Category Archives: Weight Loss

5:2 Intermittent fasting

I wanted to share some information on the 5:2 fasting approach because it’s something I have got a lot of benefit from personally and also find that as I work with my weight loss coaching clients and break their emotional connection to food, it’s a great tool for seeing fairly rapid and permanent changes.

It is however something I feel is often misunderstood. It’s become quite a buzz word in the diet world and the latest trend – with some restaurants even offering 5:2 compatible meals. I think this is just crazy!

5:2 is badly named. It is not really diet and shouldn’t be treated that way in my opinion

What is 5:2?
The 5:2 approach was ‘invented’ by Dr Michael Mosley who takes a very pragmatic, research based approach to many health issues (he showed how effective HITS is as a way of exercising)

He studied many different approaches to fasting as part of his research into the benefits of fasting : 7 day fasts, alternative day fasting and a few others before he came up with the 5:2 approach.

He measured everything he did medically.

What’s the idea behind it?

The theory is that fasting is how we evolved. We would catch a beastie and have a couple of days of scoffing. We would then have quite a few days of living of berries and the bare minimum. Because this is how we evolved, our bodies are evolved to cope with this. On the fast days our bodies go into repair mode. They eat the stored fat, the normalise the saturation of our cells of things like blood sugar and they repair damaged cells. This allows us to eat ‘normally’ for the remaining days because our body is working optimally.
In his studies he wanted to know if you could get the same benefits of fasting without going to extremes like 7 day fasts. He wanted an approach that fitted into every day modern life.

He came up with the 5:2 approach.

Here’s how it works
1. You eat normally for five days. Even if you eat about 25% more than normal it’s still ok.
2. You fast for two days (not necessarily consecutive)
3. A fast day is a quarter of your normal calories split into 2 meals (for women this is 500 calories, for men 650)
4. The fast day calories are not a quota…they are split into 2 meals (breakfast and dinner usually) because the intent is to keep your metabolism active (i.e. not go into starvation mode where your body shuts down) but not give it enough for the energy it needs. This means it eats through the fat and repairs cells.

Stomach rumbling on a fast day is a good thing. Getting through to mid afternoon without feeling hungry is not necessarily a good thing as it may mean your system has shut down. He found doing this approach fitted in with his daily life and also gave the same benefits as ‘full’ fasting. It reduces risk of diabetes, helps you lose weight very effectively and does other things which they haven’t fully researched, to mental function.

So how do I do it?
I do it my own way because I understand the science from reading his book. I fast from dinner time until dinnertime. I have totally normal dinners. I find this works as well for me as full day fasting.

I don’t worry about how precisely I meet the calories. I will probably have a salad for lunch with eggs or chicken and balsamic dressing. I usually don’t bother with breakfast but if I do it’s a banana. You can have a couple of boiled eggs and a small slice of toast with them for lunch if you want.

I never eat in between the 2 meals – I don’t even lick my fingers! My dinner is normal so I can go to dinner with friends etc. My husband can’t really tell when I’m doing a fast day!
If my stomach rumbles I smile because I know it is working.

You can eat normally on a fast day and since I re-tuned my behaviour around food with with a slimpod, my ‘normal’ eating truly is normal.

I could not have tried the 5:2 approach a year ago. I was still very much emotionally connected to food. I ate as an act of rebellion. As a child I was starved. For me every time I ate something nice it was an “up yours” to my parents. Of course I was giving the power to them every time I ate to rebel against them! But that emotional connection was cleared so now I have the freedom to choose to do what I want with food.

If you feel that your relationship with food is habitual rather than emotional then the 5:2 Fast diet may be for you. A good way to test it is to try a fast day – if a bunch of emotional stuff comes up when you try then you are best clearing that out of the way first. If it is just difficult because you are hungry – then that’s a good thing and the benefits to health and weight make it worth sticking to in my opinion. It is an approach you can easily fit into your life. You can choose any day to be a fast day so you can even decide on the morning of that day to fast.

Whatever you do, I highly recommend reading the book first. Understanding what you are trying to achieve can stop you treating it like a diet and more like  a lifestyle choice.

Cosmetic surgery for the mind

Cosmetic surgery is big business.

Changing your physical features to suit an internal image that you have of how you should be.

But internal images are often skewed by an emotional perspective.

A person with anorexia thinks they are so fat that they daren’t eat. This can be come so extreme that they eat so little that their body lacks the necessary vitamins and minerals and organs start failing. In the worst case they can starve themselves to death.

