching her goals.
Emma found this way took longer to see the results, but she didn’t feel like she was ‘on a diet’ so she found it easier to keep going.
She wasn’t on a diet, she was building a healthier lifestyle.
The best thing was she was enjoying what she was doing. Life is too damn short to be doing something you hate!
If you relate to Emma’s story, because you love food ‘too much’ to be able to eat healthier, then check out the following tips:
1. Take the morality out of eating
It really is time to separate morality from food and eating. Food isn’t naughty, wicked or sinful, just as much as it isn’t good or an indicator of whether you’re a good person or not. ALL food is good, healthy eating is about the overall balance of everything you eat and drink, not the individual foods.
Food is just food, it’s fuel and nutrients, nothing more.
Obviously eating a healthy balanced diet is good for your health, but it doesn’t make you virtuous. Getting your 5 portions of fruit & veg per day is good for your body, but it doesn’t make you better than someone who ate doughnuts all day.
You’re a good person regardless of what you’ve eaten. Unless you’re not a good person of course! But that’s all about how you treat other people etc – nothing to do with your food.
Moving away from this way of looking at food and eating will help you reduce overeating and break the guilt-binge cycle. So try to stop labelling food as good or bad and avoid calling yourself good or bad depending on how you’ve eaten – doesn’t help you. Read more about why this labelling is unhelpful here.
2. Focus on nourishing your body first
Focus on giving your body what it needs instead of focusing on cutting things out. Listen to your hunger cues and follow your appetite, as this will help you eat the right amount for you. This involves learning to really listen to what your body tells you.
This was so important for Emma to help her stop having cravings and snacking between meals. We looked at how she could make sure each meal was well balanced so she felt satisfied. She didn’t need to follow special recipes, eat special foods or do anything drastically different really. She knew the basics of healthy eating, she just needed some guidance on how to make it easy to stick to.
What I recommend is to focus on each individual meal to make healthy eating easier. Try to include a variety of different foods at each meal and then it all slots into place overall. Read more about healthy eating here.
3. Give yourself permission to include the treats
You are 100% ALLOWED to have the treats like cake, chocolate, ice-cream or crisps. When you work with me or follow my advice, NO food is banned! If you love chocolate you need to include it or you will feel deprived, crave chocolate more, then feel guilty when you do finally eat it. Feeling guilty then leads to eating more and feeling more guilty then going round and round in that binge-guilt cycle – no fun!
I see people all the time say they want to get healthier so they’re going to cut out all the things they love. It never lasts long does it? When clients come to me after doing this they often talk about feeling a lack of control around eating those foods they’ve previously cut out. Like in Emma’s case, we talk about how to include the foods they love, but gradually cut them down without feeling deprived.
It takes time, but when you give yourself permission to enjoy the food you love, you gradually realise you CAN have a little of what you fancy.
Just remember that you don’t need to do it all perfectly. Give yourself a break.
Ditch dieting forever – you deserve better.
(*Emma is not my client’s real name, I’ve changed it for confidentiality)
Need help to ditch dieting forever?
Want to eat normally again AND lose weight healthily? While still enjoying the cake & chocolate? Hell yes!
I will help you ditch dieting forever, either with my 1-2-1 support. Or if you prefer to work independently, you will learn all the skills I teach my 1-2-1 clients, on my ‘No More Diets’ online course.
My Weekly Round-up! AKA; what I’ve been up to recently…
- Tea of the week has been the old faithful Earl Grey – yum!
- We had some shitty news at the start of April and it’s been a tough few weeks (hence me getting out of the habit of blogging weekly!). So this week I’ve been mainly trying to get back into a routine of work and daily walks. Managed to do my little exercise routine every day so far this week so feeling pretty good.
- My book challenge ’22 books in 2022′ has gone out of the window as I’ve still not managed to get to the library (goal for the weekend!). Although I finished ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and ‘Emma’, but they don’t count as I’ve read them both loads of times before.
- We did manage to get up another new hill at the weekend though. So our family challenge ’22 hills in 2022′ is ticking along… just about. We went up a hill I’ve never been up before ‘Hope Bowdler Hill’ and it was a gorgeous walk. That brings us up to 6 different hills now so far this year.
- Bird Nerd Report: I saw a Wheatear for the first time ever up Hope Bowdler hill, plus I’m pretty sure there were skylarks too. The other day I saw a sparrowhawk bothering a buzzard and the next day I saw the sparrowhawk near the same tree so I’m wondering if there’s a nest there. I’ve seen kingfishers down by the brook every day this week, which is amazing. Plus the jays and blackcaps have been around lots too. Even better than that the goldfinches have been back in our garden! I haven’t seen them in our garden for at least a year. We’ve been leaving the dandelions to grow in the hope they’d come back (goldfinches love dandelion seeds!).