Self acceptance starts from within, it is not a dress size or a number on a scale. It starts with what you believe about you!. The way we talk to ourselves, our internal dialogue can ultimately affect the way we behave and negative thoughts can impact our lives in more ways than we realise.
Perpetual negative thoughts can lead to self-defeating behaviours such as gorging on junk food and skipping your gym session. Positive thinking can play a pivotal role in your healthy eating efforts. A positive outlook is the key to personal success and happiness. Learn to love the skin your in and feed yourself with the right nutrition.
The Power of thought
Imagine holding a lemon, feel it’s waxy outer layer, imagine placing the lemon on a chopping board and begin to slice the lemon, now imagine you are chewing a slice of the fresh juicy tangy lemon. Can you taste it? Can you smell the fresh lemon juice? Is your mouth watering? .
Just the thought of a lemon can make your lips pucker and get your salivary glands working over drive. Your senses react as if you really were eating that lemon, yet you are only thinking about it.
This demonstrates how powerful our thoughts and feelings are, that they can even lead to physical reactions and provoke the sensation of hunger.
Your emotional health has a lot of influence on your physical health.
It is important to not let our negative emotions rule our lives. Every single day things happen that can potentially ruin our day, put us in a bad mood, leaving you reaching for some comfort food. But remember that in todays society stressors are around us at all times but its how we choose to deal with them that determines the impact it has on us. Learn to let go and remember what’s important.
Negative emotions cause stress on the body, which lowers our immune system and leaves us susceptible to illness. This is because negative thoughts can also lead to a physical response; imagine a situation where on your way to work you have spilt coffee down your dress. This then makes you angry and you begin to feel stressed, whilst taking time to mop up the coffee stain you miss your bus or train. Imagine how you begin to feel? You may be feeling like nothing ever goes your way and this may make you feel depressed or extremely anxious.
The stress cycle
When we feel stressed or anxious our body releases the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol. This is known as the fight or flight response and causes physical changes to our body.
This adrenaline response was a survival mechanism for our caveman ancestors; it signaled danger from a saber tooth tiger and told the body to prepare for fight or flight. This signaled the body to release sugar into the blood, to be used as fuel for the muscles (which would be used either clubbing that tiger or climbing the nearest tree). But nowadays, it just signals the release of sugar and if not burnt off, quickly gets stored as fat. Cortisol is the hormone that tells the body to store fat around the middle and may lead to weight gain, it also causes inflammation in the body which is the root cause of many illnesses.
To reduce the impacts of stress it is important to learn to let go. Try calming exercise such as yoga and breathing techniques. Chamomile tea also has a very calming effect on the body and the herb rhodiloa can help to prevent the release of cortisol.
Developing healthy thought habits
It is important to challenge any unhelpful thoughts as soon as you can. Try to challenge any automatically negative thoughts that appear such as ‘My boss didn’t smile at me this morning, therefore she’s upset with me, I must have done something wrong’ – for an alternative interpretation: ‘Perhaps she slept badly, or has personal problems.’
It is important to make a conscious effort to transform your thoughts.
Regularly applying this tool can help you to develop new thought habits, which will lead to positive emotions that can then have a positive impact on your day. If you are feeling more positive this will then help you to make more helpful food choices.
Positive thinking can lead to increased energy and motivation. Positive thoughts are empowering and help us to reach our goals in life.
The best selling book the secret, discusses the law of attraction. If you think about what you want in your mind, and make that your dominant thought, you will start to behave in ways that can help to bring it into your life.
A quote from Muhammad Ali demonstrates how powerful positive self talk can be. “I figured if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest” – Muhammad Ali
Visualisation is a fantastic technique that I have used with clients to help them to attain there goals. Visualisation can be used to attract the life you want.
Start to think about what it is you really want to achieve. Envision what you might look like when you are healthier and leaner. Imagine the changes to your body, what you will look like, the size of your belly and the shape of your thighs. How will you be feeling? See your-self shopping easily and fitting into clothes without feeling stressed.
Through visualization, your thoughts are used to create an image in your minds eye, imagining it unfolding in real time. Depending on the thoughts, an emotional response is created in your body in real time. Your subconscious mind does not know the difference between a real experience and an imagined experience. Your body still responds to the thoughts and images that are being created in your mind and you will begin to behave in ways that can help bring about the changes you want.
Most serious problems centre on a failure of self-control: compulsive spending, underachievement, alcohol, and diet abuse.
A lot of woman talk about being ‘out of control’ when binge eating.
We feel overwhelmed because there are more temptations than ever, mastering self -control helps you to relax because it removes stress and enables you to conserve energy for the important challenges in life.
Tips on mastering will power:
Balance your blood sugar levels
Do not go for long periods without food as a shortage of glucose leads to dips in blood sugar levels, which can then lead to cravings and poor food choices and a lack of willpower.
Ensure you are having good quality protein (nuts & seeds, eggs, chicken, lentils) and fibre (fruit & veg) with each meal to balance your blood sugar levels and swap refined carbohydrates for whole-grains such as brown rice. Try the supplement chromium, which has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce cravings.
Increase your levels of Dopamine
Low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine have also been linked to food addictions and cravings. Food sources that can increase levels of dopamine include almonds, avocados, bananas, dairy products, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
Practice delayed gratification
Rather than feeling deprived about not having certain foods tell yourself you can have it another time – a postponement strategy that works better than trying to deny yourself altogether. A vice delayed may turn out to be a vice denied.
Written goals have a way of transforming our dreams into plans and plans into reality. Don’t just think it – commit to it.
Writing goals down and keeping them in sight means that you are more likely to turn them into reality.
To increase weight loss success, set achievable goals. Losing one or two pounds per week is a reasonable goal and can generally be achieved without going to extreme measures.
One of the ways that a negative attitude can prevail during dieting is if you have set unreasonable goals for yourself. Trying to exist on an extremely low-calorie diet or setting your weekly weight loss goals that are unrealistic often sets you up for failure.
Monitoring is crucial for any kind of plan you make. Weigh yourself weekly; every week that you reach your goal, acknowledge your success. Celebrate important milestones with non-food related rewards such as a manicure or massage. This will help to perpetuate positive thinking. Before long, you’ll find that your motivation and energy have increased, and the pounds are coming off.
Weighing yourself weekly and keeping a food diary can help you to loose weight and stay on track. Keep track of what did I eat today? when? how did I feel and why?
Keeping a food diary will help you to identify any triggers that make you want to binge on certain foods. So when you feel like reaching for unhealthy foods reach for a pen instead.
Physical cravings may also be because we are addicted to certain foods; some foods make us feel better as well as worse. Certain foods react negatively in a persons system, which causes the person to over eat.
Sugar is one of the most addictive food substances there is; once sugar is ingested the physical craving to eat more and more is extremely intense. Even if you are trying to avoid sugar many ‘low fat’ foods contain more sugar than ‘regular’ ones to provide enhanced flavor.
The importance of a good nights sleep
A good night’s sleep is vital for appetite control and increased will power. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sleep deprived subjects ate on average 300 calories more per day than well-rested subjects. Sleep deprivation is associated with increased appetite, reduced willpower, and intensified cravings.
This is because a lack of sleep leads to elevated levels of serum ghrelin, which is our appetite-stimulating hormone, and lower levels of leptin, our satiety hormone that tells our brains when we’re full. As a result, we take in more calories and thus gain weight.
If you have trouble dropping off, try a glass of cherry juice an hour before sleep as it has been shown to increase levels of Melatonin, the hormone that helps us to sleep.