Sounds Too Good to Be True, Right? It’s Not. In fact, eating whatever we want without gaining weight is as simple as adjusting the way we think about food. Do the eating habits we’ve been learning since infancy still work for us? Are long-held ideas about food relevant to how we live in the 21st century? (Hint: Most are in serious need of revision). Here are ways to enjoy eating without feeling like you’re 10 pounds of sausage in a 5-pound bag.
The science is in: Diets don’t work. They don’t work because they’re not sustainable. They’re not sustainable because denying ourselves enjoyable things is a recipe for unhappiness. So do yourself a favor and get diets out of your head forever. If your goal is to lose weight and keep it off, or you just want to be a healthier version of yourself, make a permanent lifestyle change instead. The next tips should enable you to swear off diets at no expense to your health and fitness.
Eat when you’re hungry
Wouldn’t it be cool if there were an app that told you when you’d consumed food energy roughly equal to the amount of energy you expend? There is! It’s pre-installed in your body, and it’s called hunger. Hunger works by telling you to eat. Simply nourish your body by eating when you feel the hunger notification before you get ravenous. Waiting until you’re extremely hungry may lead you to overeat.
Slow down the rate at which you eat
Okay, so that app we just mentioned is a little buggy. Specifically, it doesn’t function well when food is ingested too rapidly. The signal isn’t received by the brain in time, and you end up taking more energy that’s out of whack with what your body needs. Until that software is updated — and it hasn’t been for millennia, mind you — there is a workaround: Slow your roll. One method is to divide what’s on your plate in two. Eat half. If you’re still hungry 20 minutes later, come back and eat another half of what’s on your plate. You may find that you’re already sated, however.
Stop eating when you’re full
Once you’ve committed to eating only when you’re hungry — and eating more slowly to give yourself a chance of knowing when you’re hungry — get in touch with the feeling that tells you to stop. How often have you continued shoving food in your mouth despite having had to unbutton your pants?
Drop the labels
Superfoods, perfect proteins, empty calories, junk food. You’ve already decided which of these categories of foods are good and which are bad, right? Well, stop thinking in those binary terms. And definitely stop thinking about your behavior as being good or bad. Goats eat anything and everything until they are full. They don’t make a decision about good and bad, and neither should you.
Make eating an event
Eating should be an enjoyable experience. It should be entered into mindfully, not when your attention is being courted by something else. So make mealtimes special. Set the table, light a candle, think about the journey this food has taken to you, value quality over quantity, savor the flavors and textures. You’ll enjoy food more, and you’ll like that enjoying the food you love isn’t disastrous for how you look naked.
Do not eat your feelings
Food makes us happy. It’s supposed to. It’s how our ancestors didn’t starve to death on the savannah, and it’s a big part of why we have taste buds. That said, eating shouldn’t be the sole source of comfort. If you think that’s why you eat more than you need, do some things that bring you joy. Take a hot shower, watch your favorite TV, have a sexy evening with your wife or girlfriend.
Respect Your Body
Don’t shoot your paunch menacing looks or curse yourself for loving pizza as much as you do. View your chubby parts as a cache of energy that’s experienced more deposits than withdrawals lately. Accept and respect your body as it is now, while you’re shifting your relationship with food, and observe how it changes.
Exercise for your health
The bad news is that food input probably plays at least as big a role in our body weight as exercise. But don’t get it twisted: making exercise part of your daily routine will give you a lot more leeway in terms of eating the things you love. A word to the wise: Don’t exercise just to burn calories; it’ll become boring. Hit the gym for health and energy, not to earn the right to eat “bad food.”
Learn from your food
Once you start realizing how food actually tastes and how your body feels when you eat, you’ll also start noticing that some foods make you feel better than others.
Keep a food diary to help you make the connection between what you eat and how you feel. This cause-and-effect exercise ought to mark the point when old habits become easier to change. Now make sure you’re living life to the absolute fullest: Start checking off these 🙂 🙂