In the weight loss journey we have to see that our “bodies’ are both physical and non-physical. So if we want to lose weight, maintain our weight, and be our best, we have to focus on both sides. We can’t just focus on one and think we’re going to wing it on the other.
The emotional us, needs love and support and maybe some power. And who knows what else. If we give, give, give, give give all day, at some point we’re going to break and move toward the simple, easy fix that gives us a moment, just a moment, where we are taken care of. Food is such an easy target. How easy it is to satisfy that longing with just a morsel. How easy it is to reward ourselves for our effort, our hard work, our caring, with a tasty little treat, or two, or three, or four....
And our physical body demands it too. We need physical sustenance. We need energy. We need to fuel our bodies. And when we're busy or stressed, or desperately trying to lose weight, we may not fuel ourselves very well. We may not have enough protein, or fat, or fiber and it leaves our physical bodies wanting more.
When both the physical and emotional sides are neglected, boy we’re headed for trouble. Even with just one of those needs left unmet, our best intentions will simply not be enough. And then rather than making conscious, empowered, informed choices about what we eat, we fall captive to our whims.....
So, how do we care for ourselves and provide proper sustenance without falling into the habit of eating too much, or eating the wrong stuff. In other words, how do we take charge and escape our captor?
The first step is in wanting to escape.
This means wanting to have real power, not just the illusion of power. Mindless eating does not give us the power we think it does. It’s an illusion. Mindless eating can actually be a vicious trap. It keeps us bound to our captor.
The reward is being in charge, feeling empowered, and making decisions from a place of strength and confidence. The food does not provide that. The thought that the food provides that is an illusion. If you want it you have to recognize the illusion. AND IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT, YOU HAVE TO REALLY WANT IT...NOT JUST SAY YOU WANT IT. And then your reward will show up. But keep reading to find out how.....
The second step is to meet your needs.
For the physical body this means eating food that is both nutritious and delicious. We NEED both! No one is going to feel fulfilled and satisfied gnawing on some flavorless chicken breast and a pile of raw kale!
That doesn't mean you have to be perfect. What it means is being conscious, preparing good food, and enjoying every bite...whether it's a bite of a cookie or a bite of salmon.
For the emotional side, you have to make yourself a priority. To be healthy, YOU have to be the priority. Believe me, when you are taken care of you will be better at EVERYTHING you do! You will have more energy, more patience, and more mental clarity. In other words, you'll be more productive.
So stop making excuses about not having enough time to prepare some food, meditate, relax, and get some physical activity. If you have trouble with this, then I highly recommend shifting your focus from weight loss to time management and prioritizing what you want in life.
The third step is recognizing the true captor.
Do you ever feel that your body, whether it’s your mind or belly or some other unknown hormonal force, is directing you, essentially against your will, to go to the kitchen and munch on that food, almost like a zombie…?
That can leave you feeling helpless, and frankly hopeless and guilty.
THE CAPTOR IS NOT THE FOOD!
The captor is your mind. Yup. It's as simple as that.
As described so eloquently in "Brain Over Binge" by Kathryn Hansen and "Radical Recovery" by Jack Kelly, our brain has a lower side and a higher side. That mindless, driven feeling, pushing us to the kitchen or to the second helping of cake, is coming from our lower mind, our animal side. And our higher mind, our pre-fontal cortex CAN SAY NO.
It's sort of like there is some little guy in there calling the shots while we follow orders and eat that snack or that junk food, even though our intellect really is against the whole thing. That little guy is your lower brain, the part of your brain that is driven by instinct and habits.
Just think about it, how many times have you gone for seconds, eaten too many chips, or had a snack even when YOU DID NOT WANT TO? That part of you that didn't want to, the part that wants to be healthy, that is your pre-frontal cortex. And THAT guy is actually the one in charge, the one calling the shots, the one that can make a choice to NOT eat those foods.
If you just turn ON your higher brain and say, NO! You can beat this guy. Easily. Every time you feel a craving or urge to eat something your higher brain doesn't want you to eat, just say no. Luckily for us, the lower brain cannot control any motor actions. Your higher brain can choose to simply NOT take that action.
And the beautiful thing is that the less you act on those urges and cravings, the less power they have!