Each week, I’ve presented a body reset nutrition tutorial for my #LevelUP group. I work with a lot of women who have a history of yo-yo dieting and excessive exercise. In my LevelUP program, each week, I coach you how to eat mindfully and help you set up a foundation for healthy eating behavior around food. This is Week 3 where I discuss 2 tools you can use right now to trust yourself around any food situation at any time.
Eating can be viewed as a spectrum; on one end you have excessive food and restrictive behavior and the other end you have total brain shut down mode; zero thinking and just eat what you want to eat end.
Mindfulness cuts between these two extremes. With time and practice, you will assess on the fly.
Assess – Ask yourself: I’m staring to get hungry, I’ll probably going to want to eat in an hour; so then that allows you to plan vs. being hangry and eating whatever is the closest to you. Feeling hunger vs Fighting hunger. Surf the hunger.
Mindfulness gives you the practice to deal with all of this; “don’t ever let yourself get hungry”, is the old mantra, but don’t be scared about being hungry. Feel it, surf it to get to a better option.
Mindful Exercise: set a timer on your phone for every 3 hours throughout the day and use that timer as a check in and assess how you feel; how hungry am I right now on a scale of 1-10; next timer, what am I craving right now? Why? Notice it and name it, but don’t judge it. How full am I right now on a scale 1-10. Just assess. This starts to get you checked in to your body.
Traditional dieting makes us stupider. Eating according to a clock and not by our internal biofeedback – Hunger, Cravings, How’s my Energy Right now, My level of Fullness, My level of Satisfaction… It’s not just eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. There are SO MANY nuances in between those two spectrums. Mindfulness becomes more automatic with practice. Mindfulness is the MAC DADDY tool; once you get it, you won’t over indulge. You will have those insights to mindfully know that you are good and not acting out of scarcity for that food and you will learn to trust yourself around any food situation at any time.
Here are your two tools you can start now:
- Eating to 80% fullness. Your cue is YOU COULD EAT MORE; but you surf the disappointment. Yeah, you could polish it off, but you are good so you stop and put it away and save it for later – ASSESS. The trigger is you could eat more. ONE FRY RULE: Practice of eating 1 fry and eating it. Have 1 fry just so you could practice taking 1 fry and eating 1 fry and that’s it. We don’t care about the outcome, it’s the process of how you got there. So what you may eat all the fries. And that’s ok – it’s feedback. What caused you to eat all the frieds. Did you mindfully eat all hte fries (with intention) or did you enter brain shut down mode and mindLESSLY finish all the fries. THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE.
- Intermittent Sampling. Mindful snacking; organized snacking. For example, break up a protein bar into 3-4 pieces and eat those throughout the day. You can do this with any food or snack and it is good practice. Your exercise: choose a food you are scared to be around (fries, ice cream, chips whatever)-go out and buy the food that you are the most scared of and have it at your house and practice having a portion every day for the week. Give yourself permission to have a portion, wait 20 minutes and then check in. Do you want another one? How do you feel? And then respond. This dissipates the illicitness of this food. You are taking back the power you’ve given to these “forbidden foods.” Eat a portion, wait, practice, assess… this is exposure therapy; these foods will lose their illicitness and our desire around that food will diminish because these foods no longer hold the same power over us anymore.
Everything depends on everything else. And the same thing goes with doing a ton of dieting and excessive exercise – your metabolism is dependent on that EAT LESS and EXERCISE MORE – and your metabolism will hold on to every calorie you eat and hold on to weight. This is PRISON. Slowly cutting back, practicing mindfulness and practicing moderation, your metabolism will start to run better. We’ve taught at our metabolism to do this – to be so dieted – to incur so many miles on our metabolism, that we have to start exposing our metabolism to normalcy. I am in it with you!
The food is not the problem. The mindset around the food is the problem.