One of the miserable aspects of perimenopause is that we tend to put weight on. There can be many reasons for this but one of them is because of how and why we eat. We generally focus on what we eat and that is important but the reason behind the eating is also HUGE and is making us HUGE.
The food we eat is meant to be a source of nourishment and sustenance. The only purpose of eating is to provide us with the nutrients needed to grow, rebuild, repair, regenerate, provide energy, keep us strong, maintain our health and keep us in excellent physical and mental condition.
Over millennia we have also used food to bring people together to celebrate and commiserate and in doing so we have attributed emotions to it – usually joy.
This is a wonderful thing because food is fun and should be fun and we should enjoy – I know I do. The problem is that we are now using food as a relationship. We use it to replace a mother, brother, sister, lover or friend. We use it to boost our self esteem, to reward us when we have done something good, soothe us when we are down, drown our sorrows or pass the time when we are bored.
Many of us eat because of unconscious patterns and thoughts, usually driven because of how we were brought up or saw our parents role model eating. As kids you may have been given lollies as a reward for being good or participating in a sport. You may have been poor and food was scarce so now you eat as though every meal might be your last. Perhaps your parents’ cooking skills were lacking somewhat and so now you crave tasty food. You may have had parents that cooked for you with love and equated empty plates as a sign of love and respect. You may have been told that if you didn’t eat everything on your plate that you were somehow contributing to world famine and showing ingratitude (I know that was my experience) and for years I have had to battle the urge to eat everything on my plate and my kids plates just to not feel guilty.
Take a moment now and think about your own relationship with food and why you behave the way you do.
True hunger is when we are truly hungry. If we are eating for any other reason, then we are eating emotionally. If you could eat an apple then you are hungry. If an apple isn’t doing for you and chocolate and wine is what you want then you are probably not hungry. I can tell you now that in my experience, one of the main reasons for weight gain is emotional and mindless eating. Most of the eating done for this reason is usually high in fat, sugar and salt and therefore energy. When we don’t burn that energy off we store it as fat…hence the weight gain.
I have lost more weight from eating mindfully and addressing the reasons behind my eating than anything else.
When we are perimenopausal, everything seems to heighten – so the emotional eating that we have been doing for years will really start to make a difference now because we are adding erratic hormones to the mix.
So spend some time today tracking what you eat, how you eat and why you eat. This is something we spend quite some time on in our programme and we give you the tools to change those patterns and eat more mindfully. .
Awareness is the first step to changing your habits which will change your life.