Your struggles with food and weight are deeper than you can realize on an intellectual level.
Research tells us what's healthy or "good" for our bodies. But, if it was just as easy as knowing, than these struggles wouldn't be so prevalent.
Eliza Kingsford, a Licensed Psychotherapist specializing in body image, eating disorders, obesity and weight management, says it's important to merge the scientific data with the human condition in terms of the types of behaviors you've developed over time (influenced by both nature and nurture).
Understanding your biology and how your genetics mix with your food choices and behaviors is just one part of the puzzle.
As unfortunate as it may seem, you must look at these struggles as a lifelong battle, similar to a chronic disease. You need to understand just how important choices and behaviors are in order to attain sustainable change.
No one plan works for everyone. Look at your patterns, behaviors and triggers. Until you look at the how and why you reach for food, you'll always return to those behaviors. Knowing you're up against a natural instinct may help, but don't use that as an excuse.
Cultivating mindfulness allows you to be comfortable with living more intentionally, rather than in a reactive manner.
The "3 R's"
Recognize: realize that you have a trigger. It doesn't have to be something traumatic; it might be as simple as receiving an email from your boss and wanting to avoid it, so you head to the kitchen.
Replace: instead of turning to food or other bad behaviors, replace with a healthier or more nurturing behavior.
Repeat: the more you flex the muscle of recognizing your triggers and replacing with something non-food related, the more your brain will shift.
Moderation vs. Mindfulness
The concept of moderation can be dangerous, because it's so subjective. Our brains can rationalize a lot of choices. You can easily justify that "moderation" is only eating half a pizza instead of your typical consumption of the entire thing.
Moderation is only applicable to
a) how much you ate previously (pizza example)
b) how much you enjoy a certain food (if you don't enjoy ice cream, you can practice "moderation" with a spoonful or two... but if salt is your go-to, you might end up eating an entire bag of Goldfish crackers)
A better approach is asking "is this serving me?" or "is this in line with my goals?" Will you feel guilt or shame afterwards?
Listen as Eliza joins Dr. Taz to explain why so many of us struggle with food demons, as well as how you can take a different approach to food and weight by practicing mindfulness.