Are you driven by food cravings, carb cravings that have taken over? Getting rid of them makes a huge difference to getting a more successful weight change, more quickly. Especially as wonky eating habits get embedded so quickly and changing those changes your energy around so much else besides, and weirdly:
what you crave – how you eat – what you eat
isn’t the underpinning issue with weight gain
Changing the taste buds
Changing cravings changes how you react around certain foods, snacks, fast food, you know all the usual-suspects, the guilty pleasures. You only have to imagine how you are around the buffet table at a special event, the awkwardness that builds around what you’re allowed this week, how you’ll pay for that, what you’ll have to deny yourself instead. These internal wranglings are not useful for you or for those around who you may even feel judged by, who are likely more concerned for how it’s making you feel about yourself.
Here’s the thing, most of us labour under the illusion that food choices are what keeps us overweight when overeating tends to be a symptom – of the issue – rather than the cause. Yes you read it right, overeating is a symptom rather than the cause of weight issues.
It’s true that changing how you eat will help you find your desired body shape, but that’s because normalising your eating will bring you back into a balanced weight and the body you’ve wanted for however how long it’s been. But using approaches that turn out to be this weeks fad or last weeks flavour, that blame you when you fail are not helpful, they’re not even being honest. Although dieting is a distraction they can work against you in the long-run. Do you ever find yourself saying things like:
I’m hopeless at dieting
I can’t lose weight
They work for other people but not for me
If you have been saying these, and similar, they only serve as a put-down and that’s not helping anyone. It transpires that dieting doesn’t work for everyone, in fact the large UCLA research study published in 2007 announced that for 75% of people diets are the best way to put weight on. And yes that means that diets work for about a quarter of us, so how do you know which demographic you’re part of.
It’s simple really
* if you yoyo-diet and struggle to maintain the results *
then you fall into the camp that dieting has failed
Years ago before I knew what I know now a friend was so keen to shed some pounds in order to attend her daughter’s wedding – overseas – by looking her best that she developed some dogged determination and the weight stayed off. The biggest difference came about by how good she felt in her slimmer self and she maintained it by remaining vigilant once she reached her weight-loss target and fully broke those old overeating food associations.
It’s dependent on how much the pattern was established subconsciously, how much resistance is at play to maintain the new lifestyle and other variables. Weight gain becomes more complex as we age especially when hormonal issues kick in, like perimenopausal symptoms leading to the menopause, and acquiring more health conditions, then we need to get onboard with ourselves more than ever.
It doesn’t always last especially when an emotional trigger up-heaves you and you fall off the wagon going back into those old all too familiar patterns, which feel comfortable, warm and cuddly temporarily and then it’s business as usual, and back to feeling crappy about undoing ALL your good work.
What causes weight gain?
Fluctuating weight is caused stress, which doesn’t surprise you does it? But knowing how stress behaves in the body is likely less well-known to you. We all display patterns of behaviour, what you have to ask yourself is whether any you have are doing the best by you, or would you benefit in tweaking some stuff?
In terms of weight, eating and food, if you decide you want to change some shit up then making long-term lifestyle changes is the way to go. If you’re in the 75% of people group, that diets unintentionally help gain weight, then you better start using some better strategies.
And frankly my friend that’s what I help with, I know how the cheeky shenanigans that stress is plays out and have some pretty fab methods for breaking it’s hold. I looked for the longest time for my own solutions to help with my cravings and what triggered them in the first place, and have a plethora of tools at my disposal.
Also listen to what you’re telling yourself. You may or may not be aware of it but your subconscious mind is always listening to whatever you programme it with, whether that’s what you tell yourself about – your weight | your eating | your food choices | your body confidence | and the rest – is what your mind and outer experience delivers time and again. You’ve probably heard this one before:
You get more of what you focus on!
Which translates as, if you keep telling yourself how hopeless you are when it comes to losing weight, then guess what you’ll be hopeless, you may even put on more over time.
