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Food and you – how do you know it’s time to re-establish your relationship?

How many times in the last week have you made yourself feel bad about a food choice, regardless of what it was? Do you find yourself trying to justify what you’re eating to other people or feel ashamed of what you’ve ordered when going out with friends?

When it comes to recognising a bad relationship, it can be hard to see it when you’re the one stuck in it. Particularly with food, it can be even harder to know when it’s time to seek help or support.

Here are a few signs that your relationship with food needs attention:

  1. Denying yourself the foods you crave

You tell yourself that you can’t give into your cravings, so you end up having something that’s not satisfying and still feel bad.

  1. Punishing yourself for giving in

If and when you break the rules and go over your calorie limit or eat something you tell yourself you’re not allowed to, do you make yourself feel bad and carry the guilt around with you for the next few days?

  1. Feeling as though you have no self-control

Another sign of an unhealthy relationship with food is a feeling of no self-control when it comes to food in general or specific foods, like sugary snacks.

  1. Cutting out entire food groups

Drastic diets; cutting out all carbs, or all fats.  Convincing yourself that you mustn’t eat certain foods.

  1. Emotional eating

Bad day? It’s never a good sign when sugary treats become your best friend on days when you’re feeling down, stressed or even happy.

  1. Food is all you think about

You’re constantly thinking about your next meal; what you can and can’t eat; what you should and shouldn’t buy; what to order for lunch. It never leaves your mind!

  1. Much of the same

Trying new foods are not your thing, or you just don’t want to allow yourself any room to cheat on a very strict diet. Either way, both are signs you need to re-think your relationship with food.

  1. You prefer to eat alone

Eating with other people makes you feel uneasy because you think that they’ll be judging what’s on your plate; how much or how little, how healthy or unhealthy you eat.

Dealing with unhealthy eating habits is difficult on your own. To find out how to change your mindset and kick start a healthier relationship with food, contact us to book your free initial consultation.

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Escape the ‘overly restrictive rules’

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to a healthy relationship with food, is the food rules trap. Unless you have allergies or intolerances to certain foods, an overly restrictive attitude can set you up for failure.  This is especially true over the holiday period when food forms such a big part of many social gatherings.

Do you find yourself using words like “should”, “have to”, “always” or “never” in relation to food and exercise? Talking in absolutes like this can add additional stress especially when you evaluate yourself against unrealistic benchmarks.

Did you know that only 10% of your mind represents your conscious mind? That is where you reason and make decisions, it’s where your willpower is stored. The other 90% represents your subconscious mind. This is your auto function and the area that makes you breathe, manages your body and your emotions. This is where your beliefs, automatic responses and habits reside, as well as your primitive ‘fight or flight’ response.

Many of our beliefs are formed in our early years from what we see, hear and experience. As a child, you are ‘programmed’ for your adult years during the developmental phase, and it is this subconscious ‘programming’ that will run 95 % of your adult life. So, if your subconscious mind has been taught ‘eating is comfort’ or ‘I can’t exercise’, that is what 90% of your mind will steer you to do. The conscious 10% that does not hold that believe (your willpower) must contend with the 90% and it becomes a tug of war.

To escape the ‘overly restrictive rules’ trap, you must first change your mindset. A behavioural counsellor can assist you by:

  • Identifying your personal diet traps

During this phase you need to identify those personal stumbling blocks that hold you back. Are you an emotional eater? Is it hard to say ‘no’ in social or family situations? Do you travel a lot for work; or are weekends and holidays your personal pitfall?  Are you self-critical or an ‘all or nothing’ thinker?

The focus is on identifying your reasons for being overweight, for “emotional eating”, and not caring for yourself or making yourself a priority in your life. You need to look at all the aspects of weight loss – diet and exercise, as well as the emotional issues, fears, beliefs and a life script that might be getting in the way of helping you achieve your goals.

  • Overcoming barriers

It’s important to recognise the difference between the physical feeling of being hungry as opposed to emotional hunger. You also need to develop strategies to overcome the typical stress traps – life is too busy to make time to prepare healthy meals; using food to relax after a hectic day; or having overly restrictive rules about food.

