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20October2017

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Be the healthiest you (Part 2)

Do you struggle to keep a healthy weight? Do you get sick often? Read the second part of “Be the healthiest you” . . .

Apart from giving your body all the nutrients it requires, it is also essential that you get to know your body’s hunger scale and healthy eating habits.

Get to know your hunger scale
If someone tells you: “Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full”, it might sound strange and confusing. This method is a manner that will help you to get in touch with your body. It is called the hunger scale. Your car’s fuel tank is a good analogy for this scale.

The hunger scale will enable you to recognise physical hunger. It begins at -10, which means you are extremely hungry, and ends at +10, when you are completely full. Zero is neutral, where you are neither hungry nor full. You need to refer to this scale in the same manner you would refer to your car’s fuel tank.

The moment your body reaches -2, it is time to eat something, but when it reaches +2, you should stop eating, even if it’s in the middle of a meal. It is surprising how little food you actually need without getting physically hungry. Do not question your body, but get to know it. You will experience the signals in your body and will feel satisfied without being too full. If you can follow this important guideline, you will never be overweight again.

Initially it is not easy, because if you stop at +2, your negative thoughts and emotions of the past will threaten to get the upper hand. To stop at +2, is your first marker to success. You respect your body and you and your body are on the same side. In this manner, you will work together to get rid of fat. As long as you and your body are stuck in a war against each other, you will never win.

Structure of the hunger scale
• Eat six small meals a day at least three hours apart. (Two of these meals can be a high-protein bar or shake.)
• Eat a portion of complex carbohydrates and a portion of protein with every meal.
• Add at least one portion of vegetables to three of the meals.
• A portion is the size of your palm or fist – the actual size of your stomach.
• Drink six to eight glasses of water a day, it’s good for you.

Learn the source of your hunger
How do we distinguish between the sensation of hunger and a hunger feeling? The sensation of hunger is biological and physical, and is caused when your body’s tank is empty. Emotional hunger can feel the same, but it is just an emotion in the heart. It is important to distinguish between them. Emotional eating to fill the space only aggravates the hunger in the heart.

The four types of eating habits
Once you have a better relationship with your body and you can implement the hunger scale, you will see that there are times when you are not hungry but you want to eat. This can happen when your resistance is low and you want to eat to feel better, or if someone puts food in front of you and the temptation is too big. Do not let this discourage you. It is not necessarily a bad thing. You will get to know your eating patterns and gain insight into your emotional life.

By categorising your eating habits, you can evaluate and understand when you do not eat according to your body’s hunger signals. It also gives you an indication of what you eat. There are four different categories: Eat for energy, eat for pleasure, unconsciously eating and storm eating. Each bite you eat falls into one of these categories.

1. Eat for energy: 90% of the time
We need to eat for optimal energy. Energy food is rich in nutritional value and nutrients. Meal supplements are very popular. High-protein bars, shakes and vitamin supplements are designed to complement a balanced eating plan.

Rules
• Something that you want to eat and that your body needs.
• Begin at -2 and stop at +2 on the hunger scale.
• Eat 90% energy foods.

2. Eat for pleasure: 10%
It is not going to do anything for your body, but it tastes divine. Cakes, sweets, ice cream and salty snacks all fit into this category. Every now and then you need to eat just for the pleasure of it because it is one of the reasons why a quick-fix diet with its restrictions does not work. At a birthday party, you share in another person’s joy by eating a piece of cake with them.

Rules
• Eat for pleasure 10% of the time.
• Plan for something you are really in the mood for.
• Enjoy every bite and stop eating the moment you no longer enjoy it.
• After you indulged, go back to eating energy foods when you are hungry.

3. Unconsciously eating
This is the popcorn at the movies, the chips in front of the television and the “tasting” while you cook. You are not really enjoying it because you hardly realise that you are eating. It’s like eating behind your own back. It’s not fun and does not benefit your body or well-being. If you eat, be aware of it.

4. Storm eating
This is like a storm where you feel completely out of control. You know you are overeating, but you cannot stop (you binge eat). A storm luckily starts and ends. It can happen because you deny yourself certain foods and experience it as a shortage. It can also be an indication of emotions and feelings that things are out of control. The most important thing to remember when this happens, is to not judge yourself. It gives you an opportunity to figure out why it happens.

Being healthy is more than just what you eat
Healthy eating habits are essential, but how your body processes the food that you eat is just as important. If your gut is irritated, you might feel bloated, swollen, uncomfortable and experience constipation or diarrhoea, and the nutrients you consume cannot be absorbed in a healthy way. Sunpharma’s Bowel Balance can relieve these symptoms and restore your daily routine, so you can focus on being the healthiest you.

Food and a slim body does not have to control your life. Being the healthiest you means being healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually. A healthy body and eating plan is just one important part of being truly healthy. Your body and soul will show you the way.

Source: Castillo, B. If I am so smart, why can’t I lose weight: Tools to get it done. BookSurge, 2007 (My mentor and life model).

Article by Annelize Steyn and Melissa Jansen van Rensburg