When it comes to losing weight, the things you tell yourself can make or break your efforts. If you tell yourself that you are unable to do something, that will, unfortunately, become your truth.
This fact is clear to most of us from an emotional/motivational stand point but it is also true when it comes to the food we put in our bodies. Our false beliefs, and misunderstandings, about food can prevent us from meeting our healthy life goals.
Here are 7 common food related thoughts that you should definitely reconsider:
1. "I can't help it. I'm addicted to junk food."
If you believe you are powerless to stop the cycle, you will be powerless to stop the cycle. A study from the University of Liverpool, found that women who were randomly told that they were "food addicts," were very concerned with their food consumption. This label caused them to eat less but they also displayed a greater fear of food and ate so fast that they did not really taste or enjoy the snack they were served.
Remember, you always have a choice. Take a deep breath. If you want something, eat a reasonable portion, and enjoy it. Taste your food. Take your time with it, there is no prize for the fastest eater. If you slow down, not only will notice your food has more flavor, you will give your brain a chance to catch up to your stomach. It can actually take up to 30 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full!
2. "Let's celebrate over margaritas and pizza!"
So many of our celebrations revolve around food. And there is nothing wrong with that. Gathering with people, sharing joy (and food), is a beautiful thing. The trouble arises when you use food as a system of reward or punishment. Both junk foods and rewards release the "feel good" brain chemical, serotonin. So, when you reward yourself with junk food, you are creating a very good feeling, around very bad for you foods. "Rewarding yourself with food is a dangerous habit that is often started in childhood by well-meaning parents," explains Susan Albers, PsyD, a food psychologist and author of 50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food. "But a real reward is fitting well into your pants."
3. "Devil's food cake really is the devil!"
Labeling foods as being "good" or "bad" can create a rebellious streak in you, according to a study out of Cornell University. When participants were told that "all sugary snacks are bad," they ate 39% more cookies than the participants who were given a positive or neutral message about the cookies. Instead of attaching positive or negative emotions to your food, it is better to honest and balanced. "If you want to change what [you] eat, a more even-handed message that contains both positive and negative information is the way to go," said Naomi Mandel, Ph.D., one of the authors.
4. "Granola bars are healthy, right?"
Many foods we find in the stores labelled as "Healthy" or "All Natural" are anything but. In many ways, these labels are meaningless and say little, to nothing, about the nutritional value of the food itself. Problem is, when foods are labelled as healthy, we are more likely to overeat them. This is why it is so important to pay attention to portion size. And be sure to read the label. Make sure what you are eating really is healthy and not just a marketing strategy.
5. "I'm swearing off pizza forever!"
When our weight gets us down or we are feeling guilty about over doing it at dinner time, it is easy to say "never again." Unfortunately, according to Albers, this type of cut and dry thinking is likely to backfire. Instead of banishing your favorite foods (which can lead to binging later on), take time to sit quietly and enjoy each bite. "Recent research indicates that accepting rather than pushing away cravings helps to reduce them," she explains. "It sounds counterintuitive, but fighting with yourself leads to poorer decisions."
6. "Eating ice cream really does help me feel better after a breakup."
There is a reason comfort food is called comfort
food. It is soothing! But just because it is an option that works, doesn't mean it is the option you should choose. "We have the misguided belief that eating large quantities of delicious food will give us a lot of pleasure. Unfortunately, food is only pleasurable up until a point," says Albers. Try to find the balance between feeling stuffed and comfortably full. All of this involves listening and being attentive to what your body is telling you. Albers says to eat slowly, while seated, and without distraction, so you can pay real attention to how you are feeling. When you take this time, you may discover that your go-to comfort food isn't nearly as comforting as you had previously thought.
7. "The only way to get rid of a craving is to indulge it."
Many processed foods are designed to get you to eat more of it. So, if you just give in to your cravings to get them over with, it could backfire on you and set off a full on binge. But, if you have other tools at your disposal, you can combat this problem. A study from Carnegie Mellon University found that people who just imagined eating food, in detail, had fewer cravings for that food. You can also try drinking a big glass of water, going for a walk, or starting a new activity. Just changing your situation can alter your craving.
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What do you think BodyRockers? Any of these faulty food beliefs sound familiar? Don't be shy, share your story!