We were talking on our previous visit about the most difficult challenges you face along the fitness trail. From the comments and from what I know as a fitness instructor, most people struggle at some point in their life with their weight.
For many, it’s a constant struggle. I honestly haven’t had to struggle too much with my weight. As long as I ate really well and exercised, I seemed to stay stable.
But then I lost my job in March and my stress level went through the roof. I found myself ravenously hungry at night–I mean so hungry that I could not sleep until I ate something. The weight started to creep up. I felt completely out of control for the first time regarding my weight.
Since March, I’ve been eating incredibly well but weight that would slip off before, was now staying put!! For the first time in my life, I knew what other people felt like that struggled daily with their weight.
My sister, Erin, and I have been discussing this matter lately and decided we don’t want to struggle. We don’t want to be thinking about every morsel we put in our mouths (“is this going to go directly to my hips”). To not ‘jones’ for something sweet or salty. We want the joy of eating to nourish our bodies and that’s it. We want to think of food and move on.
This is a tall order for my sister since she’s a Type 1 diabetic, which means she has to constantly monitor what she eats. But is there a way to do it so it’s just another moment in life? Not “oh geez, if I eat this cinnamon bun I’m going to have to take 8 shots of insulin!”
I don’t know. That’s my answer. But I do have a couple of clues that helped me and might help you. AND maybe you have ideas that can help Erin and I on our quest!!
1. When things are normal, I think a healthy diet is the way to go all the time if I want to beat the cycle. That is, when I crave sugar in the form of a donut, firstly I need to understand that a craving doesn’t last. It will pass. Ignoring it could make it disappear. OR I could reach for a piece of fruit, which will make it pass quicker. Getting rid of refined sugars in my diet makes me feel better. But it needs to be always out of my diet to overcome the strong pull of sugar. And, of course, when I’m not filling myself with sugar and unhealthy carbs, I have room for eating whole grains, lots of veggies and lean proteins. When I do that, I don’t get hungry very often and I, therefore, don’t crave unhealthy foods.
2. When I’m stressed (ie not normal), I need to adjust. I was caught off guard. I had no idea that stress could affect my appetite so much. In the last month, I’ve focussed on releasing stress. This seems to be helping my weight come down AND I’m not focussed so much on food. If you’re overweight, it might not have anything to do with what you eat or how you exercise. The main culprit just might be stress.
I don’t know if these two things will make me never think of food again, but I know I’m not thinking of sweets much any more. I know when I eat a really healthy diet (all the food groups, 6 small meals a day), I’m not hungry. And, finally, I know that working on my stress level has alleviated some of the thoughts about food.
What strategies do you use to overcome food challenges, like cravings, overeating, night eating, etc.?
To Your Health!