I see it all the time with my weight loss clients. Their internal perspective on how they look is mismatched to the reality. Have you ever had those conversations where you say “I need to lose weight” and the person you are talking to says “Yeah me too!”. You look at them and think “no you don’t”. It’s because your perspective is different from theirs.

It doesn’t matter if you are a size 10 or a size 20 if you are happy with who you are.

I regularly rant about cosmetic surgery. To me this is different to corrective surgery. Corrective surgery is a physical solution to a physical disfigurement in some way.

Cosmetic surgery is a physical solution to a state of mind that perceives a problem. Put 100 different minds in the same body and it may be that only one of them perceives the problem.

So I think we should do mental cosmetic surgery (in fairness I often do this already)

Mental cosmetic surgery is where we work with the mind to get you to a place where you can accept that you are ok just as you are, both inside and out

If you think I can help with your body image, or anything about yourself you aren’t happy with, just drop me an email to dawn@thinkitchangeit.com and we can talk about how I can help.

**remember I do therapy both face to face and on the internet using Skype and Facetime

Weight Loss and Calibration

There are more and more studies that show that diets don’t really work. Doing something for a temporary period of time to deprive your body of food is not how we are designed. Our body goes into starvation mode…slows down our metabolism and waits. When you have a day off your diet, it stocks up in readiness for the next starvation period.

And so you enter a cycle. Because almost everybody eventually has a day or a week or even a month “off the diet”. And each time you come off it, it’s harder to go back on again.

That’s not to say they can’t work. With a lifestyle change that involves fundamental changes such as exercise, weight lost on a diet can be kept off.

However, why not take a different approach. Often we connect food to something emotional – eating for comfort, food meaning more than fuel.

Imagine if we can reprogramme our brains to remove the emotional meaning of food and just see it for what it is – fuel to get us through the day. Able to truly enjoy what we eat because we can trust ourselves to stop when we’ve had enough or turn down those treats because we genuinely don’t want them and not because we feel we should.

It is possible. Using Cognitive Hypnotherapy to retune the mind. You can read about how I can help with that here

Now most people come to someone like me as a last resort. When they have tried every diet going. Some of them pretty extreme. These people have amazing willpower. Willpower they have used to deprive themselves of something they love. I help them so they have a more natural relationship with food – without constantly battling their subconscious and using their willpower.

But…those of us who have dieted for life (and I am one of those people!) are so used to following strict rules about carbs, syns, points, calories etc that we have never let our body and mind communicate with each other on what they want.

And that can be a tough step to take.

That is where calibration is important.

Think about when you play a game like netball, basketball, bowling etc. Any sport that requires you get a ball into a limited space. Let’s take basketball.

You throw the ball to the net and you have not thrown hard enough so it falls short.

You throw it harder but this time it’s too hard and it bounces off.

You throw a couple more times going a bit too far left and a bit too far right.

And eventually you find the net. You respond to the feedback from the misses and adjust your throw until it goes in.

What does this have to do with weight loss?

Well when you lose weight by retuning your mind you need to calibrate your mind and body. They need to learn to communicate with each other on what works and doesn’t work for you because they’ve never had the freedom to do that before. They have been ignored in favour of diet rules!

So to calibrate sometimes you need to eat more. Lots of food so you know how uncomfortable it is to feel full. And other days you may eat a lot less so you can know how much is too little. That’s calibrating on quantity. It’s important that you take the time to eat whilst doing nothing else. To listen as your stomach becomes more full. To be focussed on that and nothing else.

And then there is calibrating on quality. Sometimes you need to eat that food that you regard as unhealthy – fatty food, food that is all carbohydrates, sweet food. To allow your body to see how that feels. To truly taste it without guilt or fear of consequence because you’ve blown that diet for the day. And then other times you need to eat healthy food or diet foods. And with quality you need to truly taste it. See how it feels on your tongue – the texture and flavour. Savouring and enjoying each mouthful. Or maybe not. Because it might be when you truly notice what you eat that you realise that some things don’t taste as nice as you though they did.

Following rules of a diet are like playing basketball with a blindfold on. You can never calibrate the results if you can’t pay attention to the consequence of what you do.

Are you in an abusive relationship with yourself?

“You useless worthless piece of dirt”

“Look at you, the state of you! You are so ugly. No one would ever look at you”

“You are so stupid, why did you do that?!”

