When you have foods that you crave and emotionally eat…
And then you regret eating them…
And you know they’re not good for you, but you still keep eating them anyway…
It can seem pretty crazy to actually plan them into your week.
But I want you to trust me and give it a try.
Because it can actually help you to:
Break the pattern, regain control, and rebuild your relationship with food.
Really? Yes, really.
Anything you love can fit into a healthy balanced diet.
Nothing needs to be off limits.
And planning in foods that – in reality, you’re eating anyway – brings all the power back to you.
This way you get to practice eating them mindfully, without guilt. And you get to train your brain that you are in control. You don’t need these foods as emergency stress relief. You’ve planned them in as a conscious choice.
Let’s look at a few scenarios to illustrate this point:
- Someone in your house had a birthday, and now there’s a large and delicious cake waiting to be eaten
- You know it’s going to be a stressful day and you’re highly likely to end up ordering pizza tonight, (even if you plan not to)
- You’re in the habit of grabbing chocolate for an end of day snack, even when you plan not to
Ok. So in each of these situations, plan in the food you’re likely to end up eating.
If you’re going to want a slice of cake, make a small slice one of your planned snacks.
If you don’t want to be stingy with the slice, make it a little bigger.
Make sure it’s a slice that you know you could eat without feeling sick after.
And remind yourself you’re just having the one slice – not going back for more that day. You are in control.
Then take that slice and fully enjoy every delicious bite.
If it’s a fair amount of calories and you’re not as hungry after, you could leave carbs and fats out of your dinner to help balance things out (go for a good serving of protein and lots of veggie to fill the plate instead).
If you’re going to end up ordering pizza, put the pizza on the plan.
It’s better to plan it in and then decide ‘actually I’d rather cook a healthy dinner’, than to plan a healthy dinner and then end up ordering pizza.
When you follow the latter path, you break a promise to yourself and erode your self trust.
If you plan pizza in but then decide against it, you’re improving your choice, creating a win and building self trust.
To be clear, if you plan the pizza you can totally still order the pizza if that’s what you want.
What’s the best you can do in that situation?
Could you decide ahead of time to order a small one?
Maybe prep some veggies or a little salad to go with it?
Make a promise to yourself to eat mindfully, stop when satisfied, and throw the rest in the bin. (It’s better in the bin than in your body as calories you didn’t need or even enjoy).
If you’re grabbing chocolate, put it on the plan.
How much do you want to eat? What amount will be satisfying and not make you feel sick after?
When it comes to it, and take that amount, go sit at the table or in another room.
No distractions. No standing up munching while barely noticing the taste.
The goal is to sit and mindfully enjoy every heavenly bite.
Notice the taste, smell, texture, deliciousness.
Notice how your body reacts as you eat it.
When you’re present, you might find the taste starts to fade a little.
That’s a really good sign that your body has had enough.
Improving your relationship with food
The result of actually planning these foods in is that you create a win win situation.
If it’s planned, you get to consciously eat it when you’re hungry and enjoy each bite, knowing you’re sticking to your plan. That’s a win.
Or as mentioned with the pizza, you could also choose to break the plan in the moment and make a healthy choice.
You might decide:
- ‘Do you know what, right now I’m not that fussed at the thought of eating cake. Maybe I’ll have a slice tomorrow.’
- ‘I kind of fancy pizza but I want my goals more… I can have pizza another time and cook up something quick tonight. I know I’ll feel great for doing that’.
- ‘Well it’s time to eat my chocolate but now I know I can have it any day I want, I actually want to try leaving it tonight. There’s some fruit I could have, but I’m not really hungry so I might just clean my teeth.’
All of these are HUGE wins.
You don’t have to do them – you can legitimately eat what’s on your plan.
But you give yourself the opportunity to make progress either way.
What’s more important than exactly WHAT you eat, is WHY and HOW you eat them.
‘Junk food’ that’s planned, eaten when hungry, stopped at satisfied, enjoying each bite…
Will not hold you back from making progress.
‘Junk food’ that’s eaten mindlessly, to cope with stress, in response to a bad day, then followed up with guilt and regret…
That will keep you stuck.
So, let’s practice conscious realistic choices.
You won’t want to plan junk in all the time because it would make you feel like crap.
We’re working towards planning in around 80% nutritious foods that
- fuel your amazing body
- give you energy
- help you live a longer healthier life
- allow you too feel at your best
And around 20% other stuff you love.
When you meet yourself where you’re at, you’ll feel more in control, improve your relationship with food, and start to want to make better choices.
Gradual progress is what we’re aiming for. 1% better. Consistency not perfection.
And whatever you have – eating when hungry, stopping at satisfied.
It takes practice.
You won’t get it right all the time, and that’s ok.
As long as you’re working at it, you’re on the path to building a happy relationship with food, and creating lasting weight loss.
If you’d like some help with this, find out more about coaching here:
And if you’re interested in a good book on the topic of mindful eating for weight loss, I highly recommend The Joy of Half a Cookie on amazon.