Is WHY you eat more important than WHAT, HOW, HOW MUCH and WHEN you eat?Is WHY you eat more important than WHAT, HOW, HOW MUCH and WHEN you eat? https://www.thrivehealth.com.au/wp-content/uploads/bigstock-Dieting-Woman-Craving-For-Cake-118247528960.jpg 960 640 Janie Janie https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/73d7b9a4bcaf7c63f4a42c753b4c008d?s=96&d=mm&r=g
When someone starts eating real, whole, nutrient-dense, high quality foods amazing things start to happen to them! Their energy increases, sleep improves, health issues start to resolve, memory and concentration get better and for many people weight loss occurs.
Although everyone will make some gains by changing WHAT they eat, some people require a bit more tweaking.
Many people either don’t eat mindfully or eat too quickly and therefore have no awareness of their hunger levels, and they also do not give their body time to digest and absorb food. For these people changing HOW they eat can have a dramatic impact on appetite regulation and digestion.
Other people eat vert large portion sizes out of habit or conditioning and they therefore overeat. These people can benefit from reducing HOW MUCH they put on their plate. This is not about counting calories at all, but about responding naturally to appetite and hunger levels.
The next thing to look at is WHEN and HOW OFTEN a person eats. Eating 5-6 small meals per day can cause problems for many people because we constantly keep the hormone insulin raised which is the hormone that stores what we eat as fat and stops our stored fat being used as energy. Aiming for 3 larger meals per day and a longer “fasting” period overnight (ideally at least 12-14 hours) gives us the opportunity to use what we have stored.
Every person needs to determine the ideal way of eating that they enjoy, that makes them feel great and progresses them towards their goals and that can look completely different for every person. That is because everyone is different! We all have our own unique set of genes and ancestry with our own set of hormonal and chemical responses and you have to be willing to experiment and find out what works for you!
And many people will of course also need to look at other lifestyle factors – like sleep, stress, gut health and exercise.
However, a person can have all the latest information about a way of eating, moving and living that is most likely to lead to weight loss and health, but at the end of the day if they can’t execute it consistently this information is of little help to them.
Why do some people continue to make poor choices – even when they KNOW they don’t want to? Why do some people fall off the wagon even though they may see some initial success?
Maybe you can personally relate to this situation? You start out all gung ho on the newest fad – Paleo! Low carb! Keto! – and then a week later you find yourself in front of a bucket of ice cream unable to stop the endless motion of spoon to mouth.
There is a pattern we see with our clients – although WHAT, HOW, HOW MUCH and WHEN to eat are all important – for the large majority of people weight loss success is less about more about WHY they eat.
Let’s look a few examples. All are Thrive Health clients with their names changed.
Maria is a 35 year old mum with 3 children. She is a very caring person and has a hard time saying “no”. As a consequence she often works extra shifts she doesn’t want to do and ends up feeling exhausted. As a result she ends up with sugar cravings and eating poorly. Maria overeats due to imbalanced hormones from physical stress from the inability to say “no”.
Developing the skills and strategies to say “no” in counselling will therefore reduce Maria’s cravings and help her lose weight.
Jacky is a 45 year old mum who feels that her family’s needs are more important than her own and as a result she does not get her needs met. She then feels resentment build up to the point where she turns to hyper-palatable food for compensatory pleasure. Jacky suffers from emotional eating and overeats due to having unmet needs.
Using counselling to finding creative ways to have her needs met, will reduce Jacky’s anger and resentment, and therefore reduce emotional eating.
Monique is a 25 year old woman who is quite overweight and is desperate to lose weight. Every time she sees herself in the mirror she feels terrible and as a result turns to food to make her feel better. Monique suffers from emotional eating and overeats due to poor self-esteem.
Counselling tools can assist Monique see herself from a more positive perspective, and help her develop strategies to change her thoughts and feelings about how she feels about herself, so she no longer turns to food.
In all 3 of these cases there is little chance of long-term success from changing WHAT, HOW, HOW MUCH, WHEN and HOW OFTEN to eat. Willpower may work for a while, but long term willpower can never beat biology.
By understanding WHY we overeat we can address the root cause of the problem. Identifying and healing the root cause reduces the likelihood of emotional eating so that the person can then experience the long-term benefits of eating healthy real food.
At Thrive Health we combine our expertise in nutrition, exercise and counselling to help people achieve their health and weight loss goals. For many of our clients counselling is the most important factor for them to be able to make long-term lifestyle changes that no longer require willpower.