There are many reasons why someone may be carrying more weight than they want to. And it’s rarely as simple as calories-in versus calories-out.
Our relationship with food is complicated. We first associate food with comfort when we are born and nurse at our mothers’ breast. Most of us have experienced an adult offering us a biscuit or a sweet to cheer us up. So that link between negative feelings and using food to soothe is reinforced as we grow. the more it happens, the more it becomes a habit.
It isn’t a decision we consciously make. Nor is it one we are necessarily aware of. So, if you find yourself reaching for food outside of mealtimes, or feeling that a less healthy food choice feels like the only thing which will hit the mark, ask yourself what you are feeling in this moment. Dig deep. Too many people answer immediately with “nothing – I just need something to eat” when, with a bit of gentle curiosity, they can find out that what’s really going on is some kind of stress. After all, if it was simply that you were hungry, a chicken salad would do the job. But usually what we crave is high in fat and sugar.
Food becomes a distraction from stress. And in the moment of distraction we are able to focus on something other than the stressor. It feels helpful at the time but it just avoids the cause of this cycle of ‘feel bad – eat’.
When you experience stress, cortisol is released and can cause you to feel hungry for particular types of foods. You’ve guessed it. It is the fatty, sugary types of food you reach for. And the more stressed you are the more cortisol you produce. And the more cortisol you produce the more unhealthy food you crave. Below I will share 7 tips to help you break the cycle.
Your body stores excess calories as fat. And any calories that have no nutritional value will be stored as fat anyway because there is nothing it can do for you except wait to be burned off as energy. It can’t support heart-health, it can’t build strong bones, it can’t help your brain function at it’s best, it can’t support your immune system or your hormones. So it is stored, waiting to be used as energy. Assuming that you are consuming more calories than your body burns off, your body will simply store the excess as fat, ready to be used later. Except there is no later because of this cycle you are in. So your body just stores fat on top of fat. Your waistline expands, your self-esteem shrinks and your eating gets more out of control.
Following these principles will help you get back on track with your stress and weight loss. However, if you would like more support, and work 1:1 so that you are supported every step of the way, do get in touch. It is so much easier when you are working with a supportive expert in this complex area.
© Tricia Woolfrey
*Not all fats are unhealthy. For more information, get my meal planner which gives you a lot of information about foods.