Is it just me, or does the amount of information out there advising us on what to eat and how to exercise get a bit overwhelming? I know I had a moment last year where I was completely fed up of reading conflicting information on what I should or shouldn’t be eating, that was why I created the Super Conscious Living Programme. The same goes for exercise, one article will suggest that constant rate cardio is bad for us yet another will say that it’s fine!
The thing is, most of us know how to eat healthily. Yes, some people do need to be more aware of which foods are the healthiest and which foods to eat to support weight loss or a specific condition, but generally healthy eating isn’t rocket science, unless you make it more complicated than it needs to be. Eat a range of whole foods and minimise processed foods kind of sums it up in a simple way as far as what to eat goes. Exercise might be a bit tricker, but again most of us know that moving our bodies a few times a week is good for us.
What I’ve been finding, particularly in my health coaching practice, is that what to eat and how to exercise are only part of the problem. For many of us, the issue is what goes on inside our heads.
There’s so much information out there on food and exercise, but for health, wellbeing and weight loss, I’m beginning to think a lot of it just misses the point.
In my own personal struggles, I often focused on what I was eating and how I was exercising, without paying any attention to what was going on inside my head. I realised a several years ago that I was exercising well and eating healthy food, but I was feeling out of control because I couldn’t stop eating. It wouldn’t have mattered if I was eating the healthiest foods in the world (which to some extent I think I was) because for reasons of boredom, stress and emotions I just wanted to keep eating.
That really brought it home for me, it doesn’t matter how ‘perfect’ your diet or exercise routine is, if you don’t deal with the stuff going on inside your head that presents itself through some form of disordered eating or poor relationship with food, you’ll never be able to get to a healthy place that is sustainable. It’s not to say that any kind of over eating or eating from an emotional place is inherently ‘disordered’, we’ve all been out for a meal and ate a little too much or enjoyed some chocolate when we’ve felt in need of a lift. The difference is when that over eating or emotional stuff gets out of hand.
Recognising behaviours with food that are driven by habit, boredom, stress and emotions including unhappiness and in some cases even happiness, then trying to address them, is just as important as what you eat and how you exercise when it comes to your health, and especially weight loss.
I’ve come to a lot of conclusions on how all of this factors into my own personal relationship with food, which I’ll share in another post. It’s also one of the reasons I jumped at doing a course in CBT this week, with the aim of being able to better support my clients. A few years ago I also did a course in Neuro Linguistic Programming and I’ve found a few of the techniques I learned there have been useful for clients too. We also cover the emotional / boredom / stress side of being healthy in the 12 Weeks to Feeling Fabulous Course.
I’m not saying that food and exercise aren’t important because they are, but I do believe that not addressing the psychological aspect of our health is leaving a huge part of the puzzle missing.
What are your views on this? Have you been affected by psychological side of eating?