How do you teach patients to make good food choices?
The most important aspect of weight management is to make healthy food choices. Not just while participating in the weight loss program but throughout your whole life. We try to train patients from the start to use their mind and to help them believe that they can do it, become healthier and make good food choices. An important thing we tell patients is that they use the power of allowance. For example, if they see unhealthy, indulgent foods and think to themselves, “I cannot have this.” It means that subconsciously they still want it but can’t have it, that they have not changed their way of thought. We advise you now that instead of thinking, “I cannot have this”, say clearly in your mind, “I can have this, I don’t want this.” So what is the difference here? “Cannot” means you are not allowing yourself and “I don’t want this” is an exercise of free will and free will is the most powerful thing over the mind. When you feel that you have allowed yourself to have something rather than depriving yourself of something that sensation of deprivation goes away. When many people begin a weight loss program, that deprivation creates pressure that can make them quit the program quickly. Always say, “I can eat anything but I choose to eat healthy food.” This says you are allowing yourself to make choices and exercising your free will. Now you can focus on healthy food and as we have previously discussed, what you focus on with your mind becomes your life experience.
The second thing we advise is to eat food before going out. A good choice would be nuts because they secrete hormones in the gut that suppresses your appetite. Something to be aware of is that if you consume food too quickly, you may overeat before your body can tell your brain that you are full so we advise to eat slowly. Another suggestion we make is to always have in mind what you will order at a restaurant to avoid cravings from seeing and visualizing the items on the menu. When grocery shopping, many stores keep their fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats on the outer parameter of the aisles. Most food within the aisles is processed and while they may be low fat or low calorie, they may also be high in sugar or sodium.
The last and most important thing to keep in mind is that it is that you will likely make mistakes. These mistakes may make you feel guilty and attract negative feelings. These negative emotions may make you commit more mistakes and it is important to forgive yourself so you can stay in the moment, in the present and focus on your goals. If you know that for whatever reason that you know are going to indulge yourself in unhealthy foods or drinks that you allow yourself to consciously make that mistake. It is important to understand that unhealthy foods will only give you pleasure and not long lasting happiness. The difference between pleasure and happiness is that pleasures are short lived and that sensation of pleasure happens because we are indulging our senses. The senses work only with change in their threshold, so even if you eat your favorite foods every day, after a while you will not enjoy it anymore because your senses work with and enjoy change.