THE people who are most successful at losing weight and keeping it off are those who fully understand how their mind influences their eating habits. They’ve realized they have to approach weight loss from a totally different perspective.
They get results that last when they learn how to create good eating habits that stick. This is what’s happened to the thousands of people I’ve served for the past decade. Doctors and nurses are also having their eating habits transformed and that gives me the greatest thrill. ! Being in control of food and creating eating habits so you consistently and automatically reach for healthy food over unhealthy, is the holy grail of health, happiness and lasting weight loss.
It’s something that only 5 per cent of the population actually achieve and you’re about to discover how YOU can be part of the 5 per cent -and just how easy it can be!
The thing most people find very hard to do when they’re trying to lose weight is to change their behavior towards food and maintain a consistent healthy lifestyle. It’s a constant challenge to use willpower to be consciously on top of your eating the whole time. But it’s only through repeating the same behavior day in and day out that healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle become automatic. When this happens you don’t Being in control of food is the holy grail of health and weight loss.
Fact: Big changes in the body start with the brain! You do not even have to think about it because your subconscious has taken responsibility for your behavior. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way you could automatically make healthier choices without any effort or even thinking about it?
Well shortly you’ll discover there is such a way! One of the reasons so many people struggle to lose weight and keep it off is that it just becomes too hard. They don’t have the willpower. But what if you could lose weight without even needing willpower!
Did you know you think about food 200 times a day? If you’ve ever tried to lose weight you’ll know that willpower’s then thing you usually rely on most when we start a new diet but it’s also the thing that lets you down the most. That’s because willpower runs out of power really quickly. Another name for willpower is self-control. You need conscious thought and constant effort and as you probably already know, it can actually be self-defeating.
You see willpower is like a muscle, when it’s used over and over again it becomes harder and harder to keep going – if you’ve ever done weights in the gym, you’ll know exactly what I mean!
And this is why so many people fall off the wagon after a few weeks on a diet – because they constantly have to use willpower to help them resist the food they love but aren’t allowed to have.
So and this means that consistently sticking to diets and eating plans becomes very hard. What happens in your brain when you use self-control or willpower to stop yourself eating unhealthy food? Willpower’s like a muscle: the more you use it, the more tired it gets
Well, depriving yourself of a particular food means your brain automatically desires it more. It’s estimated that people unconsciously think about food around 200 times a day and so you can easily see how your willpower battery gets drained.
So how do you get around the willpower problem? Bypassing conscious self-control is the key, and that means enlisting the support of your subconscious – your automatic brain – because once that part of your brain’s on your side there’s no need for willpower.
Most of what you do every day is automatic, like driving your car or putting one foot in front of the other to walk.
You had to learn how to do those things but when once you’d done them a few times you no longer had to think about them – they became part of your day to day life.
It’s the same with eating. If you’ve eaten unhealthily for years, the habit becomes ingrained and very difficult to change because it’s now your subconscious that’s running your eating habits.
So when you use willpower to try to change an ingrained behaviour like eating it takes time and effort – and this is where people fail because it’s just too hard to do it consistently.
And of course the environment in which we live is totally stacked against us when we’re trying to lose weight.
For example, if you work in an office and somebody is constantly bringing in cakes or chocolate then it’s very, very hard to resist temptation.
Or if you’re in the habit of including treats and snacks in your weekly shop so that they’re constantly in the house then of course it’s going to be too easy to munch through them during the day.
People often say “oh it’s for my son” or “it’s for my husband” when actually I think that’s a big excuse and it’s really for themselves!
Hands up if you do this!
Things around us become visual triggers for us to eat or drink and this very quickly develops into a bad habit! But we can use visual triggers to turn things around and create good habits. They can also get around the willpower problem! Here are three great ideas which are proven to work.
If you’re wanting to eat healthily every day (and most people are) then do these simple things:
- Put up a calendar in a visible place.
Every day you eat healthy food for most of the day, put a big cross on the calendar. It will soon make a “success chain” and psychology proves that when you have consistently marked crosses on the calendar you won’t want to break the chain.
This simple strategy has been proven to help with procrastination and motivation. I’d love you to try it at home! This is particularly good if you’ve had a bad day and you’re comfort eating, because this simple strategy encourages you to get right back on track again.
Your focus is on the process of not breaking the chain and you forget about everything else.
- Switch things around a bit at home. If you want to stop a bad habit then put the thing that’s causing the willpower issue in a place that’s a bit more difficult to get to. Out of sight helps it to be out of mind. So hide the sweet stuff!
- Make healthy things far more visible.
For example, put the fruit in a place where you can easily see itevery day. Have a big bottle of water on your desk and challenge yourself to drink it all during the day. Again, the task needs to be meaningful and simple enough to get it done easily! If you slip up, then get back on track quickly. None of us is superhuman. We all slip up and to ride the blips we need to be kind to ourselves, understand it’s going to happen and be self-compassionate. Build it into life! That’s what the successful people do – and you can do it too! It’s so important to be able to say No to sugar
One of the most important ways to transform your eating habits
is to cut right down on refined sugar. This type of sugar has the same addictive effects as Class A drugs like heroin, so I reckon we should throw everything at kicking it out of our lives!
