Women are constantly bombarded (in the press, advertisement, films and television) with images of the perfect body. The enormous pressure built up on them leads many women to go on diets to help them lose weight. Some women have developed a very unsettled relationship with food, followed by complains of chronic constipation, lack of energy or food intolerance. one thing common to all eating disorders is the love-hate relationship with food.
Try working out through following exercise to understand how your body works with food, so as to turn eating into a positive experience:-
1. Understand the nutrients your body needs:
The body puts on excess fat only when it takes in calories it does not need. As a member, you will gain knowledge of your individual nutritional needs, so as to manage your body in a healthy manner. Here you will understand that food has far more uses than simply the negative one of “making you fat”. It is important to try to get your body to a stage where it is a little stronger, without feeling that your weight will carry on going up and up.
2. Calculate your ideal body weight:
Use your body mass index to calculate your ideal body weight. BMI of 19-25 is considered healthy. Below 18 is considered underweight. You can check your target weight at: www.womenfitness.net/freetools.htm
3. Understand that body’s fluid levels change everyday, several times a day:
Try to get out of the habit of excessive weighing, once a week should be the maximum. This might not seem easy when you have been used to obsessive weighing, so throw the scales out, or give them to a friend or put them in a hidden place. Whenever you are tempted to weigh yourself adopt distractive therapies like, a walk etc.
4. Make a list of pastimes that make you feel good:
Write down your favorites pieces of music or books that you seem to associate with happy times. you can also list down name of friends and relatives who can offer you support in time of need. Keep your lists in prominent place so that you can take immediate action when you are feeling vulnerable.
Gentle exercise can help you feel good about your body, but punishing your body with 2 hrs. exercise is not what you need.
5. Make a food list:
Try dividing foods into four groups:
Foods are those that you feel safe eating-include fruits and vegetables, apart from bananas, pineapple, avocados, along with yoghurt, canned diet drinks, black coffee. Occasionally try pasta, rice, potatoes and white bread.
Carbohydrates foods. Other foods might include cottage or low fat cheese, fish, meat, chicken and breakfast cereals.
These foods are those that you don’t like. These are genuine dislikes rather than any psychological fear of eating.
Try WF healthy recipes from: A list of choices various foods.
6. Try to reawaken the taste, temperature and sensation in your mouth:
Many anorexics and bulimics, don’t taste or feel food in their mouth. They see food as enemy and something that has to be swallowed quickly. Try to acknowledge food within your mouth, enjoy its smell and taste as you chew and swallow it down. This will help you to identify the signals of satiety and fullness, leaving you less guilty.
The ultimate goal of this exercise is to stop the guilt/panic attacks that accompany eating, not to make you take in calories. Concentrate and respect everything that goes into your mouth to feel positive about food.
7. Avoid keeping your binge foods at home:
Keeping the binge foods locked in a cupboard will make it easier for you to avoid the temptation to binge. If you have a list of binge foods (the classic ones being bread, biscuits, cookies, cake, chocolate, ice cream) try to replace them with more nutritious foods which will provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals e.g. fruits, salad etc.
8. Try to drink no more than two litres of water a day:
There is no doubt that water is essential for healthy and normal functioning of various body function. But filling up empty stomach with water is not advocated. Take small sips of water throughout the day.
Also do limit your tea and coffee intake throughout the day. Tea and coffee bind vitamins and minerals in your gut and prevent your body from using them effectively. Being diuretic, they also make your body excrete nutrients in the urine. Initially you might face withdrawal symptoms like headaches, but this will pass out with time.
9. Stop Using Laxatives and diuretics:
Continued use of laxatives and diuretics can lead to abnormal amount of fluid loss. The temporary loss on the scales can prove damaging to your health. A healthy diet based on cereals, fruits and vegetables will help you to achieve and maintain a healthy state. Refer to the food guide pyramid to base your everyday diet on a healthy foundation.
10. Try to build a structure into your diet pattern:
Try to follow a meal pattern of at least 3-5 meals a day at the same time everyday, this will give you a sense of being in control. Whatever pattern you choose, adopt one that you will stick to, so that some normality can start filtering into your life.
You can even start by breaking up the day into 3 units for e.g., morning, afternoon and evening. At the end of each unit, analyze yourself and goals achieved. Give yourself positive feedback, you can even write it down in your personal diary.
If you are able to achieve your goals in all the three units, reward yourself with something other than food e.g.. massage or a facial. Remember the more positive attention you give yourself, the more likely will you be able to accept your body for what it is and not struggle for an unachievable image.
The transition from an unhealthy lifestyle towards a healthy one might not seem easy or come overnight. By modifying your eating habits you might be amazed as to how good it feels to release yourself from the eating disorder “jail”.
Women Fitness is here to walk every step with you towards a healthy and enjoyable eating of food.