Gorging out on yummy food is easy to do. We have all done it and it’s great fun at the time. The results can be bad news though. I’m sure you know the feeling- hammering away until you are bloated, feeling crook in the guts, then wondering what the hell you were thinking having the chocolate after you’d just nailed an entire packet of artificially- coloured corn snacks.
The game feels rigged as these are highly-addictive treats. The big food companies seemingly have us by the short hairs, given around 70% of all food in the supermarket aisles is ultra-processed. But what if you wrestled back some self-control, knowing you’d feel better in the long run, and not just jacked-up from a quick fix?
Let’s see if we can’t hack the system!
- Eat mindfully. When you do eat, focus all of your senses on the food, so that you can truly enjoy what you are eating. If you suck all the chocolate from a scorched almond you’ll know what I mean (and you will eat fewer of them).
- Take a note of emotional snacking. Taking time to think about why you’re actually eating is an easy way to avoid needless empty calories. Why do I find myself at the pantry? Am I bored? Do I feel sad? Am I excited? Am I actually hungry? It’s actually a mind-blow when we catch ourselves out on this last question.
- Keep healthy snacks handy (in pantry, in car, at work)- things like fruit, vege sticks and nuts are great choices.
- Limit distractions. Turning off the television, computer, or smartphone can also help to focus on our food. Don’t pretend you can multi-task. We have tried this. We have failed.
- Exercise ‘Won’t Power’- If I don’t have it I can’t eat it. Stare down those lollies and then keep walking. Trust me, it gets easier to do. You have now taken willpower out of the equation- a most fickle and unreliable impulse.
- Play out the fantasy- Think of the “Where is that drink taking you?” campaign. It’s a really powerful question. Will I really only have two squares of chocolate? How will I feel later if I eat this entire block?
- Focus on gains rather than sacrifices. If I greatly reduce my sugar intake how much better will I feel physically? Will I get better sleep, be less irritable and have more energy (almost certainly)?
- And pleeease go easy on yourself. This isn’t about success or failure. Think of it as trial and error. It’s what I mostly do that counts. Use this as a mantra if it helps.
We don’t have to be slaves to ultra-processed foods. If you are after more energy try some of these tips and let me know how you go at Kent@kentjohnshealth.co.nz
Here’s to good health!