Is Stress Making You Fat?
Cultivating a Healthy Relationship Between You and Food
Why Mindset is the Secret Key to Weight Loss
Have you heard the saying: “we are what we think”? Well it is just as true when it comes to our health, weight and our relationship with food.
Emotions are often a result of beliefs and it is strong emotions that trigger stress hormones like cortisol that we have already spoken so much about.
Beliefs are thoughts accepted as being true facts (e.g.: eating is my only way of coping with loneliness and sadness). They lead our behaviours in an automatic manner – they are the autopilot in our brain, held at a subconscious level.
Beliefs are determined by external stimuli, by experiences, events or situations we encounter (e.g.: being constantly neglected and feeling better only when eating).
In other words:
• situations lead to thoughts and beliefs
• thoughts and beliefs lead to emotional responses
• emotions lead to behaviours
• behaviours lead to habits and
• habits lead to visible results
Habits are behaviours which have been done so regularly that get to be performed without thinking, without requiring active attention
Now the really good news here is that this line of natural progress from our thinking to our eating habits and weight is totally controlled by us! Yes, totally!
What result do you want?
Are you getting it? If not then follow the arrows above to find out where you blockage is
The real cause of your weight gain is your mindset. But, what does Mindset actually mean?
* Is a fixed mental attitude
* Is an inclination to do something in a habitual manner
* Is formed as a result of experience, education and to some point personality
* It Includes thoughts, beliefs, feelings, emotions and habits
* It incorporates your beliefs about yourself and how you interact with your world
* It determines how you will interpret and respond to situations and this response is automatic
What does this mean for you?
Your current weight is the result of your mindset. If you are eating on autopilot and not happy with the results then the key is to turn off the autopilot and become super aware of what you are thinking and doing
The great news is that self defeating or self sabotaging beliefs can not only be learnt – they can be changed. If you really want to achieve a weight loss mindset but much more importantly a mindset of health and energy, then change your beliefs
Let me say something here that I believe is very important for your success: always work from a focus of strength and positivity rather than weakness and negativity. I know it is “popular” to talk in terms of weight loss but you are really not doing yourself any favours here. For the best results, choose a healthy, energetic mindset over a weight loss mindset. The former will last you for a life time, the latter will last until you have dropped the weight
Ways to Cultivate a Healthy, Stress Free Relationship with Food
Food is a source of not only sustenance and nutrition but also it is a source of great pleasure. These two things definitely need to be part of the equation for a healthy relationship with food. What we are aiming for is to not use food for things it was not intended for, for example, comfort, stress reduction, to hide behind or medicate our pain
Here are some ways to help cultivate a healthy and stress free relationship with food:
• Build a strong support network where you can be comforted, supported and listened to when you have a problem rather than resorting to food. Of course, you can gain support in a number of different ways, for example, face to face, online, over the phone, with friends, a support group, or a professional
• Choose exercise to alleviate tension rather than food. Make the exercise preventative by exercising regularly on most days. The best exercise for cultivating positive chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins is cardiovascular so a 30 to 40 minute walk each day is a great start. This form of exercise also helps to regulate that nasty fat producing cortisol and hopefully will help you sleep better.
• Practice regular meditation and relaxation – a time where you are in the moment, focused on yourself and tuned out to the stress and problems in your life. Get enough sleep. If you don’t sleep well when you’re stressed, that may have an impact on your weight loss efforts, too. (Research has shown there may be a connection between lack of sleep and weight gain.) Practicing relaxation before bed can help with a restful night’s sleep
• Keep a food diary. Tracking what you eat and how you feel about what you eat is an amazing tool for changing bad habits into good habits. You spend so much time on everything else – why wouldn’t you give a little bit of your time each day to developing a healthy relationship and habits with food. Remember, raising self awareness is one of the most powerful things you can do
• Monitor your reactions to stress. Maybe an honest look at your stress reactions will show you that you are overreacting to some situations. Try to put things into perspective – are they really that bad? Learn to let go of what will not have any importance to you in a few months time. If the situation is important then sit down and work out a written strategy to deal with it
• Recognize the warning signs of stress, such as anxiety, irritability and muscle tension. Your diary will help you with this but then it is important to use a better coping technique than food
• Have a routine with food. Learn to control food and when and what you eat rather than it controlling you. Who really is the boss here?
• Believe it or not, the first function of food is not pleasure. It is energy and nutrition to keep our amazing systems functioning on optimum. By all means enjoy food but when you are able to ask yourself, “Will this food nourish and energize my body?” maybe you will find it easier to say no to food that is actually destroying your miraculous system
One last point I want to make here is that food affects our mental health as well as our physical health. The wrong foods or excess amounts can bring us depression, low motivation, instability, lack of focus etc. In other words, the wrong foods can themselves cause stress. Nutritious foods can bring us joy, energy, clarity, hope, passion and excitement. If you are having mental health issues as well as physical health issues, seriously consider a healthy lifestyle
If you would like further help in changing your mindset once and for all or a copy of my ebook “Change Your Habits: Change Your Life”, simply send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or ph 0430186415.
Julie Spain is the Owner of Sigma Mindset and a Life and Leadership Coach, Trainer and Public Speaker to Executives, Professionals and Business Owners. Julie specializes in strategic mindset coaching that: Makes a Difference and Makes It Quick