“Everyone is looking at you. You are fat and ugly and worthless”

Are you a parent or relative to kids?

If you are, what would you do if someone spoke to a child you know in that way?

How would it make you feel?

How would you respond on their behalf?

Now think about yourself. Have you ever said these things or something like them to yourself?

Why is that ok for you but not, I suspect, ok for others to say it to a child?

Try these steps next time you hear any sort of critical voice in your head

  1. Identify who’s voice it is. Check to see if it is really your voice or if it is someone else’s (maybe the image of someone else comes to mind at the same time)
  2. Change the voice. Speed it up, or slow it down so that it is no longer recognisable. You could even change it to a funny voice like Donald Duck or a chipmunk
  3. Say to yourself, in your own voice “I accept myself. I’m ok”
  4. Keep saying it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t fully believe it. It’s important to focus your mind on positive thoughts (if I say don’t think of a pink elephant what do you think of first)
  5. “I accept myself. I’m ok. I release and let go of judging myself. I don’t judge others so why should I judge myself. I’m ok”

Each time you become aware of a critical voice follow these steps. Eventually, the voice should have less and less hold over you.

It doesn’t matter what other people think of you, it only matters what you think of yourself. Sort that and many other things fall into place.

I like this quote that has been doing the rounds on Facebook

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die” Buddha

If you can stop making everything that people say or do about you, then you can find happiness with just being you. We are all struggling. It’s just that we are often so caught up in our own struggles that we don’t notice that. We can assume everyone else is fine and it’s just us that’s screwed up!

If you need my help to find yourself and to accept yourself, why not browse my site or drop an email to dawn@thinkitchangeit.com

Skin in the game

It’s a funny thing about human nature that in order to truly value something we generally need to have skin in the game – there need to be consequences for a failure to commit.

For example when you get something for free you are not likely to value it as much as if you’ve worked and saved to get it.

Something being more expensive tends to make us believe it is better quality and ‘worth’ more. This is not necessarily the case.

When approaching a change in your life, it’s a message that’s worth bearing in mind.

If you really want to drive change you might want to make sure you have skin in the game.

  1. If you are losing weight through listening to something like Thinking Slimmer then you need to be active in the process (as all you really have to do is listen to a track every day) You can do this by setting clear short term goals and by noting down any changes you see each day.
  2. If you are engaged in personal change and growth either through seeing a therapist or self-help then note down up to 3 positive things you notice every day. Write them down, don’t just log them in your head
  3. If you are developing a business don’t just create an over-arching vision of what you want to achieve but write down short and medium term goals that are SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time specific). Regularly review those goals

Whatever you are doing, you are likely to be more successful at it if you have a concrete stake in its success – if you have skin in the game

If you need my help with life coaching to get you to a place you want to be, or anything else, drop an email to dawn@thinkitchangeit.com and we can chat

 

A friendly mirror

When you get up in the morning, do you let someone else decide what you should wear?

Do they decide the right shoes?

If you are a woman do they decide on your make up?

I suspect the answer is no.

So then why should you let other people decide what you see when you look in the mirror?

Who or what has power over you?

I am currently trying out the Fast Diet.

It’s not really a diet, more like a way of life. The principle is it takes us back to the cave man days where you would have days of fasting (whilst hunting beasties) and days of scoffing once you had caught something.

This is apparently very good for our body because it means we eat into the stored fat and our body goes into ‘survive and repair’ mode.

To do the fast diet requires having 2 days in 7 (not next to each other) where you eat less than 500 calories (600 for men). You don’t spread it through the day but have it as 2 meals because that allows your body to start working on resources. You need to be feeling hungry.

I have found the fast days liberating. During a fast day, for the first time I can remember, food has no power over me. I am not allowed to eat therefore I don’t worry about eating the wrong or right thing. I don’t worry about snacking or what I’m going to have for dinner. I am truly free.

When I’m fasting the hunger signifies freedom and an opportunity for my body to recover.

And it has helped me realise how much power food has over me in a normal day. It also got me wondering what, or who else has power over me.

Who’s voice tells me what not to do or what I am capable of?

Who from my past or current life am I allowing to have enough power over me that they form my opinion of myself and my capabilities?

What would I believe about myself, that I don’t believe now, if I silenced the voices of those people in past or present that I allow to have power over me?

What do you think? Who has power over you?

If you need help with silencing those voices why not check out my website and see what I can do for you. www.thinkitchangeit.com