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How to Change Your Relationship With Food

By Dr. Wayne Anderson

Many of us have been on just about every diet out there.  Sometimes you lose, but sometimes not.  The common denominator in the past has always been that the weight has come back…Why?  Well, I want to help you understand how to not only get down to your healthy weight but to learn how to keep it off for good!

It is all wonderful to get down to your BMI of between 19 and 25 that will get you going in the right direction.  But to keep you going in the right direction for the rest of your life, we want you to reach for your “Metabolic Fitness”.  Metabolic Fitness is achieved when your body is absent of all the metabolic and biochemical risk factors associated with obesity.  These risk factors include high cholesterol, high triglyceride level, elevated blood glucose, insulin resistance, high Blood pressure and elevated fatty acid synthesis.  You can achieve metabolic fitness by a modest drop in your weight and a moderate increase in your physical activity.  Sounds easy enough, but the difficulty lies in the fact that so many people use food for non-nutrient purposes such as stress relief, emotional soothing, entertainment, to feel high or good, to rebel, to stop boredom, to procrastinate, and the list goes on and on.

So what should you do?  Well, the key to successfully losing weight and keeping it off for good is to change your attitude about yourself and the food that you choose to put into your magnificent body.

Here is an example to help you understand….

Ann just left her doctor’s office, and after quite a few tests it was revealed that she needs to lose 60 pounds to improve her health.  Ann’s concept of herself is that she will always be heavy.  Her whole family is overweight.  She has tried every diet ever invented and joined every weight program around, and although she may lose some weight, it always comes back on.  She feels that she can only stick to a diet for a few days. She loves food too much.  She also hates to exercise.  So, what her doctor has just told her is creating a lot of havoc in her brain.  What is she going to do?

Ann’s biggest obstacle is her preconceived concepts of herself and her relationship to food and exercise.  She needs to challenge these core beliefs about herself and make a shift in her attitude and thinking.  At first, Ann was very sad and grief stricken, she did not want to give up the “feel good” foods she had come to love, but they were killing her! She couldn’t imagine life without these foods nor could she imagine having to exercise.  Ann chose to get help from a therapist, who helped her to imagine other options other than to turn to food.  She chose this program, and took advantage of all the great support from her personal Health Coach, the online support tips and tools, and the weekly support calls.  She started exercise slowly by taking short walks daily.  She found friends and neighbors to exercise with and made it fun.  Ann had slowly but surely changed her self-concepts about herself, food, and exercise.  Ann has lost 60 pounds and lives an active healthy life. Now, how about you?

How you see yourself will determine much of your behavior.  If you perceive yourself as loving sweets, you will not let a brownie pass by without a bite.  If you see yourself as a vegetarian, you will never crave a juicy piece of steak.  If you claim that you are a triathlon competitor, you look forward to your daily workout.  You are what you think you are.  And just like Ann, you can change your attitude and ideas to healthier ones.

Here are some steps to help you change your relationship with food…

1. First, write down your current reality…where you are right now in your body and mind.  Then look ahead to where you want to be in your body and mind… more energy, eating healthy, feeling great, metabolically fit?  Write it down in your journal.

2. Examine and challenge your basic beliefs about foods that are holding you back from getting down to your desired weight and health.

3. Redefine yourself as someone who eats healthy and exercises regularly.  Imagine a “new you” and begin to “be” that person.

4. Stop using foods for non-nutrient purposes and learn other ways to cope with stress.

5. Allow yourself to grieve over the loss of your unhealthy eating habits and then let it go!

6. Eat only at planned meal times and planned snack times.

7. Don’t focus on the scale and start focusing on healthy behavior and lifestyle.

8. Let go of the “I wish I were thinner” comments and work to make you the best you can be.  No comparing allowed!

9. Take advantage of the support from your health coach, online daily tips and tools and weekly conference calls.

10.  Write down your goals for where you want to be in 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year.  Keep a daily journal.

I know you can be who you want to be…imagine, plan…action!