  • Tools for success

There are cognitive strategies that you can use to change your mindset; psychological strategies that help you deal with emotional eating and stress; behavioural strategies that encourage the formation of new healthy eating and exercise habits; and problem-solving strategies that give you the tools to conquer the daily diet challenges that everyday life throws at you.

If you’re struggling with ‘unreasonable rules’, contact us to find out how we can help you.

 

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Mindset reset – 5 tips for staying on track during the holidays

If you’ve worked hard all year on your healthy eating and exercise plan, only to be confronted by tables laden with festive treats in December and January, we have some tips to avoid some of the mindset traps that can be self-sabotaging:

Tip 1: ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ mindset

Just because it’s holidays, doesn’t mean it’s a free for all.

Tip 2: Overly restrictive rules

You will really struggle over the festive season if you have imposed overly restrictive food rules on yourself. You can’t and shouldn’t avoid the socialising that accompanies the holidays, so develop a realistic plan for coping with eating out. This may involve smaller portions or food substitutes or even offering to bring a plate.

Tip 3: All or nothing thinking

Just because you might have slipped up and indulged a bit too much, that doesn’t mean all is lost. Pick yourself up and remember why you want to make changes in your life.

Tip 4: Getting your moneys worth

Buffets can be one of the biggest traps for the ‘get your money’s worth’ mindset. Plan beforehand and repeat your positive affirmations about why you want to develop a healthy relationship with food.

Tip 5: Start on Monday

How many times have you said that? Speak to one of the Brand New Mindset counsellors, we equip you with the cognitive strategies to change your mindset; psychological strategies that help you deal with emotional eating and stress; behavioural strategies that encourage the formation of new healthy eating and exercise habits; and problem solving strategies that give you the tools to conquer the daily diet challenges that everyday life throws at you.

One of the most common misconceptions about dieting is that all you have to do is eat less and move more. Unfortunately, if it was that simple we would not be facing an obesity epidemic. You also have to change the way you think.  Speak to a Brand New Mindset counsellor today about our concise, practical program that will help you keep on track during the holidays.

 

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3 strategies to develop a healthy eating mindset

One of the most common misconceptions about achieving a healthy body weight is that you just have to eat less and move more. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, you also have to change the way you think.

Below are 3 tips to change your mindset:

  1. Identify your personal diet traps

Identify those personal stumbling blocks that hold you back. Are you an emotional eater? Is it hard to say ‘no’ in social or family situations? Do you travel a lot for work; or are weekends and holidays your personal pitfall?  Are you self-critical or an ‘all or nothing’ thinker?

What are your reasons for being overweight, for “emotional eating”, and not making yourself a priority in your life? You need to understand all the aspects of weight loss, not just diet and exercise. There are also the emotional issues, fears, beliefs and a life script that might be getting in the way of achieving a healthy weight.

  1. Put in place steps to overcome barriers

Can you tell the difference between the physical feeling of being hungry, rather than emotional hunger? Physical hunger comes on gradually. You can wait awhile before eating and a variety of foods sound good. You also stop when full and don’t feel bad about yourself when you’ve eaten. In contrast, emotional hunger comes on suddenly and you crave specific comfort foods that leave you feeling bad about yourself once you’ve eaten. You can also keep eating long after your stomach is full.  It’s important to understand your particular stress traps that trigger emotional eating. If you use food to relax after a hectic day; then one strategy would be to prepare some healthier options in advance; or you could schedule some time to unwind or do something nice for yourself before you start your evening routine.

  1. Develop a success mindset

Changing behaviour and habits requires you to change your mindset. A therapist can equip you with (i) the cognitive strategies to change your mindset; (ii) provide you with the psychological strategies to help you deal with emotional eating and stress;  (iii) the behavioural strategies that encourage the formation of new healthy eating and exercise habits; and (iv) the problem solving strategies that give you the tools to conquer the daily diet challenges that everyday life throws at you.

It’s important to have the skills you need to lose weight and keep it off.

 

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