A Weight Loss - Diet Plan
For most people, being overweight has simply been the result of a consistent pattern of overeating. (By this I mean taking in more calories than are burned through movement and life activities - not necessarily that the amounts of food at one sitting are that much greater than the average person - it's the total food eaten over time that adds up).
Physical signs of hunger and satisfaction are the body's natural forces that help people control when it's time to eat and when eating should stop. In my last weekly message I identified the tendency for people who are overweight to eat outside of these natural boundaries, which leads to extra body weight. The tendency to do this, to eat for reasons other than hunger - are very different for each person, and a good term for these are "triggers".
Identifying what triggers you to eat for reasons
other than hunger is really important if you want to change your predicament of
being overweight. Many of you have already done this - you have said "I'm an
emotional eater" or "When I eat (certain foods) I can't stop". Likewise, many of
you have identified a depressing event or life change that caused you to gain
weight over time. While having an awareness of what triggers you to eat is
essential to overcome the weight gain cycle, it's not enough. The next step is
to take action to break the chain of events that cause overeating - and that
requires having a good plan of action that you can put into place.
Triggers take many forms: the sight, smell, and taste of a favorite food, hearing someone talk about food or seeing it on TV., for some certain emotions trigger eating for comfort - anger, loneliness, anxiousness, boredom, and depression are some common ones. And for some people, positive emotions such as happiness or contentment are triggers to overeat. Many people have multiple triggers - make a list of what your triggers or weak points are.
Physical triggers such as the sight of food or certain locations (like the kitchen), restaurants, etc. are simple - change how often you are in those situations by avoiding the specific food or location, and substitute other foods or activities. If you're not willing to do this, you may need to re-think your commitment to achieving your goal weight!
When it comes to emotions or when other people are part of your "weak points", it gets a little more complicated and requires some restructuring of how you deal with the situation, but the same rules apply: substitute a more positive response than eating to your "weak points" - such as going for a walk, chewing gum, reading, listening to music, writing a friend or writing in a journal. These are simple, inexpensive and easy substitutes for destructive overeating.
Strengthen Your Weak Points
A lot of extra eating takes place between meals - and snacks play a major role in satisfying the need to reach for food to avoid other issues. This is because typically, when you reach for food as a result of a "trigger", you're looking for a quick solution and snacks or desserts that are readily available and don't require preparation are easy choices. Your Personal Diet Plan gives you some very specific strategies when it comes to snacking - when, where, how much, and what types of snacks will help you reach your weight goal even when you are in a situation that typically causes you to reach for comfort foods. Practice these snack strategies and it will make a real difference in helping you overcome those difficult situations where you feel out of control when it comes to food.
In your plan (Custom Diet Plan) , there is a section that reviews your current food choices in each category of food. When you make the substitutions recommended, it can have a real impact on your daily, weekly, and monthly food intake, and it will add up to weight loss just by making some simple changes to your current choices. Pay particular attention to those foods you choose to eat whenever you encounter one of your "weak points", whether it's a place, person, emotion, or certain food that triggers overeating. Focus on making changes to those foods first.
Lastly, whenever you stick to your eating guidelines, you will be eating the right foods and the right amount of foods for your needs throughout the day. When you follow a plan that has a satisfying amount of food, you will be less likely to reach for extra foods during those "trigger" situations. The physical energy you get from eating good foods in the right amounts can really keep you from being as vulnerable to your particular "weak points" throughout the day.
How many times have you tried to lose weight by eating a very small breakfast (or none), having a low calorie lunch with very little fat or protein, and then by the time you get home (where you have the freedom and opportunity to snack), you find yourself overeating and making up for all the calories you thought you were avoiding the rest of the day? This is a very typical pattern that does not lead to weight loss, despite all the hard work and deprivation you go through! Review your eating guidelines, and use your check off list to add up your servings of various foods. If you find that you're having too many days where the "extra" foods are taking over, it's time to get back on track and back to basics. Spend a few minutes identifying the "triggers" that caused this, and review your plan (or get your diet now) for good ideas on how to deal with these issues.
© 1999-2007 A-PersonalDietitian.com All rights reserved.