You see a picture of what you desire your body to look, and the first thing that comes to your mind is, “this could be me, but my relationship with food is sabotaging my effort.”
Everyone faces food temptations. Once in a while, a healthy eater will find herself faced with bad food choices. Some people believe that fitness/health coaches have superhuman powers that keep them immune to food temptations. They assume we eat perfect 100% of the time. That assumption is far from the truth. It happens to all of us.
For most people, exercising 4-6 days a week is not a challenge. In fact, some of us can work out for Africa. But as the saying goes “you cannot out-exercise a bad diet.”
You can live in the gym if we like, but if you keep falling flat on the food side of the equation, it’s going to be hard to reach your weight loss goal.
How to overcome food temptations
Identify the trigger
What causes you to overeat? What causes you to eat the wrong thing? When do you tend to go overboard with food? Which environment exposes you to tempting foods? Which food makes you lose control? Which food has become like an addiction?
If you can identify the trigger, you can always plan ahead of the situation.
Keep tempting foods out of sight
When it comes to dealing with food temptations, your environment can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I have one simple rule when it comes to nutrition, “Don’t put in your house what you don’t want in your mouth.”
I love nuts, and because of that, I can easily get naughty with nuts, especially groundnut. I have finished a jar of natural groundnut butter in two days. And didn’t happen ten years ago, it happened in 2014. There are foods I can “cohabit” with for weeks and not touch, but I have come to the conclusion that groundnut is not one of such foods. So I don’t keep it in my house.
Protect your environment. Don’t buy what you know you shouldn’t be eating. Don’t keep in your house what you don’t want to eat. If they give you, generously give it away.
At work, keep your environment healthy by planning your food ahead.
Protect your environment. Don’t put around what you don’t want inside in. Out of sight means out of mind.
Have a meal plan
If you don’t have a meal plan, you will end up eating anything that is available, whether good or bad.
Proper planning, they say, prevents poor performance. The odds are there, and the obstacles are real. You need to plan for your fat loss success if you want to lose weight and keep it off.
Having a daily meal plan is like having a compass. Your plan guides and informs your food choices. You cannot eat what everyone is eating because you have a plan. You cannot eat how everyone is eating because you are guided by the plan.
Don’t leave your nutrition to chances. Don’t wait till you are hungry before you start thinking about what to eat. Plan ahead.
Be your own nutrition expert
By being your own expert, I don’t mean you should go and get a degree in nutrition. What I am saying is, you should get the knowledge you need to make right food choices. As the saying goes “knowledge is power”.
But you have to be careful where you’re getting your nutrition information from; the internet has made it easy for anyone who has anything to say, to be able to share what they have with the rest of the world. It is, therefore, your responsibility to search for information in the right places. You have to cut through the junk, to get real information from the real experts.
Engage your mind
For most people, craving is an emotional thing. When the urge to eat hits, it comes like a flood of emotion that clouds their judgments.
It takes just a few seconds to give in to food craving. To overcome craving, you need to develop the habit of imposing your mind over your craving. The strategy I use is to walk a few meters away from the scene immediately. And then I start to have a conversation with myself in my head and give myself reasons why I can’t have that food.
Practice mindfulness when you sit to eat. Don’t gulp down your meal before your brain figures out what you are doing. Take time to savour and taste your food. Be mindful of the connection between your stomach, and give your brain the chance to know when your stomach is full.
If you find yourself thinking about food 24/7 or you always have the urge to eat and finish anything your eyes see, it will benefit you to seek professional help.
Food addiction is real, and it can be as bad as any other addiction. Please don’t be ashamed to talk to a psychologist about your challenge if you suspect you may be suffering from food addiction.
Make it a lifestyle
Living a healthy lifestyle is a journey and not a destination, we will face obstacles in the path, but we must always tell ourselves “I’m on this journey to succeed”.