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July 09, 2013
It's time to get REAL: Realistic Eating Approach for the Long Term
The problem with diets is that they don’t teach us how to eat and live after we have lost the weight. Anyone can lose weight, but keeping it off is a challenge and takes real skill. And if we’re emotional eaters, diets don’t teach us how to deal with our feelings and the ups and downs of life. Diets are something we go off of and then where are we? Soon, right back in the same place! After years of going on and off diets, many of us are ready to face the truth: diets don’t work!
What we really need is a way of eating and living that we can sustain for the long term. Grand gestures aren’t needed. We need to cut back our food intake gradually, move more, and learn better coping skills so that we don’t turn to food to manage our stress and emotions. We need to figure out what needs are being met by our overeating and find healthier ways to meet those needs. For some, being overweight and overeating often has hidden payoffs, like keeping us safe from taking risks, so we must be willing to move forward in our lives if we are going to let go of our overeating behavior.
If we create a plan that is realistic and doable, we are more likely to sustain it, and then we can successfully maintain the weight loss that will result from it. This is a plan for living life, not a plan for dieting!
We need to be patient and take the long view, as this sort of weight loss will not happen as quickly as with a fad or extreme diet. But the results will more likely be permanent, as we are learning a new way of living that we can sustain for the rest of our lives.
Want to know what a healthy eating plan, plate and portions look like? I recommend Harvard Medical School’s Healthy Plate vs. the USDA’s MyPlate. To see a comparison of the two click here: Healthy Plate Guidelines. This visual is great to use when eating out and figuring out portion sizes. Use an 8 inch standard plate when figuring out portions sizes.
Many plates are now 12 inches or larger. Remember, portion sizes and calories do count when trying to lose weight. It’s a good idea to familiarize ourselves with what normal portion sizes of different foods look like. In our supersized world, we begin to think its ok to eat huge amounts of food and then we wonder why we are gaining or why we can’t lose weight.
Also, for those who are practicing mindfulness to lose weight, I’d like to address some common problems that people encounter. Mindfulness does not mean eating whatever we want, whenever we want it, in the amounts we want. People who think this way are often black and white thinkers who find themselves using mindful eating as a license to overeat! It’s important not to deprive ourselves and eat what we really want, but in the context of a balanced diet, and within certain limits.
To lose weight, we must still be mindful of HOW MUCH we’re eating. Calories do count! The formula for weight loss will always be: more calories expended than consumed. We do have to get real. We can’t lose weight by eating rich, fatty foods and/or desserts every day! Well, actually we could, if we ate those foods and kept them within our daily calorie requirements, but that would be a very unhealthy diet and most of us wouldn't feel well eating that way.
A balanced diet is one that follows the 80:20 ratio: 80% is devoted to healthy food and 20% is devoted to splurges, holidays and celebrations. Some people like to give themselves a treat day once a week and others like a small, daily treat that’s around 100-150 calories.
If you have problems with knowing when you are full, you may still be overeating, not losing weight, or even gaining. Some people just don’t have that great of a mind/body connection; no matter how hard they try; they can’t get in touch with their feelings of hunger and/or fullness.
For these people to be successful at losing weight, it’s best that they practice portion control. They can still be more mindful about slowing down and enjoying their food, but they need to practice setting limits around food and having more structured and portioned meals to be successful. After a while, the body will get used to the smaller amounts of food and the feelings of hunger, satiation and fullness may return again.
If you are trying to lose weight and find you are not losing weight and/or gaining, I’d recommend checking out what your calorie requirements are for your height, weight, age and activity level, and then tracking what you eat for a week or two, so you can get a real clear picture of how many calories you’re consuming. Our minds have a wonderful capacity to deceive us. This can be a real eye-opener and bust through any denial you have going on about how much you’re truly eating or how much you need to eat to maintain or lose weight!
Feast for the Eyes - Photo by Catherine L. Taylor
I approach my weight loss and health goals with the long term in mind.
I eat only when I’m truly hungry.
I eat only what I need.
I eat until I’m full.
I follow a sensible eating plan.
If I can’t sustain it, I can’t maintain it!
My body craves healthy foods.
Is emotional eating keeping you from losing weight and living the life you want? Are you ready to get off the diet rollercoaster and master your weight and your life?
If so, you may be a candidate for coaching. Coaching can make the difference between success and failure.
I have found that people who struggle with food and emotional eating are released from that prison once they learn the skills of mindful awareness and mindful eating, emotional self-nurturing, developing a spiritual or meditation practice, and learning to set appropriate limits and goals.
This turns off the urge to overeat and engage in other compulsive behaviors. When you feel better, you eat better! I have walked this path myself, and it has led me to peace and freedom.
The goal of my coaching is to create a lighter, balanced, healthier, nourishing and joy-filled life. You will begin to see results in all areas of your life because How You do Food is How You do Life!®
I coach and mentor people in the areas of: permanent weight loss, food addiction, compulsive, emotional overeating, binge eating recovery, creative self expression, spiritual direction, mindfulness, meditation, self care and stress management, self esteem and body image issues.
Note: My work is spiritually focused, not religious, and fits with any belief system you may have, even agnostic. My work assumes that you have all the wisdom and answers you need inside of you.
What you call this place -- God, intuition, Higher Power, inner wisdom, or true self -- is up to you. I am simply a guide bringing you back to the truths that are already inside of you.
I hope you have enjoyed my newsletter. Drop me a line and let me know how you are doing. I love to hear what's working for you and read about your success stories.
Catherine L. Taylor
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©2013 Catherine L. Taylor. All rights reserved. No portion of this newsletter may be reprinted in any form without express permission from the author.
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