Wednesday 13 December 2017

5 Food Habits We Don’t Really Talk About

Home made moist chocolate cake
Home made moist chocolate cake

Dr. Bernadette Rock

Do you believe it's simple to lose weight? The idea behind weight loss is simple- burn more calories than you eat.

But if it was that black-and-white then it would not be such a struggle for so many of us.

Perhaps we turn to food because eating is a powerful way to find temporary relief from many of life’s challenges. If it didn’t work so well, no one would do it.  Here are the 5 most stubborn habits that can keep you locked in an unhealthy relationship with food:

1. “The food calls out to me. I swear that fruit cake has my name on them”

Anna, a 37-year-old mother of two explains that she ponders anxiously about all the little tasks ahead of her- emails to send, phone calls to make, school runs etc. Feeling overwhelmed, her mind wanders to the contents of the biscuit tin, “It’s as if the food calls out to me!” Now Anna consciously reminds herself, “eating that slice of cake will change nothing. It might distract me for a few moments, but I’ll feel worse after. So maybe I’m better off dealing with whatever is in front of me”.

2. “If I don’t eat that slice of cake, someone else will and I’ll miss out”

Ah yes, the large family syndrome. I recall sitting around the table with my 6 siblings and eye-balling each other’s plates. When you eat just because food is available and looks tasty, you are missing out on the opportunity to take care of yourself. You are eating food that your body does not need or want. When you eat when you are not hungry, you do not taste the food fully. You are only half there. It is like being in conversation with someone, but not really listening and being engaged. If you do not eat that cake that looks so delicious, your world will not fall apart. Remind yourself that you can have it the next time you are hungry for it.

3. “I’ll start being healthy once all the unhealthy food is gone from the kitchen (so I’ll just eat my way through it first)”

Clearing away remaining junk food by eating it means that you’re treating yourself like a dustbin.  You’re also giving yourself permission to continue being unhealthy. Maybe it’s time to pause and ask yourself, “Is eating this food the best way to care for myself?” Remember, you either throw the food out or throw it into you. Either way, it turns into waste inside you or outside you.

4. “I shouldn’t have eaten those biscuits. Oh what’s the point, I might as well keep eating”

A problem with black-and-white thinking is that it skews your perspective. Imagine if you spilt a few drops of orange juice on your white shirt, and thought, “It’s a complete mess, it’s destroyed”. The reality is that it can be salvaged. Learn to draw a symbolic line under your eating. Don’t wait until Monday morning to start being good.

5. “I hover around the kitchen waiting until everyone is gone so I can eat all I want”

The most awful part of eating in secret is the shame. Eating bowls of cornflakes when no-one was in the kitchen and sneaking packets of crisps made me feel like a cheat and a fraud.  The secrecy around eating reinforces the guilt, torment and shame. A Heyday client, Anna, recently mentioned that she now asks herself, “Would I eat like this is someone was watching me or could see me?”

Bernadette Rock delivers delivers a “No More Dieting” workshop program with Dietician Paula Mee. See for further details.

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