Your mind is a powerful tool and is more than capable of learning
new habits, like making healthy eating and lifestyle choices.
You can break patterns of behaviour, such as snacking because you are feeling stressed or upset. You just need to learn how to re-program yourself, such as learning to reward yourself with something other than food. You have the power to feel good about yourself and take control of your eating, and to enjoy a healthy relationship with food.
The first step to taking control of your diet is to become more aware of what you are actually eating. That is why so many diet experts recommend
keeping a diet journal
so you are able to pinpoint your weaker moments
in the day when you more likely to slip off your diet. Identifying your problem
eating patterns makes them so much easier to deal with.
A recent study has discovered that 3pm and 8pm are the 'danger' spots during the day, when a lot of us succumb to snacking. It's when our energy levels slump. The most common snack when you are feeling at a low ebb is chocolate! Guard against this by planning ahead and having plenty of healthy snack options readily available, like fresh juicy berries, chunks of delicious melon and grapes chilling in your fridge.
Although we are all busy, it is a good idea to make meals an occasion to
enjoy. Don't do something while you eat, like watching television or reading
a book - concentrate on eating the food. Always sit down, preferably at a
table, and enjoy the taste and texture of your meal. That way your stomach
will have time to process your eating, and send a message to your brain that
you are satisfied and no longer hungry.
Try not to eat in order to combat an emotional need rather than a physical hunger. Many of us make an emotional connection to certain foods - boredom, stress, tiredness, frustration and pain can all lead to comfort food eating. It is well recognised that for many women suffering Pre-Menstrual Tension (PMT) can be connected with the time in the month that they really crave chocolate.
If you really can't resist chocolate
replace high sugar milk chocolate snacks with just one square of high cocoa
(70% at least) good quality, plain chocolate. It will satisfy that chocolate
desire, and contains antioxidants, minerals, and mood
enhancing chemicals that increase the levels of endorphins, which make you feel happy.
But you won't want to eat so much, just let it slowly melt in your mouth and enjoy.
When you next crave a snack try and ask yourself whether you are satisfying a definite hunger pang, or is it really because you are trying to find a quick fix to make yourself feel better, or happier? If you answer the latter, this is the time you can re-program your behaviour and treat yourself with something other than food - a luxurious bubble bath, or some 'you' time just relaxing, or doing what makes you feel good - listening to your favourite music, watching a dvd, taking a walk.
Practise visualising your new slim self in the latest dress or latest outfit you'd love to wear, and when you feel tempted to overeat remember this picture of what can be the new you. Believe it and you will achieve your weight-loss.
Don't be tempted to ignore real hunger. If you drop meals or
make yourself wait too long for a meal, ignoring your body's needs, you will
be in danger of overeating when you do finally eat. Three healthy meals a day
are the best solution for most people.
Thirst can also be mistaken for hunger, so try and have a glass of water before you reach to satisfy any hunger pangs. We should all be drinking at least 2 litres of water throughout the day, to keep our bodies hydrated.