Among millions of people who try make a New Year’s weight loss resolution, around only eight per cent are able to keep it. And even if they lose weight initially, it usually returns.
Why? Because most dieters tend to forget the emotional component to food. And they’re not alone, it’s a key aspect that the vast majority of people simply overlook and it can quickly sabotage your efforts.
According to a recent survey of more than one thousand people, 31 per cent of think that lack of exercise is the biggest barrier to weight loss. This is followed by diet, accounting to 26 per cent of the responses, and the cost of a healthy lifestyle, which amounts to 17 per cent.
But only one in ten responses point psychological well-being was a factor and that in my opinion is the reason why most dieters struggle. “In order to lose weight and keep it off long term, you need to do more than just think about what you eat, you also need to understand why you’re eating.”
“From a very young age we’re emotionally attached to food. As children we’re often given treats, both to console us when we’re upset, and to reward us for good behaviour. Most celebrations, like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day are food-focused, and birthdays are spent sharing cake. Even the mere smell of certain foods, like cookies in grandma’s oven, can create powerful emotional connections that last a lifetime.” said Robinson.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, you are conditioned to use food not only for nourishment, but for comfort. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily, as long as you acknowledge it and deal with it appropriately. Whenever the brain experiences pleasure for any reason it reacts the same way.
three tips to help manage your emotional connection with food and boost your weight loss resolution:
- Keep a daily diary logging your food and your mood, and look for unhealthy patterns.
- Identify foods that make you feel good and write down why you eat them. Do they evoke a memory or are you craving those foods out of stress?
- Before you have any snack or meal ask yourself: Am I eating this because I’m hungry? If the answer is no, look for the root of your motive.
The goal should be to take out emotion out of eating and see food as nourishment, not as a reward or coping mechanism.
Let me know how you progress. If you like this blog post I’m sure your friends would too, be kind and share.