I recently did a small twitter poll asking what’s your biggest self-isolation challenge?
Overeating came out top. I asked around and eating too much, too often and all the wrong stuff was also the biggest issue. I want to take a look at: Why we do it; 14 Tips for Change and How Hypnotherapy Can Help.
WHY (OH WHY) DO WE DO IT?
STRESS AND ANXIETY!
Now more than ever we are under stress from all angles, uncertainty about the health and survival of ourselves, our loved ones and everyone else as well, social distancing, self-isolation, job security, the economy, . In times like these our primitive mind steps in to help us. To survive as stone age humans, not knowing when we’d next eat, we ate as much as we could when we got the chance. When we are stressed and anxious, we go back to using this primitive part of our minds. That part is so keen to stock up against the lean times to come we can ignore feeling of being full. Cortisol the stress hormone, encourages our bodies to store belly (here comes the F word) fat. The kicker being belly fat has more cortisol responders in it. So, more stress means more stored belly fat, which makes us more stressed….
We eat to make ourselves feel better. We eat because it tastes good and we enjoy it. What gives us the biggest dopamine (feel good hormone) fix? High fat, high sugar and high salt.
Can we make a deal? Not to eat anything until this article’s finished? Chocolate, sweets, biscuits, cake, desserts, crisps, pizza, chips and all (and that’s just breakfast), are designed to increase our pleasure receptors in the brain but it almost always brings a friend to the party….
Guilt, eater’s remorse, like a gran who comments on your weight but keeps insisting you finish off that plate of biscuits. This creates a kind of “twisted brain effect” known as cognitive dissonance (when the brain tries to hold 2 or more opposing thought processes at the same time). We’ve got the chance now to learn how to enjoy our food guilt free.
If we feel fat or are unhappy with our looks this can take us round and round the circle. Feeling low, looking for comfort, eating, feeling guilty and lowering our self esteem even more. It’s quite the loop. The good News? This is our chance to break out of the cycle!
Eating without really thinking, that share bag size of crisps is gone and the movie is only 10 mins in. Being mindful of what we’re eating can really help.
sometimes it feels like there’s nothing better to do and the ironing / (place your own pet hate here) looks so dull and uninspiring. Boredom eating doesn’t really satisfy because we weren’t really hungry in the first place.
Confession, I act like a starved locust if I drink, food overtakes everything else on the I want it now list. It subdues our limbic system and we can’t tell/ don’t care if we are hungry or not. We all know about the empty calories. It can be a tough one, if we’re using it to try to cope with stress it actually has the opposite effect. Reducing it even a little can make a difference.
From food to love to crystal meth addiction fires our dopamine neurons. It may be painful but it’s never boring. As opposed to the pleasure seeking of comfort eating, we want excitement from our dopamine this time round. This is the perfect time to get happier it’s a brave step to reach out for support.
SOCIALBILITY and SELF- SABOTAGE
Even subconsciously peer pressure (colleagues of key workers) or even relationship pressure (self-isolating) to eat more than we’d like or want to. Unfortunately, sometimes others don’t want to see us succeed. Whether its their own insecurity, jealousy or guilt at not being able to stick to healthy eating themselves, its not our problem, Our efforts to stay healthy will just help us carry our own body with more ease and is nobody else’s business.
LACK OF SLEEP
6 hours or less sleep in a night, reduces our dopamine levels while increasing our levels of Grehlin, “The hunger hormone”. We’re fatigued and hungry, a killer combination if ever there was one. Increasing our appetite while reducing the amount we actually burn off. Now is the time to get into whatever type of relaxation method works for us.
LACK OF EXERCISE
It’s not about losing those calories so much as finding a healthier way to the release those feel good hormones, endorphins, dopamine and serotonin. The better we feel the more in control we are and able to make wise decisions. We’re able to turn this around by taking action one step at a time.
CATATROSPHIC THINKINGExtreme negative thinking like “we’re all doomed”, “I’m helpless” means there’s no upper limit on the cortisol we could produce. If we can change our point of view “what can I control in this situation?”. It becomes a difficult but doable challenge. Another part of the brain steps in and caps off our level of cortisol this helps stop us overeating.
14 Weight Management Tips
- Future Thinking helps get the big picture, instead of focusing on what we want right now, this moment. By really imagining ourselves as we would want to be, fit, healthy, lighter, gives us the best chance to not only fight this virus but to thrive when it’s all over. Future thinking helps put all our eating choices into perspective and helps us make all those small and sustained lifestyle choices in the here and now.
- Ditch the diet if it’s adding to your anxiety it will only make things worse.
- Stop weighing yourself, real results come over time and you can feel the difference in your clothes before you’d see a difference on the scales. They weigh on your mind, do it once a month or so if you feel you have to.
- Check in am I really hungry? Am I bored? give yourself a wait time, of say 15 minutes, drink some water and wash your hands while you’re there!
- Be kind to yourself – don’t deny yourself a treat or you could end up craving and binging.
- Identify your triggers, do you eat more at certain times of day or when thinking about certain things?
- Interrupt the loop of your habit – “We are what we repeatedly do “(Aristotle) so why not try doing something different. Take up a hobby/ exercise. Renowned hypnotherapist and psychiatrist Milton H Erikson famously gave an isolated woman the option to jump rope each time she fancied a drink. It worked!
- If you’ve the patience try keeping a log of the food you eat, there’s a lot of handy apps out there .
- Keep tempting food out of sight and hard to reach.
- Eat slowly, drink water, measure out some crisps or popcorn for that movie.
- Try not to do 3 things at once, when you eat, just eat, it gives you a chance to realise how much is actually going in and this trick of concentration really can make a difference.
- Eat regularly to keep your blood sugar regulated to stop you feeling hungry
- Eating protein, fibre (beans, vegetables, oats and fruit) and heathy fats (avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil can all help keep your body feeling satisfied longer.
- Drink some more water 🙂
How Hypnotherapy Can Help
Reducing stress and anxiety is my favourite treatment to carry out, clients feel better, more confident, able to sleep better and more soundly. Raising our confidence and self-esteem and lowering stress and anxiety levels effects our relationship with food. It feels almost magical. With me as guide you can make significant change to your life and ensure the change is long lasting.*
Science based Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a combination of traditional talking therapy and deep relaxation with guided imagery. This relaxed state helps you to put aside your daily stress and obstacles and allows you to focus your attention on what you truly want and to make a plan of how you are going to get there!
Have a successful and safe day,