I’ve got something that’s unique which gives you the power to say No without the need for willpower. More about that later – first here’s three useful tips for you…
First big tip – be focused when you’re doing your weekly supermarket shop. Give yourself a fighting chance and cut out processed food! It’s a scandal that food manufacturers put so much refined sugar in our food. Stay vigilant about hidden sugars in drinks, too!
Second big tip – address your stress. Stress makes the body release the hormone cortisol, which seriously affects many of your body’s vital functions. Over time, stress will make you put on weight and can cause digestive problems, headaches, heart disease and sleep issues. In women it can lead to osteoporosis.
Because cortisol has a dramatic effect on your blood sugar levels, it can also affect what you eat when you’re stressed.
How often do you want to eat something sweet and sticky that’s comforting when you’re stressed?
If your brain has learnt to reach for food as a response to negative feelings – like stress of anxiety – this often results in craving sugary things to take away stress. On go the pounds.
Be consciously aware this is happening and break the pattern. What could make you feel better instead of sugary food? How about going for a brisk walk? Or listening to relaxing, happy music? Or a relaxation download?
Third big tip – get enough sleep! How often do we hear “I desperately need sugar because I’m tired”? Sleep deprivation plays havoc with the mind/body connection and our hormones. That’s when the hunger hormone ghrelin raises its ugly head! Make a good night’s sleep a priority and during the day, grab a power nap instead of doing anything else.
Sugar’s sneaky, most of us don’t even realise we’re hooked!
Beware of the hidden peril of sugar in everyday food. One of the important things I teach people is how sugar causes the brain to block weight loss. We all know sugar is bad for us but why do we feel powerless to do much about it?
The answer lies in neuroscience and a very important function in the brain that gets you hooked on sugar, sabotages your weight loss and causes those horrific cravings. You see, food is a natural reward. For us to survive as humans, things like eating, having sex and nurturing others must be pleasurable for the brain because it means these behaviors are reinforced and repeated. So when we do something that the brain perceives is important for survival (such as eating), it produces a chemical signal called dopamine which gives us feelings of pleasure and happiness. The same thing happens when people become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Now scientific research has proved that sugar and dopamine are also closely linked. When you eat sugar, huge levels of dopamine are released into the brain and it becomes overwhelmed with the pleasurable experience it’s having. These days it’s almost impossible to find processed and prepared foods that don’t have added sugar for flavor or preservation. So this stuff is sneaky and most of us have become hooked and don’t even know it because sugar has hijacked the brain in the same way as drugs like nicotine, cocaine and heroin do.
Over time, if you keep on eating sugar it leads to prolonged dopamine signalling and eventually you’ll need even more sugar to get the same buzz because the brain becomes tolerant to it.
If you suddenly stop eating sugar, that’s when you get those cravings. You also feel lifeless, become depressed, lack energy and can feel anxious. You’re addicted.
There are nearly two billion overweight people in the world and the horrendously cruel thing is that most of them don’t even know that sugar is added to around three-quarters of the packaged food we buy. My mission in life is to give them the facts.
It’s estimated the average adult consumes 20 teaspoons of sugar a day, and the horrific thing is that the World Health Organisation says that more than seven teaspoons is really bad for you.
Good fresh food really costs no more than all the rubbish we buy
Then on top of this there’s the sugar that we DO know we’re eating! Yes, I’m talking about snacking. I speak to so many people who just love their mid-morning and afternoon snacks and these have become a habit they struggle to do without. Eleven o’clock becomes a trigger for a snack and people blame this on lack of willpower, lack of motivation, a sweet tooth or any number of other things.
But something needs to change this trend – and fast – because it’s becoming a major health crisis and it really worries me. Here’s two things you can do right away to prevent sugar hijacking your brain and in turn help your waistline. One is to be really vigilant about what you’re putting in your shopping basket. Processed foods have added sugar in them because it makes the shelf life longer. Frozen ready meals also contain sugar, mostly shown on the packet as fructose.
What you really need to know is that the food manufacturers and supermarkets are not helping the obesity problem because they use the power of influential marketing to hook you into buying more and more sugary and processed food. They know sugar can be addictive and that helps their sales.
A supermarket is designed so your willpower fades by the time you get to the cakes, sweets, crisps, fizzy drinks and alcohol. Then you’re easily persuaded by the special offers!
Have you ever noticed in large supermarkets that the fresh fruit and vegetables are one of the first things you see? Now you know why. It’s to trick your mind into thinking everything in the store is good for you.
The second thing you can do is address your snacking. If you find it difficult to get through the day without snacks, then make sure you’re not snacking on something sweet!
Prepare some healthy snacks in readiness. Something that contains protein would be perfect, or fruit or even some nuts…anything but stuff with added sugar.
Now I’m going to show you how to change everything. So the key to transforming your eating habits and creating lasting weight loss is being able to eat consistently healthily and for that to become an automatic habit.
As I’ve been explaining, when willpower’s involved – for example, on a diet – your brain works against you. Now you can probably understand why 95% of people can’t lose weight and keep it off when they’re dieting.