How To Achieve A Healthy Body Weight
It seems everywhere you turn, people are saying no to diets. They realize the problems they cause — primarily that they cause people to gain weight and lose health, not the other way around!
But many are still searching for that magic answer to ending eating and weight struggles. The idea of actually eating what they want is downright scary!
Well, mindful eating isn’t magic but it is a big part of ending the struggle. That’s because mindful eating helps you eat in a way that satisfies your mind, body and soul. And that can mean great things for your health.
What about weight? When we’re healthy, our bodies gravitate to their natural healthy weight. It may mean weight loss; it may not. It depends on what is right for your body. What it does mean, though, is that you can feel great. What’s not to like about that!
If you’re new to mindful eating, here are a few ideas on how to get started. If you’re not, let it serve as a brief refresher.
1. Trust yourself to manage your hunger
Ignoring your hunger cues to comply with someone else’s rules is a surefire way to throw your body off and create a hostile physiological environment that’s not conducive for achieving and maintaining your healthy weight.
Basically, you’re working against yourself. Instead, try tuning in and investigate your physiological hunger — those grumblings, growlings, feelings of emptiness and more. Don’t be afraid to feel them; instead work toward trusting what they are telling you.
To do so, first work on balancing out the hormones that regulate your hunger. There are plenty of those so start with the big guys.
- Eat predictably and in a way that helps regulate and balance these powerful hormones. Try eating within a few hours after waking.
- Include all of your macronutrients. By consuming all three (carbohydrates, fats and protein), you create the right conditions to balance influential hormones. Without all three balance is off and you might find it hard to recognize and work with your hunger.
- Eat every 3 to 5 hours or so after your first meal, and continue to do so until bedtime. This might be three meals daily plus a midmorning or afternoon snack, if needed, or it might be five mini-meals. It’s your call but the point here is to tune in, listen to and honor your hunger and not work against it.
2. Figure out what it is that you really want
Imagine being able to eat whatever you want. Sounds amazing right?
Well, it isn’t that amazing, it’s just totally normal.
Contrary to popular belief, lots of people everywhere are eating what they want and maintaining a healthy weight… so try it for yourself.
Once you begin to balance out your hunger hormones, your physiological drive for food is better regulated. You can now better investigate what it is you really want to eat.
It’s important, too, to recognize what it is you really want. For most of us, it’s to enjoy what we eat and feel good, too.
For example, if a day plays out to be pretty chaotic – a day where you skipped breakfast because you were running late for work – and before you know it, it’s 3 pm, the hormones involved in managing your hunger are completely thrown off. You’re famished, tired, stressed and over hungry.
These are the perfect conditions for overeating as well as not being level-headed enough to ask what sounds good to me and how will it make me feel?
Instead, manage hunger by paying attention to it and honoring it so that when you are hungry you are able to pause and ask yourself “what is it that I really want to eat?”
Remember, your hormones will be better balanced and this will allow you to sit on this question for a minute and really ponder it.
Consider your options rather than using the ‘see food, eat food’ mechanism that usually occurs when we are over hungry – which never really allows us to consider what it is we even want to eat to begin with.
3. Level the playing field
In order to investigate what it is you really want to eat, try to separate yourself from the external information that you may have worked so diligently to gather up, stockpile and recall on command.
This is diet stuff – someone else’s rules.
The key is to work toward letting go of it and begin to look at food in a more neutral way.
Here’s food, let me try some, then ask myself:
Did I find pleasure in that food? Did the food feel good in my body? Does it support me energetically?
These are a few good questions to get you away from the external cues and lean more toward the internal cues.
It gets us away from not eating something we really want to because we were told it’s bad or eating something we don’t really enjoy only because we were told it’s healthy. That way of eating isn’t supportive or sustainable long term…or healthy.
4. Be confident in your choice
Now you have made your choice.
You made a sound body and mind decision on what to eat by balancing out the physiological hormones that drive hunger. You did this by investigating how the food makes you feel both physiologically and psychologically.
Good. Notice this and notice how each time you practice, it helps build your confidence with eating according to what feels good for you.
5. Shift your focus from weight to health
How can this way of eating possibly help your body achieve its healthy weight?
Your body is comfortable, it’s balanced and its needs are met. Those are the conditions necessary for it to do what it does naturally, which is to heal itself and find homeostasis (balance).
Our body wants to settle at its healthy weight, but all too often we fight against the situations necessary for it to do so.
Start looking at what health means to you beyond purely a goal weight. Investigate what feeling good means to you and how you can sit there a little more each day.
How can you take a broader look at health beyond weight alone and set your body up for success in finding its naturally happy and healthy weight?