As an overweight person, I’d often look at thin people around me and wish if I could be lucky like them to never have to think about my weight.
I’d often think about what my life would be like if I was thin, healthy and fit. Even thinking about it would make my heart soar.
This thinking got further stimulated when I read Atomic Habits by James Clear.
In the book, James mentions that who we aim to become, the identity we want to create for ourselves, should dictate the systems we should put in place to achieve our goals.
This meant, if I wanted to become a thin, healthy person, I needed to look at life from a thin person’s perspective.
And that’s exactly what I started doing.
Observing the people who were healthy and naturally thin.
It wasn’t difficult to find such people.
Within my family alone, there were many examples of people of all ages and both genders who have stayed healthy and fit all their lives.
I was particularly fascinated by the examples where one spouse was thin and healthy while the other overweight. They were perfect for me to see and learn what a naturally thin person does that overweight people don’t.
Before I continue to share my finding, I want to pause for a second to introduce you to my Free Weight Loss Ownership Course.
This 7-day course helps you get an understanding of your weight loss goal while giving you a clear system to help you going and getting results from the start.
You can enrol for it in a quick second, here.
Because I was hell-bent on transforming my weight problem forever, I dedicated a lot of time observing naturally thin people.
I learnt that naturally thin people:
1. Eat only when they are hungry.
2. Treat food as fuel.
3. Do not attach any emotional significance to food.
4. Stop eating once they are satisfied.
5. Eat more fresh foods (sourced naturally) than processed foods.
These felt like common sense in the start. But when I started looking at my eating patterns, I noticed, I didn’t do any of these.
I ate food whenever I felt like eating. That meant, eating cookies hardly half an hour after breakfast or a piece of cake just because I saw it sitting in the fridge while I was searching for something else.
I ate because it was time to eat.
I ate because everyone else was eating.
I ate because the food tasted so good.
I ate because I didn’t want to sound uncourteous by declining the food offered to me.
I ate food because I couldn’t see it go waste.
Healthy foods like fruits and vegetables didn’t register in my mind as indulgence or overeating.
Simply because they are healthy for my body.
For me, food was a lot more than mere fuel. I ate food because I had an emotional attachment to it.
I ate food because I was feeling bored.
I ate food when I was happy.
I ate food to celebrate.
I ate food when I was sad, anxious or overwhelmed.
Whether my body needed what I ate or not, didn’t even cross my mind.
I had somehow lost track of the very fundamental, that why do we eat or why nature created hunger in the first place.
Food is meant to energise our body, to fuel it for function. That’s all.
Every other function we’ve assigned to food is secondary and even unnecessary.
Over the course of noting my eating patterns in my food journal, I noted, I ate way past the level when I felt satisfied.
I’d often eat till my plate was clean or I couldn’t stuff myself any further. And that was more of a norm than an exception.
These were an eye-opener for me.
I could see that there was no wonder I was obese because of the sheer amount of food I ate. Often mindlessly.
Awareness of a problem is the first step towards finding a resolution to it.
But a mere acceptance of these wasn’t going to change my habits of a lifetime.
I was smart enough to know that and wise enough to realise that the route to my freedom around food started right here.
If you’re overweight, I believe you too think about food like me. Like a fat person usually does.
But we have to work to think like a thin person if we want food to be our ally and not our enemy.
We have to start to accept ourselves for being human and realizing we are lovable and deserving like everyone else.
It doesn’t matter how much we weigh or how much we lose.
What really matters are our thoughts about ourselves.
Our thoughts about our food habits.
Our thoughts about our lifestyle.
And most importantly, our thoughts about where we want to go from the realization of how we ought to think about food to become healthy.
How to Start Eating Healthy?
Keeping things simple is my mantra to get started on anything I want to achieve.
That’s exactly what I have done in my Weight Loss Ownership Course. Given full control and ownership of the weight loss journey to the participant to shape their lives as they envision it.
Anyway, I digress.
I decided to begin searching for the top recommendations for healthy eating.
I wasn’t the first person trying to learn healthy eating habits so there was clearly no dearth of useful tips available to help me get started.
Some of the best ones that were clearly simple and easy to begin and got me results from the start were:
1. Eat in smaller size plates.
2. Eat in plates that contrast with your food to let you see exactly how much you’re eating.
3. Add more fresh produce to your every meal. Let the bulk be of freshly cut fruits and vegetables and the cooked meals be an accompaniment.
4. Drink water in shorter, fatter glasses than tall, slender ones. This helps you drink more water than you normally would.
5. Keep healthy, fresh food available and easily accessible. On the kitchen counter, dining table, front rows of the fridge.
6. Store healthy foods in transparent boxes while unhealthy foods in foiled or steel containers. Out of sight is out of mind.
7. Eat more variety of foods. Make salads interesting by mixing and matching the fruits and vegetables, condiments, dips and sauces.
Most of these hacks target our perceptions, our mindset and visual cues. This keeps stress off from having to continue reminding ourselves to watch what we are eating.
I love my meals to be stress-free. That’s why putting these simple strategies in everyday practice was very helpful to me.
The Golden Question
The only question I asked myself before eating anything was,
Am I Hungry?
Midway through my meal, I’d ask myself:
Am I Hungry?
I’d continue eating.
If anytime my answer to: Am I Hungry? came, Maybe!
I’d wait for 5 minutes to get a clear answer and then decide if I wanted to eat or not.
The One Phrase That Changed My Eating Habits
During my period of learning to eat healthily, I came upon an interesting concept.
Every time I say to myself, “I can’t eat this chocolate because it makes me fat” I am imposing a restriction on myself.
On the contrary, if I say, “I don’t eat chocolate because I am focusing on healthy eating” I am making a conscious choice in tune with my life goals.
Choices feel empowering while restrictions impose an undermining impact on our sense of power.
All of these are just the start points.
But don’t underestimate their potential to snowball into life-changing habits.
In future posts, I shall be talking about more mindset shifts and healthy lifestyle strategies that have helped me transform my life from being an obese person to a healthy person.
Our mind and body work together to achieve every goal we set for ourselves.
This is why changing our mindset, our beliefs and even the values we invest in play a major role in making changes to our lifestyle.
It is amazing how the weight loss experts never ever mention the importance of how our mindsets impact our body.
And we are ushered into the well of changing everything we eat, exercise till we are sore or give up to get a body that hasn’t learnt to think like a healthy thin person would.
This mismatch is the only reason why so many people want to lose weight but only a few are actually able to.
And still, fewer are able to keep the lost weight off forever.
If weight loss is your goal, I’d like to invite you to take my Free Weight Loss Ownership Course that’ll set you up with the right mindset from the start.
Be in charge of your weight loss. Take ownership of your health without falling for fad diets and exercise routines you don’t want to follow.