Psychology and mental health at the center of your diet plan
By Jane Pegg
- 3 min read.
Health & Wellness
Photo by Sage Friedman / Unsplash
Why you should put psychology and mental health at the center of your diet plan
Despite government efforts, obesity rates have continued to climb as nearly one in every two Americans gained weight over the last two years. In the modern world, weight represents one of the greatest challenges to public health.
On an individual level it can be a struggle to reverse the process of weight gain as habits such as emotional eating represent significant challenges.
Start with the foundation
You wouldn’t build a house on unsound foundations, it would only fall apart at the first sign of a storm. Treat your body the same way. Mental health is the foundation to successfully maintaining your physical health.
This is especially true for weight loss which more than anything is an effort in mental energy and willpower to resist cravings and binging. So first thing’s first, work on the basics. Do your best to implement a consistent, healthy eating and sleeping schedule.
Increasing the proportion of protein and fiber in your diet will leave you feeling satisfied for longer and help you resist the urge to snack between meals. If you regularly find yourself unsatisfied by meals there are a few psychological tips and tricks that can help.
Research has shown that eating slower makes you feel fuller. This is because your brain wont receive the signal for satiation until at least 15 minutes after you start eating.
We should all be staying hydrated regardless but as an added incentive drinking plenty of water is another great way to keep you feeling full for longer.
Retrain your brain
An unhealthy relationship with food is the root cause of weight gain for millions worldwide. Whether it’s stress eating, constant snacking or absent minded munching there’s a myriad of ways your unconscious approach to food could be hampering your weight loss efforts.
The first and most important step in tackling this issue is to take stock of your eating habits. Keeping a food journal is a great way to achieve this. This is best done by collecting a few weeks worth of data, carefully logging every calorie as well as dates and times.
Including information such as your mood or potential triggers for snacking can be invaluable for this process of introspection. This should leave you well equipped to analyze and identify the how, where, when and why you might be going over your daily calorie limits. Oftentimes you’ll find that the culprit is an accumulation of little things such as salad dressing adding up to push you just over the calorie threshold for weight loss.
Weight loss may be a physical process but success is for the most part reliant on psychological factors. This is one of the main reasons dieters struggle so much.
Building a set of healthy, foundational habits and behaviors will give you the best possible chance for success. For many, this requires a revision of what it means to diet.
The end goal isn’t just a number, it’s a sustainable change in behaviors that will mean you don’t just lose the weight but keep it off for good.