I know this one from my own experience! And not finding out anything other than the diet industry diktats until I had reached menopause didn’t help either.
If you crave food you might find that your cravings move around, from one food to another (even the naturally sourced variety) and this happens for a number of reasons:
Hormones: At certain times of the month / life / health
New habits: Which form more easily because food is the place you turn to for comfort
Associations: Foods you ate that re-visit a moment in time you shared with others, even television
Cultural links: As part of an event or celebration
Other people’s expectations: The accepted norm in your circles
Family patterns: What you learned growing up
If we look at the last point, how were you treated growing up, were their different rules for the girls vs the boys? As a teenager I was resentful of how well-favoured my brother was, but years later when we compared notes he had a very different perception and he felt similarly around other stuff. Which equally demonstrates how a shared experience doesn’t necessarily mean the same experience in itself, i.e. you can have the same experience, on paper but experience it very differently internally.
As a parent
I’m not a parent, I have the experience of being a child who lost a parent quite early (at 13) which brings about a different set of challenges, at which point your life changes quite dramatically, and was where many of the challenging behaviours I had stemmed from.
As a parent have you unknowingly inherited any unwanted methods of parenting from your parents, do you sometimes feel surprised when you hear yourself saying the exact words, using the exact tone that was used on you, while momentarily remembering how uncomfortable those words felt?
Because we often continue the patterns that we were raised by, and as parenting doesn’t come with a manual, there are as many parenting styles as there are parents. Just because it was said to us and we’re now repeating it, doesn’t make it right or wrong!
But when a moment like that arises it’s a good idea to take stock, become aware and make a note to decide if it’s a useful pattern to continue using with your family.
Have you become an alien to your kids?
It’s something you can look at. For example if your children struggle in an area of their life, can you assist them in finding their own solutions, rather than telling them to do x, y, and z? This can be hugely challenging for a parent, and teaching your kids to take responsibility from the outset by using a hands-off supportive approach is time consuming but it pays off massively later.
The downside is that the later you start the harder it can be, and most parenting doesn’t introduce the idea of taking ownership through cause-and-action until the kids are adolescent, by which time their hormones are raging and the last thing they need is an unrecognisable system at home.
Raising children can be likened to making a Christmas cake (please excuse the frippery) but you toil away adding the required ingredients at the right time in the process adhering to what might be considered a rigid recipe but it was handed down so you do it, no manual remember. And finally the proof of the pudding is whatever turns out of the tin on the big day, but with kids it’s a long old cooking time and knowing what feels right can mean turning your back on worn, outdated, systems.
What’s your family history?
If you take a moment to consider your own history there are probably examples you can think of where your parents asked something of you they would not have asked of your opposite-sex siblings? Are you continuing with similar pattern simply because you’ve not questioned them? Have you gone entirely the other way just because you rebelled?
This isn’t meant to have you running to food for cover as the cravings rear their sexist heads, and we’re not beating anyone here, no matter how angry or passive aggressive your behaviour has become for you with others or you with yourself.
It is what it is, and it’s better out than in, because where family patterns have resulted in unhelpful patterns with food, types of relationships and behaviours, it’s wise to look closer to home for the insights.
No-one wittingly set out to lay those patterns on you, everyone in your life was doing the best they could with what they knew at the time.
For today let me leave you with this TASK.
Decide beforehand that the next time you crave food you’re going to take a moment to think about it, stop yourself even if momentarily to sink into the feeling and see if you can discover what it reminds you of?
Track it back to where, when or how it started
Note any insights you have in your diary / journal
Then you have full permission to wade in
Because in my book denying yourself if worse than caving
You have to reach a place where you don’t cave to know you’re succeeding.
Step up to the plate
If you’re ready to ditch the emotional roller-coaster my approaches are guaranteed to bring about a very noticeable difference? Click through on the button below to explore having what you want instead. You can join the Crushing Cravings Programme starting soon or contact me for a chat to discuss that or another way of working together.
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