When you are out of routine you can find yourself eating differently. 

Think about when you were last on holiday.…. likely you were more relaxed about what you ate and drank, and ended up consuming more. Who’s watching anyway? 

Most of us can get away with these behaviours for a holiday period, but we are always glad to get back to normal – we know we can’t go on eating in this way without consequences.

But is has been difficult over the past 4-months, self-isolating at home, unable to expend calories in the same way. Holidays and events cancelled, disengaged from hobbies, goals changed. An increase in stress due to job losses, money worries and striving to juggle home schooling, and paid work. Many of our everyday habits have changed, quickly.

Many of those furloughed have been struggling with boredom, a lack of stimulation and a sense of purpose – which can manifest as stress. A lack of physical contact and a sense of loneliness has been felt by most. The whole experience testing our mental health and making us realise how fragile, resilient and resourceful we can be.

Considering the stress that people have been under, and the habits we have had to adopt, it’s not surprising that many people have put on weight over lockdown. In my role as a Clinical Hypnotherapist, weight loss is the most common goal and I would say that emotional eating behaviours are often the biggest challenge which clients want to overcome.

The sum of emotional eating behaviours + lower levels of physical activity in the current climate have led to a predictable outcome.

Emotional eating can be classed as eating for reasons other than for hunger or fuel. Do you ever do it?

I think most of us engage in it at times. Do you ever celebrate with food or drink? Grab a donut or a pint to cheer yourself up? Do you ever fill an emotional void with food? To occupy yourself, to pass travel time, to help you to relax or to assist you to concentrate? Maybe you’ve never thought about it in this way before. Do you eat when you’re studying? When you’re traveling, when you’re reading, watching tv, or when you go to someone else’s house? Do you go straight to the fringe in your parents house?

It’s interesting to notice the associations and triggers around us which link with our food habits.

Many of our eating habits link with other positive behaviours, but like all behaviours, we can over indulge. We can set up associations and create habits which can cause us problems and conflict with our goals.

It is true, we all “treat” ourselves with food at times, but these days there’s always an occasion. “Its Monday, it’s Friday, it’s raining, it’s post lockdown Wednesday!”

Habits, like emotional eating may not be problematic in your younger years when time is plentiful, you have more freedom and metabolism is high. You can just burn it off, do an extra gym session or go for a run! Even if you eat for reasons other than hunger, many people can still manage to maintain their weight, with sport, exercise or being active at work.

Yet we know that weight gain can creep up over time as your body adapts to accommodate the excess, unused calories. But most of us don’t want our bodies to adapt and get bigger to store fat and there comes a time when we need to take action.

Weight gain and obesity is a symptom of the problem which can often become a bigger problem than the trouble that you were consciously seeking to solve through food (i.e sadness, boredom, anxiety).

Let me explain this further – a common pattern may look like this: you may initially eat because you feel bored, but then every time you’re bored rather than doing something you grab something to eat. This becomes a pattern and over time you put on weight. You don’t like how you look or feel this then impacts on your confidence and how you dress, what you do etc. Most importantly, we have the health implications of being over weight.

We all know that obesity is one of the biggest and most preventable threats to health, increasing our risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and corona virus.

Last month, the Government cited healthy lifestyle and tackling obesity as a priority over the forthcoming months. This is a positive and encouraging step which I hope will encourage more people to realise the links between lifestyle and health. I hope there will be a renewed wave of motivation and action to get fit and improve health related behaviours.

If you are ready to change, getting into a better mindset in terms of food will help you re-establish better habits. I hope that this article has helped you to realise that it’s what you do most of the time that counts. Make your habits work for you and don’t be a slave to them. Consciously create habits which serve you NOW, not what has worked in the past or works for other people. Here are my top 3 tips on how to get started without feeling overwhelmed:

  1. Planning and recording what you eat can help you to stay committed to healthier eating patterns. Doing this will help you to recognise patterns and association so you can break any emotional ties to food.
  2. Keeping a simple food diary will support you to stay accountable. ⁠ ⁠You can gain a sense of achievement from sticking to it⁠ whilst feeling healthier and more positive about getting back on track. These actions of self-care are likely to influence other positive health behaviours.
  3. A loss of control can impact on your motivation and decision making. Remind yourself that things are changing. Feel empowered and decide that it’s time to take action and get back on track.  ⁠ ⁠ 

You can feel more empowered, recognise emotional eating habits and nip them in the bud NOW!

Do you need more help with improving your food mindset and breaking long term habits which have been preventing you from reaching your goals? ⁠ ⁠ 

Sign up for the free 5-day challenge which I’m running in partnership with Thrive magazine. It kicks off on Monday 27th July.

How this challenge will help you…
This free challenge is going help you identify any negative habits you may already have formed, help you to create positive eating habits to change your mindset around food.

The challenge will help you make long-term changes to your eating habits and weight loss by offering the following:

• Supportive Facebook group community

• Psychology based advice around eating and changing your mindset 

• Daily accountability and healthy habits challenges

• Coaching from experts in behavioural change, psychology and nutrition.

• Accountability and support – so that you can keep going 

Click on this link to sign up today.

@emmahowellsdavies @performancecircle @thrivemagazine

#healthyhabits #mindset #food #fitness #nutrition #lifestyle

© Performance Circle 2016