Today is Day 4 of the ‘Why The F Are We So F-A-T?’ Experiment!

Today’s F is…..Focus

Lots of the time, our eating happens unconsciously  – on auto-pilot. You’re eating before you realise it – your hand is in the cookie tin and the cookie is in your mouth before you even recognize what’s going on. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there!

This is called ‘’mindless eating’ – eating when your mind is somewhere else, and eating for a reason other than hunger. Because the food was there and you picked it up without thinking, or because you want distraction, or a break, or something else. We all eat mindlessly for non-hunger reasons – it is ok and very human. The difficulty when we’re struggling to lose weight is that mindless eating occurs more often than is helpful.

So rather than begin by changing what we’re eating, we first need to start to increase our focus on why we are eating. We need to start to notice the conditions in which eating occurs and ask ourselves, ’Is food what I really need?’ Given that mindless eating is pretty unconscious, this is easier said than done!

So I’d like to introduce you to the three step WHY Process to help you do this. WHY is an acronym  – and it stands for 3 things you can experiment with doing differently as you make the decision to eat.

  1. W is for ‘Wait’ – which is to pause before eating
  2. H is for ‘Hungry?’-  which is to ask yourself, ‘Am I hungry for food or something else?’
  3. Y is for ‘Yes’ – which is to say ‘yes’ to food or ‘yes’ to another need you need to get met

The first step – waiting – is arguably the hardest to do because eating is unconscious – so this step is really about remembering to wait and pause before eating. In the short term, you can find a reminder to help you. The best way is to put a reminder on your dominant hand or wrist. Your dominant hand is usually the one you write with, and it’s the one that you generally use to reach for food. If you join me as a member of the ‘WhyTheF Formula’, you will receive a subtle wrist band to help you with this, but other ideas of reminders are:

  • Moving your watch so it’s on your dominant wrist
  • Wearing a charity band, elastic band, hair band around wrist
  • Writing a * on the back of your hand
  • Wearing a ring/painting nails etc.

Anything that acts as a trigger that when you are reaching for the food you are reminded, “Oh yes! I’m doing something differently with food on this experiment, what it is again?”

Which leads us on to step two – asking yourself ‘Am I hungry for food or something else? Is food what I really need right now?’ The first thing to say here is that you might not know if you’re really hungry – many of us have lost our ability to tune into our hunger because in our modern day lives we tend to eat simply because it’s a mealtime, or because someone else has prepared something for us, or it’s just there and available and looks delicious! I have lots of strategies that can help you figure out your ‘Hunger Number’.

If your ‘Hunger Number’ tells you that you’re not truly hungry, then you are trying to solve a problem using food. You can therefore start to experiment with asking yourself, ‘What AM I hungry for?’ it might be a break from whatever it is you’re doing. To cheer you up. As a distraction. To bond with someone…..

Other F’s in this Experiment will help you to figure out what you’re hungry for, and what problems you may be trying to get solved by eating.

For now, the experiment to hold in mind is simply, ‘Am I hungry for food or something else?

 

Come on over to Facebook or Twitter. and and share what you’re hungry for and I’ll see you tomorrow for day 5!

 

With best wishes,

 
Dr Jen
 

Dr Jen Nash, (CPsychol, AFBPsS, ClinPsyD, BSc)

Clinical Psychologist

Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society
 

The Science Bit:   ‘Why the F are We So Fat?’ and the ‘EatingBlueprint’ are copyright Dr Jen Nash. If you’d like to share these ideas, we’d love you to! Please include a link to www.eatingblueprint.com, or even better – talk to us about how we can work together. Get in touch at hello@eatingblueprint.com.