Cravings and Weight Loss Motivation
As mentioned, weight gain is often the result of over-eating. Craving and snacking play a big part in that. There are some interesting psychological aspect at play. It should be clarified at this point that it’s not so much about the fact that you may eat more or less (i.e. calories). It’s much more to do with your Insulin levels. Even if you eat less but you are constantly eating and thinking about food, that will prompt high Insulin in reaction.
Insulin drives sugar into fat cells which is why it’s called our “fat storing hormone”.
Clearly, we need to eat less, but more importantly, we need to eat less often. Let’s explore!
The Apple Hack
We often mistake cravings for food (or even cravings for something sweet) with thirst. Try this, the next time you are wondering in the house thinking what you can eat to quiet your tummy down until it’s time for dinner, stop and think. Would you eat an apple right now? Do you crave it?
If the answer is yes, then you’re likely dealing with a real craving. If the answer is no, you are more likely mistaking thirst for food craving which is very common.
Solution? Don’t be common. Have a drink of water and you will soon feel better.
One of the things that’s interesting about people who are over weight is the tendency to constantly think about food. If not food right here and right now, then wondering about what to have for lunch or dinner in a fairly obsessive way. It’s interesting to see that in most cases, attention to food is missing, which is why we constantly think about food. This comes down to mindful eating and this is HUGE.
Try the following:
- Don’t eat on the go, don’t eat and talk on the phone and never ever eat and watch TV. Always sit down for lunch / dinner and put your attention to the food. The truth is that TV, Phone or walking while eating are all big distractions. As we are less focused on eating, we often feel as though we need more food to get the same satisfaction
- Slow down your chewing (your mama was right!) and focus on the taste and texture of your food.
- Put the food down every once in a while and have a laugh or a drink of water. Constantly holding the cutlery or that wrap is not the way to become mindful. Slow the f**k down. 🙂
- If you are right handed, try eating with your left. The feeling it’s not natural makes you more mindful about each bite. It’s also good for motor control.
The Smell Hack
The stronger the smell, the smaller the bite. Ever notice how people who are busy cooking in the kitchen all day, have less appetite once they finally sit down to eat?
Eating and smelling are sensory experience but once we’ve had enough, we tend to want less. The idea is simple: Smell your food before you eat it.
Most of us grew up with “finish your plate, there are starving children in ___”. The truth is, food has been wasted as soon as it’s left the kitchen – regardless if you eat it or not. Making sure you lick your plate clean, will not make the starving any less starving, but if they knew about it they might get angry with you nonetheless.
Break this habit today and make sure you always leave something (even if it’s small) on your plate at the end. You must break the need to eat food just because there’s still some left on the plate / table.
Your Dinner Setup makes a difference
To help you with the Scarcity Mentality, it’s often recommended to use smaller plates. This does work (sometimes it makes us angry so it’s not always straight forward). A few more things you can tinker with are:
- Chopsticks, especially if you are bad with them. The sheer effort and inconvenience relative to a fork and a knife might mean you give up the fight for the last bits on your plate. Plus, you might learn a new life skill.
- As it turns out, blue is the least appetizing colour. Sprinkle a bit of blue around the table and see if it helps. Blue napkins, blue plates, blue food. Whatever you can find. If you’re a restaurant (or a host that like to fish for compliments) and you want people to eat more food – do the exact opposite.
Ever noticed that while most days you can stop thinking about food, it’s not always the case? Sometimes, when you are truly busy with something, time seems to fly and you don’t really think about food. Does that ring a bell?
That’s why it good to get a list of distractions in place, whether you’re going to do something useful or for leisure. Stuff like: grooming the dog, completing a few exercises, deep breathing, polish your nails, take a walk or call a good friend you often chat to. Make a list and have it at hand. Your biggest enemy when it comes to craving is boredom or activities that require constant stimulation.
Whatever dietary guidelines you follow (we have our recommended guidelines in the program), one thing is for sure – do not listen to your body.
The FACT is that our food choices are often not completely a product of logic. If you traditionally have been eating a lot of sugar, the make up of your gut microbiome would be suited to that. As sugar is inflammatory to the gut and will favour bad bugs, these bad bugs have direct communication channels to the brain. That means, bad bugs in your gut (the opposite of probiotics), communicate to your brain. Their communication might not be visible to you but it does affect your choices, this is something you need to override by following a solid plan. There are three things you should take into account:
Diet Day #1 – I removed all the fattening food from my house. It was delicious.
- Don’t trust yourself. If it’s in the cupboard, it will eventually get eaten. If you’re serious, get rid of sweets, junk food and anything that you don’t want to be regretting later.
- Make a shopping list and stick to it. When you list your choices, you are less likely to make bad choices impulsively and not be aware of the process. Even better, shop online with that list, that way temptations are not just a shelf away.
- Invest in your gut health. This is a subject on it’s own but changing your microbiome for the better has the potential to affect everything, including what sort of foods you crave.