Sunday, 15 January 2012

What are your food issues and how can you overcome them?

It's very interesting to me how many different psychological holds food has over people.  The girls I have worked with so far have taught me a great deal more than I could have imagined possible about how people think about food.

In order to become fit and healthy, you need to take control of your life.  You need to take control of your eating.  In order to take control of your eating you need to be aware of your eating 'style'.

I have my mother to thank for the fact that I dont have any food issues.  I suppose I see food primarily as fuel and I find it hard to tolerate fussiness in others, especially my own children, when there are so many people on this planet with limited (if any) food choices.  My attitudes towards food are pragmatic.  You eat what you are given and you are thankful for it.  You don't whine about it and you certainly don't become greedy.

That isn't to say I dont struggle when I'm hungry.  If I haven't planned properly, I find I get to the point where I'm so hungry I can't think straight and that's when the less healthy choices are made.  And they are choices.

So for me, with no food issues, it's really easy. I make sure there aren't any bad foods in the house (as I have virtually no self-control) so there are no biscuits, crisps or cakes to snack on when I can't think straight.  And if I have planned my day carefully and I have chopped up veggies or have Greek yoghurt and fruit or nuts and raisins there, when I get suddenly hungry (and it doesn't creep up on you - its a sudden transition from not hungry to very hungry with me) then I have healthy things to stave off the hunger until I can prepare something properly.

Personally, I like to eat small and regular.

I split my day up like this (times are approximate)

8am -         breakfast
10.30am -  snack
12.30pm -  lunch
3.00pm -    snack
6pm -         snack
8pm -         dinner

This way I never have the sugar-fuelled highs and lows and I keep my metabolism on an even keel.  I am one for not being able to think straight when I'm experiencing low blood-sugar.

I'll go into what constitutes a snack and a meal later.

Now, this is all very well for someone like me, with no food issues, who views food as fuel and enjoys fruits and vegetables, salads, fish etc but what about those of you who obsess about food or binge or hate food or are borderline anorexic or bulimic.  What do those people do?

You need to be pragmatic.  You need to look at yourself closely and analyse not necessarily why you behave the way you do with food - that can come later once you have it under control - but HOW you behave with food.  Once you are begin to have an awareness of how you eat, when you overeat etc, then you are in a position to do begin doing something about it.  If you aren't aware of what you are doing, how can you possibly make any changes?

For example, if you are someone who has been able to control their diet rigidly at points of their life, then having 6 meals a day might suit you really well, as you are able to minutely control everything you eat.

However, if you are someone who actually doesn't enjoy eating, who eats very quickly and so eats lots of densely, highly calorific food fast, then planning three larger meals a day may suit you better, that way you are less likely to obsess about it and are more able to relax.

You need to identify when you tend to eat the wrong things and what triggers overeating.

For example, is it simply a lack of planning that gets you to the point of hunger where you grab the nearest thing?  If so, stop buying the crap!  (You should do that anyway)  Make sure there aren't those naughty foods you grab in a hurry in your house.  Exchange crisps for nuts and carrots, cakes for fresh and dried fruit, biscuits for home made oatcakes (see recipes on this blog).  If the bad choice foods aren't there, you cant eat them!

Whatever the reason for your overeating, it doesn't matter half as much if you are overeating raw veggies or Greek yoghurt and fruit.

So my best advice to you at this point?  
Stop buying the crap!
Plan your meals and snacks carefully so you dont get too many highs and lows.
Begin to analyse your own eating habits.

Krish x


  1. I can control what I buy, but what about all the biscuits and really delicious expensive chocolates people have bought me for Christmas? And what happens when you go round to someone's house for dinner, and they've spent ages making steak and kidney pudding and a lemon meringue pie?

  2. It's really hard when you are trying to be healthy as other people won't necessarily make allowances for you. But if you are good friends, it might be possible to tell them in advance the kinds of things you are trying to avoid. If not, then try to plan. Have a lighter lunch than you normally would have and explain, if appropriate, that you are trying to lose weight and either decline pudding or ask for a tiny piece without cream.

    If you really are in a position where to decline would be seen as extremely rude and bad form, then just get right back on the ideal foods the next day.

    Its not going to kill you to have a small bit of lemon meringue pie every now and again. The secret to a sustainable healthy eating program is to make sure it is sustainable, so whilst you want to spend the majority of your time eating ideal foods, living an actual life means that isn't always going to be possible.

    As for the choccies, be super generous and share them.

  3. Also, there isn't really anything wrong with a steak and kidney pudding...

  4. Apart from the flour, of course...