Like many of you I have a handle on how to prepare and eat healthful foods. I know how to go to a restaurant and order well. I know how to advise people on what and when to eat… After all, I’m a health coach, but I still sometimes struggle with portion control and eating after I’m full… this is where I need to utilize my therapeutic skills and figure it out . If I continue to do this and find myself feeling physically unwell and upset, why continue? So I decided to take action. I have devised a 5 part plan for myself and hope that it can help you too ;)
I find that I may eat mindlessly in the evening or when I’m stressed or nervous about getting things done. I know I’m not alone with this, hence the term stress eating.... Being able to identify the problem is amazing, but when I’m in the moment, I find that I may act before thinking. I’m the type of person that needs and likes reminders. I’m naturally forgetful, so I recently put an alert in my phone to eat in a mindful and spiritual manner… the reminder was a lesson I learned from Brendan Burchard in an interview with Rachel Holis . It goes off at 530 and puts me in the proper state of mind. Eating delicious food is enjoyable, but I'm trying to think of it as a spiritual practice as well . G-d blessed us that the food we eat is not only nutritious but delicious too. Technically, we could have been able to eat bland but nutrient dense food, instead were gifted with taste. Let’s remember that before we dive into the food in front of us, take time to think about this blessing and thank Gd for his gifts.
This is not news….. In practicality , however, everyday life may lead us astray. I know that when I’m very hungry, I eat much faster. I probably don’t take the time to chew well or breathe properly in between bites. This can lead to gastric distress as well as less satiety from the food. How do we solve this dilemma? The answer is to eat meals and snacks throughout the day. This is an individualistic practice because there is no universal eating schedule- but your meals will be more filling and more satisfying if you sit down (—- read sit —- not stand) hungry instead of ravenous. When we feel satisfied, we are less likely to overeat…. hopefully …which brings me to…..
Preparing our portions in advance can help us plan better. In fact there will be no planning needed at all- it will all be there for you . Take time, once or twice a week to prepare or plan your meal. Take the time to chop and roast veggies that can be used as side dishes and snacks...I find that it is easier for me to prepare breakfast and lunch without much thought, and dinner is more of a challenge- so I shop for the proteins early in the week and plan my menu based on what looked good to me at the grocery store. I always freeze good quality leftovers so that I can pull them out in a pinch on a busy day. I feel so satisfied when I feed my family this healthy homemade food. Key word here is - planning .
All of the above are good tips, none of which I came up with entirely on my own. They are ideas that we can constantly use reminders about … But what happens when you try all of the above, but you still find yourself overeating, and disappointed with yourself because you feel sick or bloated? It’s time to recognize that you need to change your mindset. Reaching for food may be an automatic action that requires further thought. Challenge yourself. Are you taking more food because you are actually hungry or are you trying to satisfy another feeling? Are you nervous, stressed, angry or bored? Can you find another way to manage these feelings? Can you take a walk, call a friend of put on some good music ? Would you enjoy a hot bath, a hot tea or a guided meditation ? Try to take note of your emotions and remind yourself the consequences of overeating.
Make sure that you treat yourself a few times a week to food that you enjoy, and that your body will enjoy as well. It should be something special that you love and that you’re able to have a portion of without triggering a negative response in your body. The reason for this is, that If you feel physically miserable after eating, it may cause you to feel "guilty" about your food choices , which may then lead you to feel stress and want to eat even more.
t's totally normal to struggle in one or more of these areas. The most important thing, is to try your best to treat yourself well. So, if you happen to overeat or have too many indulgences, try not to let it get you down . Sometimes you need the food to help you feel good and that's OK. As Joshua Rosenthal, founder of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition says " Nutrition is not Religion". There's certainly more flexibility here than in other areas of life.
Finally, The human body is like a diamond . It’s precious, you want to take care of it. It’s also durable - its strong. If a diamond gets dirty, you can polish and restore it to its natural shine, So too, if we haven’t taken the greatest care of our bodies, we can reevaluate and begin to make the proper choices to get ourselves to thrive .