Last month while traveling in Europe I met up with my Slovenian girlfriend Mila. We know each other for a long time but don’t get together very often. I live in New York, she lives in Rome and we rarely coincide in space and time.
Mila is 30. She is an example of that perfect balance of beauty and intelligence. 10 years ago she came to Rome and made a career as a gallerist. Now she is planning her wedding with Marco, love of her life.
We met in a small coffee shop on Piazza Navona. It was a hot and lazy day in Rome. We were talking about a thousand things for a few hours when she told me something I did not expect to hear.
-God, I am fat and weak.
-Huh? What are you talking about? – I stared at her. You look amazing!
-See, all my life I used to be the lucky skinny bitch. I could eat pizza and cake every day without gaining a pound. Now, that I turned 30 and got engaged, I put on 10 pounds and cannot seem to do anything to get rid of them. I go to the gym twice a week but I cannot stop eating and what is worse, I cannot stop thinking about food.
She looked at her glass of water and sighed.
-And how is that a problem for you?- My internal psychologist immediately sprang into action.
-Well, my wedding is in 6 month end I am afraid I will not fit in my perfect dress, I feel inadequate knowing that I cannot control my appetite and I think about food all the time. She sounded desperate. I never counted calories and now it seems, I will have to start.
She asked me if I had any psychological tips that could help her.
And I did. Here I’m sharing them with you.
Psych tips to control weight:
1. Diet are evil. Any diet. Ever. Always. No matter what they tell you.
The problem is that most diets are intended as a temporary solution. Every diet has its beginning and its end. Our brain wants to avoid stress at any cost. Every time you start a diet, you cut calories and the unmistakable message is sent to your brain – starvation. That’s why we keep thinking about food when dieting. What is worse, after the diet- and now please answer honestly- how quickly did you gain back the weight you lost? And that’s again not your fault. It’s our survival mechanism. Your body makes sure that you have enough resources for the next time you” starve-dieting”.
WHAT TO DO? Change your lifestyle and your eating habits. Don’t jump on diets sporadically. The change should be well thought out and permanent.
2. All you need is love.
Think about that last time you were in love. I am sure you were starting your day thinking about him/her and I bet you were ending your day making love or texting in the bed. You simply had no place for food in your thoughts. Do you remember how easy it was for you to lose weight then?
WHAT TO DO?
Well, ideally just go ahead and fall in love. But considering that it’s not an easy task to accomplish just by willpower alone, come up with something you could become passionate about: a new project, a new hobby, a new, well … anything. One condition – it has to be powerful enough to keep you engaged and to bring you excitement and satisfaction in the long run.
3. Be gentle to yourself.
I know you are probably tired of the “love yourself the way you are” routine. And I agree with you. There is no room for growth when you are totally satisfied with the way things are. But to grow and change for the better, you want to be loved not punished. Who do you think will work better, someone you constantly criticize and beat up or someone you encourage and reward? Every time you’re eating yourself alive with guilt because of that second piece of cake, you get stuck with negative emotions and a simple chain of events follows. Negative emotions lead to stress. Stress sends a signal to the brain, the brain requires consolation. One of the fastest and easiest consolations is food and here you are eating that third piece of cake.
WHAT TO DO? Avoid stress. Find a way to recharge your mind. Yoga, meditation, mindfulness, self-hypnosis. The choices are numerous and are entirely up to you. But if you did eat that cake, just take a note of it (why did it happened? Were you tired? Did you have enough sleep? Were you annoyed by something?) Learn the lesson (what kind of healthy choice should you make in the future) and move on. Gently.
And now tell me, what are your secrets of maintaining the body you’re comfortable with?
For more information www.hypnoclinic.com