Thinking Yourself Thin

Eating better begins in your head. Follow these 4 steps to change your relationship to food.

Thinking Yourself Thin

Many of us go on a diet this time of year, but few lose weight. Studies show dieting only has a 5 to 9% success rate. For the rest of us, restricting what we eat slows our metabolism and leads us to binge down the road (a recipe for weight gain and the #1 diet mistake.) Instead, experts say the key to maintaining a healthy weight is to change how we think about food.

One way people successfully do so is with hypnosis. Though scientists don't understand exactly how it works, it seems that hypnosis brings your brain into a trance-like state in which you tune out the outside world (much like when you're reading a book or watching a movie). In that state, you're highly suggestible. Your conscious mind (the part that likes to over-think things) shuts off, and your subconscious, the part responsible for impulse and imagination, takes over. Hypnotists take advantage of your open mind, and train your brain to follow different impulses, changing your eating behavior from the inside out.

The goal of weight loss hypnotists is to make healthy eating a natural instinct (replacing that familiar compulsion to eat an entire bag of chips). Below are the 4 main ways they retrain your brain. The good news is that you don't have to be hypnotized to make them a part of your routine. Just start today, and, with repetition and practice, you can change your relationship to food.

Eat When You're Hungry

It may seem counterproductive, but eating when you're hungry gives your metabolism consistent work. When you skip meals or ignore hunger pangs, your body assumes a famine is coming and slows down to conserve every calorie. So the next time you do eat, your body burns up fewer of the calories you take in and begins to store fat for the tough times ahead. Instead, listen to your body. When it is legitimately asking for food (as opposed to just looking for something to do), give it some fuel. You're letting your body know that there will always be enough and there's no need to panic.

Eat What You Want

Here's another rule that sounds like a healthy eating taboo. But making food forbidden only makes it more tempting. If you have a particular craving, satisfy it. Of course, this doesn't mean that you can eat whatever you want, in whatever quantity, whenever you want it. Practice good eating habits and portion control - but if you're craving mac 'n cheese - there's no hard, fast rule saying you can't have any. However, try updating your recipe for a healthier, and still tasty alternative, like the Kitchen Diva's Mac 'n Cheese.

Eat Consciously

Research shows that eating food in front of the TV leads you to overeat. The same goes for being on your computer, listening to the radio, or reading a magazine. Instead, focus on the food and the process of eating it. Studies have shown that when people slow their eating speed, put their fork and knife down, and chew each bite about 20 times, they eat significantly less. Being aware of how you eat and taking your time will help you enjoy food more, digest better, and eat less.

Stop When You're Full           

Shoveling bites of pecan pie into our mouths floods our brain with happy chemicals that override the signal from our stomach that says we are full. By eating slower, you will be able to receive the message. Listen to it.

4 Steps to Shedding Your Pandemic Pounds

Forgive yourself, and start walking toward a healthier you.

For those of you who have put on the Pandemic Pounds or added several new COVID Curves, you are not alone. Alarmingly, the American Psychological Association has recently published that almost half of all adults in their survey now have a larger physique. In fact, 42% of people reported gaining roughly 15 pounds (the average published was surprisingly 29 pounds but that included outliers) over the past year. Interestingly, 20% of adults in this survey lost about 12 pounds (I am surely not in this group). Clearly, there is a relationship between stress and weight change. In addition, one in four adults disclosed an increase in alcohol consumption, and 67% of participants distressingly revealed that they have new sleeping patterns.

This past year has brought about what has been called the 'new normal.' Social isolation and inactivity due to quarantining and remote working have sadly contributed to the decline in many people's mental and physical health, as demonstrated by the widespread changes in people's weight, alcohol consumption, and sleeping patterns. Gym closures, frequent ordering of unhealthy takeout, and increased time at home cooking and devouring comfort foods have had a perceptible impact. In addition, many people have delayed routine medical care and screening tests over fear of contracting Covid-19 during these visits. Unfortunately, the 'new normal' has now placed too many people at risk for serious health consequences, including heart attacks and strokes.

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