Changing Your Mindset

Adopt a healthy attitude towards food

Take a hard look at your eating habits. Do you eat more when you feel stressed? Do you withhold food from yourself in order to feel like you’re in control? Try to evaluate whether you have an unhealthy emotional attachment to food. If you do, here are few steps to consider:

  • Find a healthier replacement. If you find that you tend to gorge on unhealthy foods when you’re stressed, find a substitute activity — for instance, you could instead go for a walk, take a long bath, or call a trusted friend for a chat. Whatever you choose, it should be something that helps you to decompress, so that you no longer feel the need to binge.
  • See food as sustenance. A lot of Western culture is rife with messages that food is for entertainment or for relieving boredom. Break yourself of this cognitive habit by consciously evaluating food in terms of what it can do to keep your body healthy. Ask yourself if what you’re about to put in your mouth is good for you, and if it will help your body function as it was designed to.
  • Consult a medical professional. Eating disorders are classified as mental illnesses, and you can’t always just talk yourself into stopping destructive behaviors. If you suspect that you have an eating disorder (whether it’s over- or under-eating), ask your general practitioner to refer you the appropriate care.

Determine how many calories your body needs to function each day

This number can vary widely, depending upon your metabolism and how physically active you are. As a rule, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you need to consume and to function properly. Otherwise, your body will start breaking down muscle tissue for energy.

  • If you’re the kind of person who puts on 10 pounds just smelling a slice of pizza, then your daily caloric intake should stay around 2000 calories for men, and 1500 calories for women. Your body mass also plays a part in this — more calories are suitable for naturally bigger people, and fewer calories for smaller people.
  • If you’re the kind of person who can eat without putting on a pound, or you’re physically active, you may want to increase your daily caloric intake by 1000-2000 calories, a little less for women.

Don’t skip breakfast

Many people do this because they think they can drop pound, or they just don’t feel hungry in the morning. Although the scientific evidence is still inconclusive, there are several reasons why you might not want to skip what many people believe is the “most important meal of the day”.

  • Eating breakfast gets your metabolism going and keeps it active throughout the morning. This will keep you energized through out the morning.
  • Skipping breakfast might leave you famished by lunch, causing you to binge as a way to compensate.
  • A small breakfast is better than no breakfast. If you don’t feel up to a full meal, at least drink some water and eat a piece of fruit, a granola bar, or a piece of toast. Get more nutritious bang for your buck by eating a breakfast smoothie.
  • Avoid skipping breakfast at the day of an important exam, job interview, or other critical event, where you may be distracted by your hunger or not have enough energy for your brain to work to its full potential.

Eat slowly

Have you ever gorged on a huge meal and felt fine immediately after, but felt like exploding 15 minutes later? This happens because it takes some time for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s full. Circumvent the problem by consuming your food slower. That way, by the time you get the message and start feeling satisfied, you haven’t consumed extra food.

  • Slow yourself down by waiting 5 or 10 minutes between each course. Chew each bite thoroughly.
  • Drink a full glass of water throughout your meal. Stopping for sips will slow your eating, as well as help you feel more full.
  • Put your fork down between bites. This is a physical reminder to finish the food in your mouth before taking another bite.

Eat five times per day

You may consider eating three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), with two snacks in between. Doing this allows you to eat slightly less at your meals, giving your body a more manageable amount of food to digest, and keeps your blood sugar at a consistent level throughout the day.

stevenmai

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