So many of us struggle with some sort of weight problem. Maybe you lost weight and you’re finding it hard to maintain your new weight? Or maybe you’re finding it hard to lose, and each time you try it gets harder?
When we’re dieting, we often miss the link between why we are eating, and when. For example, we might eat on a fixed time schedule, or when we’re stressed, or even just when we’re bored. It doesn’t matter what type of food you are thinking about or craving, if you are not truly hungry then eating it can never totally satisfy you.
I believe that when we focus on something, we give it more attention, and when we do, we get more of it. Think for example if you have your mind set on buying something, suddenly you start seeing it everywhere. Similarly, if you focus on your diet, you will see food all around you.
But maybe there’s an easy way to change this, just by becoming a little more mindful of your actions. I would like to invite you to a seven-day mental diet challenge!
Step 1 — Eat only at the table.
How often are you eating while doing something else, and you finish your food before you even realize it? For these 7 days try eating only at the table. Don’t be surprised if this tiny little change can have a big effect on your eating habits.
Step 2 — Eat only when you are hungry.
Does this sound scary? If yes, why? Maybe people around you have told you that you shouldn’t let yourself get hungry? Now I’m not talking about starving yourself, just about listening to your body and only feeding it when it tells you it needs food. So often we eat just because our friends or family are eating, and we want to share the moment with them. Or we see somewhere selling food that looks so good, we buy it and eat it right away. Instead, ask yourself if you’re hungry — and if you are not, don’t eat. This habit can help you trust yourself more when you’re around food, and improve your self-control.
Step 3 — Silent eating.
This is a huge one! And probably the most challenging. Think about this: how many times did you go to a restaurant on your own, just because you were hungry, and sit down to eat in silence? Without touching your phone? I’m guessing you never did! Try eating at least one meal every day in silence, and focusing just on eating.
You will be amazed at how much slower you eat, and how much more you really taste the food. It doesn’t matter how much you can multitask, you can only really pay total attention to one thing at a time.
Step 4 — Be grateful before your meal.
Simple, but effective. This may help you slow down your eating process and bring awareness to that moment. You can be grateful for anything — maybe just that you have food to nourish you, or the senses to see, smell and taste it. Just whatever you would like to be grateful for. Gratefulness brings joy and happiness, and makes you feel good.
That’s it — these 4 simple steps, carried out for just one week, can make a big difference!
The 7-Day Mental Diet is not about controlling your actions, it’s just to try and help you pause for a moment. Most of us live such a high speed life, learning to slow down at least when we’re eating can make a big change over time.
Everything you do leads to one question — what is your real purpose for wanting to be healthy?
Don’t forget, this is just a start to help you make a small change. Changing small habits can take a month, bigger changes can take six months, but everything starts with just one thing at a time. Take one step then let me know what changes for you after seven days — how did it affect you, mentally and physically? I am excited to hear your story!
Ayda Ersoy is a nutrition and fitness director at The Diet Doc Hawaii. She can be reached at DietDocHawaii.com, Ayda@DietDocHawaii.com or (808) 276-6892