It’s the New Year and you are thinking about losing weight. Thoughts of deprivation and starvation are coming to mind, and you are not looking forward to all the chicken and broccoli you are going to have to eat. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Extreme deprivation usually backfires, and you find yourself digging into a tub of ice cream by the third week of January. Instead, why not try a different approach to weight loss this year?
This new way of thinking about weight loss will require a bit of a mindset shift — moving you away from traditional “restrictive” methods. Instead, it will help you tune into your body’s natural hunger and satiety cues, allowing you to achieve more harmony with food and naturally reach a healthier weight.
Here’s how it works:
Get Rid of Black & White Thinking
When we start a new diet, we declare: “I will never eat a candy bar again!” Unfortunately, the more you try to control or avoid something, the more you want to rebel. Losing weight in a different way means getting off the binge/deprivation cycle. It is unrealistic to think you will never eat a certain food again, and it only sets you up for failure.
In order to make any sort of change, you must become aware of what you are eating. So many of us eat on the run, over the sink or munch mindlessly on snacks in front of the TV. Instead, start being aware and paying attention to every bite. Write it down if it helps you stay accountable and honest. This simple act can help you eat less.
Ask One Question
Now that you are aware of when and what you are eating, ask yourself one question before taking a bite: “Am I hungry?” Most of us don’t even consider whether we are hungry or not when we grab something to munch on. If the answer is “no,” then don’t eat it. If the answer is “yes,” then eat!
Being mindful is not just a matter of only eating when hungry; it also requires you to stop when you are satisfied but not stuffed. Many of us just keep eating until our food is gone, never considering if we are still hungry or not. Instead, eat just to the point of no longer being hungry, regardless of what might be left on your plate. To do this, avoid distractions while eating. Turn off the TV, don’t eat on the go or over the sink. Instead, sit down and enjoy your meal, savoring each bite.
Pay Attention After Eating
Pay attention to how you feel after meals. Are you bloated, lethargic, sleepy? How is your mood? How long does the food “stick” with you? Food should give you energy and make you feel satisfied. You should be hungry three to four hours after your last meal. If you are starving sooner, it may mean you didn’t eat enough calories, protein or fat. Try increasing these at your next meal. If you aren’t hungry for several hours, you may have eaten too much. Paying attention to how food makes us feel can help us identify which foods suit us best.
What Else Is Going On?
If you can’t seem to get a handle on your hunger, take a look at what else could be triggering you to overeat. Things that can cause overeating include unmanaged stress, lack of sleep, hormone imbalances, or nutrient deficiencies. Figure out what other aspects of your life might be impacting your choices around food and try to tackle those, too.
A mindful approach to weight loss will take a bit of practice and is not a “quick fix” diet. But if you truly learn to be mindful around food and listen to what your body needs, you will find that achieving a healthy weight doesn’t need to be stressful or require extreme deprivation. If you are practicing mindfulness around meals, your body will naturally gravitate toward choices to support your health and make you feel great, like our INVIGOR8 shake — full of good protein and healthy fats to keep you full and satisfied.
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