Does Weight Loss Start in Your Head?

Did you decide that 2018 would be your year to lose weight? What if losing weight is not really about working out more, or calories consumed, or the type of diet you are on? 
Of course, if you are eating a particular regime strictly, and you are being successful long-term, this post won’t apply to you. You may have already mastered the head-game about food. But most of us are still pawns, at the mercy of our culture that serves us up fast food on every corner, serving sizes of candy, soft drinks, and pastries that could feed 5 people, and restaurant portions fit for an elephant.
Humans are very complex. And so weight loss may not be simple, or it would not be such a “big” problem for so many.
We all know about “stress” eating, when people eat because they are worried or confused. But there are many other triggers that cause us to over-eat. Knowing those triggers can help you to avoid the traps you may be falling into without realizing it.
Trap Number One is the See-food trap. We may well be hard-wired to reach for food we see. After all, it is only in very recent history that so many people have had an abundance of food around them. Seeing food and smelling food starts a chain reaction in our neuro-endrocrine systems, in our brain and our hormonal systems, that causes us to react, by first wanting, and then reaching for, food that we don’t need right then, and especially for food that is not really food at all. Does anyone think that donuts are actually food?!
So, one thing you can do is put away all foods that tempt you to eat them that are junk or snack foods and sabotage your diet. Throw out all the junk food in your cupboards. That includes your desk drawers at work. If you cannot do that because of the family, make an agreement that all snack and dessert foods will be put out of sight.
You may have to make a pact with your colleagues at work, also. One study showed that employees eat less candy if candy jars have lids instead of being in open containers. At one of the studios in Burbank, all junk food dispensers were removed. Ask that donuts and cookies be covered in the lunchroom. Or better divide the lunchroom so that junk food eaters have one section, and health-conscious eaters have another section. This is a matter of out-of-sight, out-of-mind, out-of-mouth.
Trap Number Two is going out to eat. Don’t eat at your desk. Get out, take a walk, meet friends. But bring your lunch from home, or eat at a restaurant that has healthy options and lots of protein and salad choices. See if the people at your table will agree to skip the bread basket. Share entrees or order appetizers. Decide before you go out that you will skip the carbs, such as the bun with your burger, or eat veggie and protein meals. Not only will this assist weight loss, it will also make you more productive in the afternoon. Don’t bring food that needs to be microwaved. Take the time to prepare a lunch that will carry you through the afternoon. This takes some planning and extra time to prepare, especially to avoid that sandwich with bread and cheese. Try lettuce wraps, and add good fats with bacon and avocado. One slice of cooked bacon is 43 calories. One ounce of cheese is 100 calories, and it usually takes more than one ounce to create enough cheese flavor for you to notice. Concerned about the fat in bacon? A small amount of fat will keep your blood sugar level through the afternoon. Which leads us to…
Trap Number Three is late afternoon energy drop. Our adrenal-cortisol levels, and our blood sugar levels, drop in late afternoon. That can produce an energy crash that makes us reach for food. The crash may be worse if sugar or refined and processed foods were eaten earlier in the day. First, drink enough water to keep your cells hydrated. Especially if you drink coffee, which causes the kidneys to work harder, you cannot use thirst to determine if you need to drink more. Cells need sufficient water to be able to move out waste and toxins, and uptake nutrients. Keep protein and fat snacks available. Nut butter with a piece of fruit might work. IF you can keep your blood sugar more stable, you may find that you can make it to dinner and not over-eat. If you can keep ingredients for a protein drink handy, this is a smart solution.
Trap Number Four is snacking in front of your computer or television. You might eat simply out of boredom, or habit. Try some mild exercise, nothing too strenuous that will interfere with sleep. Play a game, go for a walk, or read a book to break the habit if you have been accustomed to eating after dinner. The body does better if it does not have to process food constantly, so fasting between dinner at 6-7 and breakfast the next morning, gives the body a chance to catch up. You should be hungry and ready to eat in the morning. If you are not, you may be eating too much at night.
Trap Number Five is fear of hunger. This causes eating ahead of hunger because of worrying that there won’t be food available at the time. Some people eat right at bedtime for fear of waking hungry and others eat between meals.  Keeping blood sugar stable by eating healthy fats and proteins should help. The body also gets used to eating frequently and it may take some time and patience to get used to not eating as often. If you are at all overweight, your body does not need to eat as much food as you are currently eating. Your waist should be smaller than your hips, for men or women. If it is not, you are over eating.
Trap Number Six is delaying weight loss until a better time. If you delaying losing weight because you are under stress, don’t.  It is even more important to eat healthily when you are dealing with stress. And avoiding sugar and carbs may help you to sleep better, and keep your hormonal system more balanced, which will only help you cope better with stressful events.
Trap Number Seven is getting too little sleep. The metabolism slows down and the body craves more energy (usually sugar and processed foods) when you don’t get sufficient sleep. If you find that you are hungry at night, try going to sleep earlier. Your body may be simply tired, and that is interpreted as hunger. People who get too little sleep are often adrenal-fatigued, and that will affect blood sugar levels. There is no substitute for good sleep.
So, you can see that the nervous system and the hormonal system are responsible for regulation of all body functions, including weight loss and weight gain. Knowing how to manage this system gives you tools to modify your habits, without as much struggle against cravings and energy crashes.
A Detoxification program, or a Blood Sugar Balancing program can help jumpstart weight loss, improve mental clarity, sleep, skin and digestion. Find out how this can be part of your winter reboot by emailing me or making an appointment to see me. Text 818-863-6346 or email
Make 2018 your year to realize your goals and dreams. Healthy weight maintenance can make rest of your life more pleasurable when focus and clarity and steadfast energy help you to achieve
what you would like most out of life.