Is this you? I get you! Because I love food too! I know many people who love food and are able to maintain their physique and not let their enjoyment of it get in the way. Food should be tasted, enjoyed and respected. So using this as an excuse to reaching your goals is invalid. To me anyways.
Now this is said with no judgement but to give a different perspective and to have your ask yourself what would change if you started to view food as a relationship. It actually is if you think about it. We either have a healthy or unhealthy relationship with food. We either respect it or we don’t. We are either aware of how it will effect us or we are not. We either view it with love and appreciation or with frustration or negativity.
We are so judgmental to our poor foods and they are either good or bad, or used with severe restriction or extreme indulgence. Food is a relationship and should be appreciated and not taken advantage of just like our human relationships.
So lets talk food judgements with The Bread Halo, a term I coined myself, which shows just how much conditional love and respect we give to food.
I see people avoiding healthier foods like potatoes, bananas, watermelon, and bread because of the higher sugar, carbs, etc and feel virtuous and strong for doing so, but then binging at night because they have been depriving themselves for too long. Instead of indulging in a slice or two of bread or a banana and peanut butter or a potato, they go all out and eat pizza, poptarts and ice cream sandwiches. They avoid these perceived “imperfect” foods all day but then eat foods that are way less healthy.
So why do we feel successful from staying away from bread (or other healthier foods) if it is going to lead to an all out indulgence in processed foods? My point being if you are starving at night or want something filling try eggs and toast, a peanut butter and banana, or find a protein you like and make a shake. These snacks are filling but only a few hundred calories and sure beat 500-700 easy calories of lower quality foods. I am not saying ice cream or pizza is bad, but how often can we stop at just a few bites or just a slice?
So what can you?
Break the habit. You must train yourself to break the habit before or while you are doing this which i know is ironically the hardest part. If your habit is to have something sweet after dinner, which leads to bowls of ice cream you need to find something to distract your mind and fill your time. I like to use this by a tool called Delaying Gratification which I read in the book The Willpower Instinct.
There is something about instant gratification that we thrive off of, thrive in a sense that it makes us feel good temporarily. We want something instantly. Studies actually show that the longer you wait for something, the less important it is to you. The longer you wait for something the easier it is to say no.
So how can you implement this with eating? The next time you are tempted by late night snacking, dessert, fast food, going back for seconds when you are stuffed, try this:
Wait 10 minutes. Create distance from the food by doing something else or just lay down and chill out for 10 minutes. If in 10 minutes you still want that particular food, you can have a few bites. Wait 10 minutes and have a few points. Practice this like you would practice anything else in life. When food becomes less about the immediate gratification it makes it easier to say no. Give this a try and see how it works for you. You might give in the first few times and that is fine, but once your train yourself to develop this habit you may find that what you are craving is not really what you want.
It is okay to be hungry. Because we are so use to having food the second we want it, it is like we are almost fearful of becoming hungry. But remember, eating is a blessing and a responsibility.
Our bodies will survive without eating every 6 hours or every 3 hours, it is just that we have conditioned our bodies to do so. Have you ever had a moment where you were starving and had no access to food? You went to your favorite restaurant starving and there was an hour and 30 minute wait? At first you probably anxiously fidgeted in your discomfort but once an hour passed you were ok. It was just getting pass that initial state of hunger. I like to practice with a 12 hour fast overnight. Meaning if I eat my last meal at 7 p.m., I will not eat my next meal until 7 a.m. This allows be to *practice* responsibility when it comes to food and not feeling like I have to eat just because the clock says so. If I wake up truly starving, I will of course eat.
Stop when it no longer tastes like a 10. I find this helpful when I am snacking or craving a sweet treat. I will indulge in a few bites and they usually tastes amazing but beyond that it is hard to tell if I am truly enjoying it, or it just eating mindlessly without really tasting the food.
Food is essentially about survival but also about social enjoyment. There just gets a point where we almost are greedy with it and instead of using if for the betterment of our lives we use it as a cover up for discomfort and not facing other issues, such as boredom, loneliness, or use it as an escape. It is not really that you just love food so much. It is that you love the escape it gives you.
Often times we commit to make a change but only until it becomes too uncomfortable. We commit to eating better and exercising more until we are faced with a situation where the exercise is really hard or food is too tempting and then we say screw it and give in because we do not want to face the discomfort. But remember eating has a lot to do with the attachment we give it. Without the attachment it is just fuel and information for our bodies. Stressful or not. Lunch time or not. Hungry or not. Wanting it or not. The cool thing is you get to decided what it gets to be.