She went on a strict diet and worked out at the gym every day, and did indeed lose 30 pounds in six months. But within two months, the weight was back on again.
Why did that happen? Well, it could be as simple as this — none of us want to ‘lose’ anything.
If we do, we attempt to find it again, and she did.
So perhaps a change in terminology might be helpful. From now on, let’s say: “I want to become slim, trim and healthy.”
People who are overweight tend to be out of control with their eating habits. That is to say, they are letting food control them.
Why is this? Often, we just eat “because it’s there” or snack between meals when we are not really hungry.
We eat to reward and to entertain ourselves. We eat ‘comfort food’ to compensate for an unpleasant experience or feeling.
But how long does the food really elevate one’s feeling? Perhaps it is only half-an-hour or so.
And after that half-hour of feeling good, how long do we feel guilty or annoyed with ourselves — hours? How long do we have to ‘wear’ the food? Months.
When we eat for emotional reasons — because we are bored, angry or frustrated — it has nothing to do with nourishing our bodies, it is placating our mind.
So how do we break this cycle? One way is to go to the root cause.
Address the feeling of boredom or anger and do something about it.
Another is to replace the emotional satisfaction that food provides, with an activity that serves the same purpose.
If you eat when bored, think of and engage in some other enjoyable activity instead.
It is not only sweet and unhealthy foods that create weight issues, but also sweet drinks such as carbohydrates.
The average tin of soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar or fructose.
We wouldn’t eat that much sugar in one go, so why are we drinking it?
I help people gain control over their eating and drinking habits.
I had a woman come to me recently who drank six sodas a day.
After one session, she had stopped drinking sodas and was on a new path to a healthy lifestyle.
Another client worked in a restaurant and they had French fries available for the kitchen and wait staff at all times.
After a few sessions she had no more cravings for French fries, even though she passed the enticing bowl dozens of times a night.
I myself had a craving for marshmallows. I couldn’t just stop at a few, however, and had an overwhelming compulsion to eat the whole packet. Which I frequently did.
Using techniques which I teach my clients, I stopped the craving.
Now I can eat one or two marshmallows if I choose to do so and confidently put the remainder away. It can be done with chocolate too!
One of the biggest problems about dieting is that one often feels deprived, as one can no longer eat one’s favourite foods.
I help clients shed the weight they no longer need or want by using a ‘Hypno-diet’.
What’s so great about this system is that you can eat anything you like — you just eat smaller amounts because you feel full quicker.
It’s amazingly effective and, after a while, the change of food choices becomes automatic.
It can be useful to find a picture of yourself, when younger perhaps, when you were at your desired weight.
Put a copy on the mirror where you dress, one on the refrigerator door and one on the food cupboard, to remind you how slim you have been, and how slim you can be — as long as you resist these transient cravings.
Changing the way we think about ourselves is as important as changing our eating habits.
Take some time every day to imagine yourself at your ideal weight.
There is a slim you waiting to emerge, so don’t keep it locked away.
• Monica Dobbie is a licensed hypnotherapist living in Bermuda. She helps people to maintain motivation, and to change their eating and drinking habits, gaining a new healthy relationship with food. Contact 505-7531 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org