If you want to eat healthily or lose weight, you need to work on your relationship with food.
The diet culture leads us to "restrict" and "deprive" ourselves. Certain foods become forbidden and "bad". But the reality is "nothing is forbidden in moderation".
But often "moderation" isn't moderation because certain foods have a hold over us.
So what is a healthy relationship with food?
And how can you can your relationship with food?
Hello and welcome to the Fit and Fabulous Podcast with me, Dr. Orlena Kerek!
It is now August and we've had a few days of rain here in Spain, which is something I'm grateful for because although I love the summer, it is very hot. It’s really lovely to just have a little bit of respite and to know that the summer will return.
The other thing that is happening in my life is August is that this month marks the two thirds of the way through our adventure, which is living in this tiny, yet beautiful house whilst our house is being done up.
We've still got four months to go before we move back to our home, which feels like it hasn't been a home for such a long time. I guess eight months is a long time.
It's a beautiful house, but there are six of us squeezed into a small space and if you have noisy boisterous children and you're trying to work, you will understand how much of a challenge that can be.
But I'm also very grateful to this house because it has everything we need.
Today, I want to talk about your relationship with food.
I was talking to someone this morning and she was telling me how she diets on and off over the years. I asked her why she does this dieting and essentially she said, she has a habit of doing it since she was 18.
So many people go through this journey of dieting. They create this possibility, this vision of how amazing it's going to be. They’re going to feel fabulous. It's going to be wonderful, except they obviously have to get there. They start off and do really well but then life happens. Then we start listening to that left-hand side of our brain which tells you to stay safe and keep things as they are.
People then tend to enter into this mindset of, ‘I can't do it. There's something wrong with me. I am broken. I have tried so many of these things.’
Let’s say you weigh a hundred kilograms and have 50 grams of fat. You start dieting and exercising and you lose some weight. Some of that weight is going to be muscle and fat.
Then you go back and you stop dieting and exercising.
At this point, let’s say you lost 10 kilograms so you now weigh 90 kilograms. Since you lost some muscle tone, what happens when you go back to the way you were eating is you are going to be gaining more fat.
The problem of jumping on and off your diet is it doesn't help your proportion of fat.
Research says that dieting does not work. If you’re aiming to live a healthy lifestyle and lose weight in ways that are depriving and restricting, it's not going to work.
People might diet for six months, but after years they go back to where they were. And that's really the test. It's looking at the long term.
The key to healthy living is to address the underlying causes of our habits
The idea of our relationship with food is one of the fundamental pillars that I teach which is emotional wellness. It is such a fundamental part in making healthy changes because if we don’t address the underlying reasons for why we do things, we aren't going to make changes that stick.
I aim to teach people to get to healthy living just out of habit and without having to think about it.
You exercise in a way that you really enjoy, that you find fun because you love it.
So for me, every single morning, I'm at the beach at 10 because I love to swim. I don't get up and swim every morning because I think I ought to do it because I feel some sense of obligation to do it. I do it because I love it. And I know that it gives me energy, helps me feel better and more in control of myself than if I don't.
This is where I want you to get to. It's all happening on autopilot so that you don't have to think about it.
What does it look like to have a good relationship with food?
Nothing is forbidden in moderation. I know we talk eating foods that are more healthy and avoiding foods that aren’t healthy. The truth is you can still eat packaged foods but just in moderation.
One of the arguments I hear people say is, ‘I want to eat those delicious packaged foods all the time and if I can't eat it all the time, then I feel deprived.’
One thing that I would love you to do is to fall in love with healthy foods and really see that they are tasty and delicious. They can give you the same pleasure as those sweet packaged foods.
If you want to lose weight and push yourself towards healthy eating, then eating a lot of fruits and vegetables will help you accomplish that.
Let me tell you a story of Alexis. She was a client that I had a few years ago. She would eat chocolate on the way back from work, because she felt that was a way of looking after herself.
We put in systems and habits and routines in all four of the pillars. So one of the underlying issues was that she didn't feel that she was looking after herself. We worked on that and she decided to give up chocolate for a couple of weeks.
She would go back to it for the next couple of weeks but eventually she got to the stage where she's like, ‘Chocolate just doesn't do it for me anymore. I don't get the same enjoyment as I used to. What I'm actually really loving is these healthy foods.’
You just have to step away and see the bigger picture and think, ‘I've got this desire, but I can have a desire for something else. And I can fulfill that desire for something.’
As mentioned earlier, you can still eat the things that you want to eat but just in moderation.
If you're eating lots of packaged foods all the time then you are going to put on weight. But you can shift that to eating lots of healthy foods and say, ‘I'm eating foods that nourish my body, that provides me with the energy and the nutrients that I need. And from time to time, I enjoy these other foods, and then I stop and I don't have this overwhelming desire or urge to carry on.’
Getting from where you are right now to where you want to get to requires a little bit of work. It requires a bit of trial and error. It requires looking at the thoughts and emotions that are going on underneath.
I enjoy everything that I eat. I enjoy eating food. And yes, sometimes I overeat as well. That happens. But the reality is if you're overeating fruit and vegetables, you're overeating far fewer calories than if you're overeating on packaged foods.
And yes, from time to time, I eat packaged foods. My kids love ice cream and I also indulge sometimes I have to confess. But again, I know when to stop.
I was talking to a client a few days ago and she said, ‘I just don't have this mindset of, I enjoy creating food.’
Now here's the hard truth as parents. We have to create food for our children, so you can choose to enjoy it, or you can choose not to.
You can figure out how to make it fun and how to make it less of a chore and figure out the bits that you don't enjoy doing.
For me, one of the things I've done is I love to experiment with how I can take something like fruit and vegetables or something healthy and create an easy recipe that works for my family. Sometimes I win the game and sometimes I don’t because they don’t like it.
A few weeks ago I was experimenting with nuts. I soaked cashews, whizzed them up and put them in the freezer. None of my kids liked it.
I tried again with peanuts and I added some cocoa and raisins. And again, my kids didn't like it.
Bottom line, try to find fun and different ways of doing things and creating healthy food and turning it into a game.
If you have this mindset that ‘I'm not allowed to eat these foods.’ That is depriving yourself. You're always going to come from a place of feeling deprived and what you’re doing is sacrifice.
You need to change how you think about things so that you can come from a place of loving what you eat and loving what you do. And yes, from time to time, you have treats and that is fine but just in moderation.
Tomorrow, Wednesday on August the fourth. I am hosting a workshop called the, Fix My Relationship with Food Workshop.
If you're already on my email list, I will send out an invitation for that. If not sign up to be on the email list. I hope you can make it. It will be at 8:00 PM central European time, which is 7:00 PM in the UK.
If you can't come then join the Facebook group. Have a lovely day, and I will be back with you again next week!
Grab "Dr Orlena's Road Map to Healthy Amazing You" to be sent the zoom link. (Or if it's after the date, the next free workshop). https://www.drorlena.com/roadmap-healthy-amazing-you
Dr Orlena is a health coach. She helps busy mums go from "I can't lose weight" to feeling fit and fabulous. Find out more about her here.