• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

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Setting and sticking to healthy eating goals

By Dr Bunmi Aboaba, Food Addiction Coach

Overeating can cause diabetes, arthritis, chronic inflammation, fibromyalgia and mental health problems and this is adding to the pressure on the NHS. At least 2.8 million people a year die as a result of being overweight or obese. A third of children leaving primary school are now overweight and more than 4,000 people a day are searching online for how to lose weight. Our overall relationship with food needs to be addressed.

If you want to make a change to your eating habits, it is vital that you give yourself the best chance of success.

Set Your Intention and SMART Goals

To progress and reach your goals, you must start with understanding where you’re at now. You can then set your intention of where you want to be.

Create a clear picture in your mind of where you are going and what you want to achieve. Intentions and beliefs are powerful and make huge differences to your journey.

As a food addiction coach, I recommend that all my clients set themselves SMART goals. This acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-specific. An example of how this could be applied to a goal such as exercising more, could include:

  • Specific – Setting a particular goal such as achieving couch to 5k.
  • Measurable – Logging progress each week.
  • Attainable – Understanding personal limitations which could prevent this goal from being reached.
  • Realistic – Altering the challenge accordingly and following through on a new basis rather than giving up.
  • Time-specific – Setting a date that this will be achieved, such as six

Those who do not set themselves SMART goals are the ones who are more likely to become disheartened, frustrated, and impatient. As a result, they lose sight of their goal and the intention behind it.

Discover Your Triggers

Do certain situations, feelings, moods or times of day prompt you to overeat? If so, it is likely you are being triggered. Triggers are habitual and operate unconsciously and will have you reaching for food, even when you’re not hungry, to satisfy an unmet need.

Therefore, it’s critical to identify your triggers and how they contribute to your negative behaviours towards food and eating. Take some time to outline the specific foods you find hard to resist so that you can become more aware of your personal food triggers.

Practice Mindful Eating

How you eat and where you eat is also crucial to your fulfilment. Here is how to encourage a more mindful way of eating:

  • Remove as many distractions as possible – Turn off the TV and remove all smart/screen devices from your mealtimes.
  • Eat in a positive space – Try to ensure it’s a clutter-free dining space, lay the table, use favourite crockery, and perhaps light a candle. This encourages you to be mindful and enjoy the moment.
  • Practice gratitude – Mindfully express thanks before and during your meal. This could be saying a blessing over your food or expressing thanks to yourself or the person who has prepared the meal.
  • Share your meals – Where possible, do not eat alone. Instead, share food with loved ones. Try and choose people with a positive attitude who will encourage and support you with your eating goals.

Plan Your Meals

Meal planning involves thinking ahead and planning the foods you will consume. This helps ensure that you have healthy food choices to hand and are less likely to return to old habits and pick up unhealthy foods.

It is vital to focus on bringing joy and excitement into your meals rather than think about what you are missing out on. Changing what you eat requires dedication and forethought, so try and plan a week in advance.

Select foods that will nourish both mind and body. Think about colour, texture, flavour, and variety. This will help ensure that you do not get bored with your new eating routine.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr Bunmi Aboaba is a Food Addiction Coach and leading authority on food addiction, helping clients achieve a healthy relationship with food to meet long-term health goals.  Dr Bunmi’s work covers the full spectrum of disordered eating, including overeating, compulsive eating, emotional eating, and other associated patterns. Dr Bunmi is creator of the R4 Method, a Food Addiction Certification to support nutritionists, nurses, teachers, health and fitness professionals, dieticians and medical clinicians to help their clients achieve long-lasting results. Dr Bunmi will be running 7-day self-care retreats for clients suffering from food addiction in 2022, and is author of Craving Freedom, a new book for those wanting to build a healthy relationship with food (published 1st Dec).

Web: www.thefoodaddictioncoach.co.uk

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bunmiaboaba/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefoodaddictioncoach/

Twitter: @FoodAddicti2

Instagram @thefoodaddictioncoach

1 “Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions In Britain 2019 | Statista”. Statista, 2020, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1085562/gb-popular-new-year-resolutions/.

2 “How Many People Kept Their 2020 New Year’S Resolutions? | Yougov”. Yougov.Co.Uk, 2021, https://yougov.co.uk/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2020/12/30/new-years-resolutions-2020-and-2021.

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