By Sarah Weaver, Cheltenham-based Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist
In theory it’s a really simple formula isn’t it, ‘eat less-exercise more’… Yet millions of people in the world are obese. So why then are so many people fighting an ongoing battle with their weight? Here are 5 important factors:
“If you believe you CAN’T-you WON’T… if you believe you CAN- you WILL!”
BELIEF is one of the main reasons why people find it so hard to lose weight and keep it off- because they feel powerless to their eating and simply don’t believe they have that control within them. It’s a bit like hitting a brick wall- where do you go from there? It’s like a dead-end with your thoughts; people stop putting the effort in when they feel utterly powerless. Unfortunately every time you try unsuccessfully to lose weight, you are reinforcing this sense of powerlessness.
TAKE ACTION! Realise that the power and control can only ever come from YOU! Food has no power over you; it may seem so impossible at times, but it all boils down to YOU taking control. You need to BELIEVE and KNOW that you have that ability within you instead of hitting that ‘brick wall’.
Battle of the mind
It’s actually less a battle with your weight and more a battle with your mind. But if you are feeling so powerless over your eating, there is no room for this; it’s already a foregone conclusion- ‘I can’t do it’ or ‘I have no willpower’.
TAKE ACTION! Willpower is essentially ‘power over your thoughts’, so remember, that power can only ever come from YOU! So have faith in yourself and make a determined effort to challenge your thoughts, your belief in your ability and tune out of that devil on your shoulder!
Wanting to feel good NOW
Overeating is an orally compulsive habit and very much driven by a strong urge to satisfy yourself right now, regardless of the consequences. People who overeat respond too quickly to this urge and feel unable to defer the pleasure.
TAKE ACTION! Get into the habit of thinking more, which is often what compulsive eaters fail to do. As you approach the biscuit tin, ask yourself what the consequences of those custard creams will be; remind yourself what a brief pleasure they are and of all those excess calories! Remind yourself of your weight loss goal and how happy and healthy you will feel when you get there, to help spur you on.
Habit and Triggers
Eating behaviour is very closely tied to specific emotional and psychological triggers and many people lack insight into theirs. So what are yours? Are you boredom or stress eating? Are you eating to reward yourself after a long day? Are you eating to relax in front of the TV? Such eating habits become strongly ingrained.
TAKE ACTION! Recognise what your triggers are and when and why you overeat; a diary could help you do this. For your main triggers, try to replace the food with an alternative behaviour. For example if stress is a biggie for you, make a new habit such as listening to calming music on your iPod, to replace the old, automatic response of reaching for food. It may seem like hard work at first, but you’ll surprise yourself at how quickly you can cement these new habits in!
ALL OR NOTHING
This is a common thinking style with many overeaters and makes them very rigid in their expectations upon themselves, of either ‘succeeding’ or ‘failing’; there’s no middle ground. Such people are likely to go hell for leather with a diet or exercise plan and achieve good weight loss results, but then a slight blip occurs such as a momentary lack of willpower…and that’s it, they’ve ‘failed’, so all efforts are abandoned and once again they are back to feeling powerless.
TAKE ACTION! Don’t be hard on yourself if you have a ‘blip’ or an off day. It’s ok to sometimes put less effort in or to give yourself a day or two off the exercise routine. It doesn’t have to be ‘all or nothing’, learn to tolerate the blips or days where you are too tired and draw a line under them and start afresh the next day. Don’t ever let yourself feel defeated.
Losing weight certainly isn’t easy; if it was then the whole world would be thin! But rest assured that it really isn’t the big deal that many people think and that support is out there. If diets aren’t working for you, maybe it’s time to try a new approach?
If you would like to find out more about my innovative and effective weight loss programmes, book your FREE consultation with Sarah Weaver Therapies.