1. Adopt a Meditation Practice:I started meditating 32 years ago, and it has been a daily part of my life ever since. I teach clients how to develop their own meditation routine, and I tell them not to judge their meditation. (Everyone judges themselves when they start meditating, which leads to discouragement and giving up.) I say, “If your mind slows down from 50,000 miles an hour to 10,000 miles an hour, then you’re doing great!” I tell my clients that if they meditate first thing in the morning, and late in the afternoon before dinner, they will eat at least 200 fewer calories a day. That’s worth giving it a try isn’t it?
2. Try 3 Meal Magic:This is a term I coined for my clients to help them start eating healthier, without dieting. It boils down to eating 3 meals a day, with no snacking in between. When they do this, they realize how much they were reaching for food for emotional reasons. The beauty of this simple plan is that it clears out all the noise in your head…you know, that conversation that goes something like: “Should I eat that cookie? I really want that cookie. But if I eat it, I might want more. If I eat more, someone might notice and then I’ll be embarrassed. I’d hate for someone to see me. I’m not even really hungry, but I really want that cookie…”.
Anyone who struggles with food and weight knows too well the constant thoughts about food that rob us of our energy and ability to be present with loved ones. Sticking to three meals and “closing down” the kitchen after each meal can help minimize the mind chatter about food.
3. Take a “Walk/Pray”:I take a walk every day with my phone earbuds in my ear and pray out loud. No one who sees me is the wiser…they assume I’m talking to a friend on the phone! But I’m praying. It is so relaxing, and helps me feel connected to my Divine source. When I do this, I feel a sense of wellbeing and calm throughout the day and, like meditation, this allows me to manage stress more easily.
4. Find a Form of Exercise You Love:When I was overweight, I hated to exercise. Exercise was always about burning calories to lose weight, and it never worked because I always ended up eating more calories than I could burn! So it wasn’t a fun experience for me. Many years later, I explored forms of exercise and sports that I enjoyed. I played tennis because I enjoyed the social nature of it…it was fun and I barely noticed I was exercising. I also took a Barre class, which was hard, but it was all about toning my body and not “working it”. When I did this as a form of self-care, I enjoyed it, and the fact that I did it in a class with others made it easier.
Now, with COVID, I have started to cycle because my boyfriend is a fanatical (former pro) cyclist. But I insist on doing it only for fun…so we ride together for one hour and then call it quits. And we always drive to the countryside to ride, where just seeing the beautiful scenery makes it worth the effort.
5. Reach out for help:In other words, don’t try to overcome your struggles with food (or anything else) on your own. If you could have done it on your own, you probably would have by now. People hire trainers and coaches to improve their results in sports and business, so why not get coached to improve your relationship with food? Food addiction is by far the hardest addiction to overcome, so it’s unlikely you’re going to figure it out, without guidance and support.
I was recently interviewed on a podcast where I go into detail about how I help people heal. The host, Jared Levenson, works as a coach in the field of eating disorders and was a lot of fun to speak with. You can check it out here.
In summary, the key to effective weight loss is to stop turning to food to alleviate stress and other emotions, so you can lose weight and keep it off naturally. These five tips can help you end emotional eating, heal other health issues and feel better about yourself, without having to diet or feel deprived, ever again.