ASK THE EX­PERTS

Ad­vice on be­hav­iour, ed­u­ca­tion and skin­care

Friday - - Beauty -

RUS­SELL HEMMINGS

I CAN’T STOP OVEREAT­ING!

Q I’m a 27-year-old woman and ex­tremely over­weight. Al­though I’ve been warned by my doc­tor, I can’t stop overeat­ing. I’m suf­fer­ing from hy­per­ten­sion. I don’t want to be like this any­more. I can’t even go out as I don’t look nice and feel peo­ple will stare.

AThe old say­ing ‘the night is dark­est be­fore the dawn’ def­i­nitely ap­plies here. Your life­style sounds un­sus­tain­ably un­healthy, but on a pos­i­tive note you’ve al­ready taken the first step to­wards a slim­mer you; you’ve clearly recog­nised the rea­sons why you are over­weight and you have made the firm de­ci­sion to change your life.

To start with, I think it’s al­ways es­sen­tial to have in­put from your doc­tor – I rec­om­mend con­sult­ing with them be­fore you be­gin al­ter­ing your life­style.

The most ef­fec­tive changes are the ones that start out small, but re­main per­ma­nent. Un­der­stand and keep track of your health so you can en­sure the changes you are mak­ing to your food in­take and ex­er­cise out­put are hav­ing a pos­i­tive ef­fect on your well-be­ing, not just your weight.

Now, the sec­ond thing to do is to stop be­ing so hard on your­self. An im­por­tant step on your jour­ney to­wards stronger self-con­fi­dence is to ac­cept that we are all dif­fer­ent and that even though the me­dia might have you be­lieve there is a right and wrong way to look, this is sim­ply just not true.

Don’t ex­pend en­ergy and head space on wor­ry­ing about what oth­ers think – this is about you and what you want.

Overeat­ing is, in my view, the eas­i­est di­etary bad habit to fall into. If you’re some­one who lacks self-con­fi­dence and feels un­com­fort­able in your own skin, you may be prone to com­fort eat­ing, where you overeat un­healthy foods in bulk to try and drown out neg­a­tive emo­tions. This in turn cre­ates a vi­cious cy­cle; the more weight you gain the less con­fi­dent you feel about your ap­pear­ance, so you com­fort eat, re­peat­ing the process.

There are a cou­ple of strate­gies you could try to get your por­tion sizes un­der control. First, start by keep­ing a food jour­nal. Try to eat as you nor­mally would and be as de­tailed as pos­si­ble, in­clud­ing writ­ing down all the thoughts you have and the emo­tions you feel sur­round­ing eat­ing. Keep it for a week and this way you will col­lect a great deal of in­for­ma­tion about how much you eat and your think­ing pro­cesses and trig­gers.

Next, try and cut back on those por­tions. As overeat­ing has be­come more and more com­mon­place, the av­er­age size of our din­ner plates has in­creased too. The ‘Mind Diet’ ad­vice is; never serve your meals on a plate any larger than the two open palms of your hands. As your plate shrinks, your por­tions will too, and you’ll trick your mind into think­ing it has eaten far more than it has. Throw in some healthy

An im­por­tant step on your JOUR­NEY to­wards stronger self-con­fi­dence is to AC­CEPT that we’re all dif­fer­ent – though the ME­DIA might have you be­lieve there’s a RIGHT and WRONG way to look

swaps and you’ll be on your way to curb­ing overeat­ing, and most im­por­tantly, low­er­ing that blood pres­sure!

Your mind is where it’s at. Change your think­ing pro­cesses and you’ll change your be­hav­iour. Think small; small ad­just­ments, small steps for­ward, smaller por­tions, and you’ll end up with a smaller health­ier ver­sion of you… but that’s the most im­por­tant bit – do it for you and no one else.

60 is a life coach, and clin­i­cal and cog­ni­tive be­havioural hyp­nother­a­pist

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