by Irene Maltzan
I don’t believe diets fail because of willpower. It goes much deeper than that. Stress and being on autopilot is usually the culprit. I see clients every week and most have the same issues that they can’t seem to get to the core of. Why can’t they pass up the bagel, the ice cream, the glass of wine? Is it really the lack of willpower or cravings? What I believe can help us overcome even the most difficult challenges is mindfulness. When we allow ourselves to be in the present moment we can slow down and breathe. If we focus on how we are feeling instead of being buried in our phones or glued to our computer screens, then we can figure out what we are really hungry for.
Instead, we may be hungry for a nap, a hug or connecting with a friend or loved one. Bringing awareness to why we are eating something and being completely present is as important as what you are eating. We have become a society where mealtime is no longer a sacred ritual. Instead, we eat while working, driving, watching television. It is no wonder that we are so out of touch with our eating. Sit down dinners with family members is an important way to connect to our spouse or children. Eating on the run is anything but nourishing.
If we are craving sweets, it is often because we are not getting enough good fat in our diet. Crunchy food cravings, such as popcorn or pretzels, can indicate we are trying to de-stress by crunching through our stress. Chocolate can be a magnesium deficiency or a need to feel loved. Chocolate contains a feel-good chemical called phenylethylamine that raises our serotonin and make us happy. If you want to improve your nutrition, start by simply being present when you are eating. Sit down at the table. Dine with others. If a craving arises note how you are feeling. Take a few deep breaths. Focusing on how you eat will help put you in touch with your nutrition and improve your health. Bon Appetit!