Every time I open a magazine, particularly health magazines, or I get an update from some of the sites I subscribe to, their key message or articles are about how to lose weight.
How did we become so preoccupied with weight as a society?
It’s everywhere. Eat less of this, more of that. Don’t eat such and such, eat x every day.
Australian supermarkets have become like American supermarkets were 25 years ago. When food shopping whilst on a skiing holiday in the States, it was almost impossible to find basic foods that did not have something added or removed. All, supposedly, with the intention of making us healthier.
Since that time, America is becoming a nation of obese people, with 2 in 3 adults either overweight or obese (http://win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics - 2010). Australia is going the same way with 3 in 5 adults being overweight or obese (http://www.aihw.gov.au/overweight-and-obesity). We are potentially facing an obesity epidemic.
When searching the shelves in the supermarket, I really have to look for the unadulterated and non-modified standard foods, such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, breads, etc.
We have developed a pre-occupation with fats. So many foods have the fat removed from them. But to make them palatable, they have sugar added. We need healthy fats and we don’t need added sugar. It’s best to eat sugar when it occurs naturally in foods.
It feels like a pre-occupation and paranoia is developing around our weight and magazines are pushing this – giving us images of finely-built, air-brushed models, celebrities who are on the diet roller-coaster, triggering our concerns about our imperfections and ‘the fixes’ we need.
I have to admit, I have struggled with managing my weight all my adult life. Until recently, that is. How did that happen? When I was 16 I went to the Philippines as an exchange student and put on in excess of 10kgs, eating for comfort. This took me over a year to lose and put me on a ‘guilt path’ around food. Further, I have two sisters who have long lean bodies. I am more the athletic type with some roundedness.
Three years ago, I went to see our Nutritionist, Emma Ellice-Flint, to talk about what I was eating. I was working hard and finding I was waking up lethargic each morning, then experiencing an energy drop around 4.00pm. Emma suggested I give up dairy (cows) and reduce my wheat intake, which I did. Within two weeks I was feeling like a new woman.
I consulted her again when I was diagnosed with early breast cancer 2.5 years ago, as I wanted to ensure that what I was eating was supporting my body to return to good health. I found her guidance enormously beneficial in assisting my road to recovery.
Post chemotherapy, I put on weight and was struggling to lose it, so I went to see Emma again. This time we looked at my overall lifestyle. I took on eating at least five vegetables a day and increasing my strength-building exercise. I also attended a workshop she was participating in at the Family Wellness Centre and was inspired by what Clinical Hypnotherapist and Master NLP Practitioner, Linda Funnell-Milner, had to say about attitude to food and how hypnotherapy can assist.
So I had a consultation with her and discovered that I had a deprivation mentality about food and felt guilty if I wasn’t eating for weight reduction. I was waiting until I was ravenous before eating and then eating too much. She did two trance sessions with me and suggested I try a new eating pattern:
1. Eat when you are hungry
2. Eat what you want to eat – (not what you think you should eat)
3. Eat consciously, slowly, enjoy every mouthful
4. Between each mouthful put your knife and fork down
5. When you think you are full, stop eating
It is important to eat when you are between fairly hungry and full.
How will you know if you are hungry? If you feel a bit hungry, but aren’t sure, drink some water (or peppermint tea). If you are still hungry 15 minutes later, have something to eat. If you’re not hungry wait until you are.
I’ve been doing this for the last three months whilst following Emma’s tips on healthy eating. The results? My weight has stopped fluctuating. I have no guilt around food. I am enjoying everything I eat. Have a treat every now and then. I feel great and am told I look really good.
I have taken on accepting my body just the way it is – athletic with a little roundedness.
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Jill Keyte is passionate about health, vitality and making a difference to people who want a natural, quality life where they are well, fit, energised and feel vital. My knowledge comes from my wellness training and and life experience.