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.