Part of my success at losing weight has been changing how I think and feel about food and the consumption of it. There is no doubt I have always enjoyed eating – probably a little too much! Perhaps it is the French blood in my veins.
If I am aware that an event is coming up where I’ll have limited control over my food intake, I prepare myself mentally in advance for the choices I may need to make.
At one time, I’d have just “let it go”, eaten what I fancied and however much I liked. But now that my weight loss is real and I am benefiting so much from not carrying around the additional weight, I want to ensure that I never become hugely overweight again.
I often try and find an on-line menu for a restaurant or pub I’m planning to eat at. I browse the menu and look at the various options. Sometimes the plan changes (for example, there was a lovely looking “dish of the day” when we went out last week).
Sometimes I know that the food will be calorific and that healthy choices are few and far between. Last week I was invited to an awards ceremony with a sit-down three course Indian meal. I knew what food we would be eating, and of course – being Indian food, much of it was deep fried and I am certain that there was a lot of ghee involved! So I knew that my meal earlier in the day would need to be fairly low in calories. I was driving to the event and rarely drink alcohol nowadays, so alcohol wasn’t going to be a problem. I ate fairly sparingly, and didn’t eat anything that didn’t appeal. For example, the desert was something called “Gajjar Halwa” – made with nuts, milk, sugar, khoya, ghee and (interestingly) grated carrot! It was sickly sweet. I did have a small spoonful, but then left it!
In terms of logging and weighing food portions / making wise choices and sticking within calories…. it suddenly happens that you arrive at a moment in time when you realise that it is YOU who is in control, when it is YOU who makes the choice of whether to eat this or that – and more importantly, it is you and only yourself who puts the food into your mouth…. That is the moment when magic things start to happen and the weight starts to go down regularly, when your healthy choices start to become almost automatic.
Suddenly the realisation dawns that this weight loss journey isn’t some sort of punishment to be endured, that you aren’t being denied lovely food. The lure of the unhealthy foods, cake, chocolate (or whatever else your nemesis is) – starts to lose its hold on you. You take control.
I was going to say “take back” control, but I realise with hindsight that I probably never had control over my eating until now.
YOU are the one in control and YOU control the lure of the food, not the other way around.
I write this from the heart as someone for whom the magic started probably about 4 years ago now… my weight loss journey started 6 years ago, but it did take a while for that psychological magic to take place.