The most important aspect of any weight loss journey is a healthy diet. But following a healthy diet isn’t something that happens overnight. It requires discipline, commitment, planning, and most importantly, a healthy relationship with food. That seems like a strange phrase, doesn’t it? A relationship with food? In short, what this means is a combination of knowing what foods we ought to eat and which we should avoid, as well as knowing when and how much of it to eat. Unfortunately, in trying to build a healthier lifestyle, we are often tripped up by triggers and eating cues. These are varied, as some cues are biological, others are emotional, and even though we tend to overlook them, some are even environmental or social. Knowing how to identify these, as well as building habits and developing strategies to overcome them, are useful and beneficial tools that aid you on your path to healthy weight loss.
Food As a Biological and Environmental Cue
People need food to function. This is something everyone knows, but there is a difference between eating to live, and the lifestyle of eating. Being around food sets of a biological chain of events that gets us ready to eat, and while this is fine at mealtimes, or for a planned snack, it’s easy to forget that these situations arise in social or public settings. For example, seeing and smelling food stimulates us in a way that induces hunger. We get a craving or an urge to eat, we salivate (which is an important part of tasting and digesting food), and if available, we tend to go right for it. We’ve all been there. You’re at an event, and there is a bowl of chips with salsa right next to it. Or we’re in line at a pharmacy, and for whatever reason, there is a display rack of candy right underneath the register. These are just parts of day-to-day life that we’ve become so used to that we sometimes just indulge without thinking about it. What’s worse, is that we have ready-made excuses or justifications for it. Stopping at a gas station before a long drive? Oh, well it’s a long drive and I need something for the road. At a birthday party? Oh, they got too much, it’s going to go to waste. These are just part of the human experience, and the occasional indulgence is fine. Demanding absolute perfection, with no wiggle room, is a surefire way to derail even the most committed among us. But it is important to be mindful of the fact that, regardless of the situation, food will have the same effect on us either way, so take steps to mitigate the damage. Try having a glass of water before you eat, and for that matter, keep one with you. Having one less free hand is a built-in deterrent against overindulging!
Food Culture Regarding Screens
“Screen time” has become such a common phrase, it’s hard to remember a time before we were surrounded by screens. Whether it be a TV, a laptop, tablet, or phone, they are everywhere in our daily lives, and usually are a main source of work, education, or entertainment. Screen time is an extremely common trigger for snacking or drinking. Think about it for a second. The new season of your favorite show just came out on whichever streaming service you use, but before you even start watching, you go to the kitchen and get a can of soda and a bowl of chips or popcorn, that way you can have it ready to go and watch uninterrupted. The fact that the unhealthiest foods also tend to be the most portable and convenient for snacking makes it even more likely that we’ll choose these, since we don’t have to prepare them. And unfortunately, binge watching goes hand in hand with binge eating. Again, if done in moderation, this is okay. But be mindful of what you are snacking on, as the calories count regardless of whether it is a meal or a snack. Health tip: go for something with plenty of fiber and crunch, like baby carrots or almonds, as these are foods that you really have to chew on. Remember, slowing down when you eat helps you feel fuller, and snacks like these will tend to last a bit longer if you can’t finish them in two bites!
Boredom is as Much a Trigger as Hunger
Sometimes, we eat just because we have nothing else to do. We all know the feeling. We’re home, no plans, and we open the fridge to see if there is anything we can snack on. At first, there’s nothing, so we just try to find something to watch, but nothing interests us, so we go back to the fridge, even though we didn’t find anything before, and pick something anyway. Maybe leftovers, or a can of soda. Ultimately, we take in the excess calories because there was nothing else to do. Food is an essential part of living, and a fancy meal every now and then is a memorable experience, but we should be mindful of mindless snacking. Next time the cravings come for no reason, try to pick an activity, even if it something as simple as a quick 20-minute walk, or a bit of music. A body in motion stays in motion, and you’d be surprised how often a little bit of activity can give you a second wind, and the desire to do something productive!
Medical Professionals Can Teach You How to Identify Cues and Triggers
When all is said and done, weight loss and proper nutrition falls under the category of medical science. By seeking the help of trained professionals, you not only have better resources to succeed, but the support structure you need to build better habits. The professionals at Olivera Weight Loss have over 40 years of experience in helping people reduce their weight to a healthy BMI, in a clinically proven and medically safe way, and with the means to help their patients keep it off. Patients who qualify for medical weight loss treatment with Olivera receive Phentermine, an FDA approved, clinically proven appetite suppressant, which is an excellent way to jumpstart better habits with proper portions. And keeping in mind that our state of mind is just as important to the weight loss journey, counseling can help cope with the stress in our lives that makes achieving our health goals more difficult than needed. With our established patients having the option to continue their care with our Telehealth service, receiving the support, encouragement, and continuing education they need, we make it easier than ever to follow your plan!
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