In week 4 we will look at the link between your mood and eating patterns, and learn about mindful eating
Welcome back to week 4 of our 12 Week Weight Management Programme. You are now a third of the way into the programme, well done on reaching this milestone.
How did you get on last week? Were you able to be more physically active?
Have you been keeping your lifestyle diary, journal, app or taking photos over the last week?
If not, it might be helpful to think about what is getting in your way. Keeping a diary or journal will help you be more open with yourself about what you’ve eaten and how active you’ve been.
This is one of the weeks we’d like you to think about your longer term wellbeing target and how well you’re progressing towards this.
Look back at the wellbeing target you set in week one and the measurements you took then. Retake these same measurements and write them down. We would suggest that you check your weight this week.
We know that how we feel affects not just what we eat but also how we eat. We also know that what we eat and how we eat affects how we feel.
This week we’re going to think about the link between how we’re feeling and what we eat, the link between our food and our mood.
The relationship between our mood and food is complex. We all have our own personal relationship with food. Our own personal reasons why we have the relationship with food that we do.
We can eat to feel better or because we’re lonely and sometimes we eat to block out what we’re feeling. For many people food is associated with being comforted, as a way to deal with unpleasant emotions.
Our eating patterns can develop in childhood, for example, when we hurt our self as a child we might have been told:
We also learn from a young age to use food as a celebration such as at birthday parties or a chocolate from the teacher for doing well in class. This shows us that the relationship we have with food, how it might have been developed and how far back in our life it has developed: it can all be quite complex.
Do you recognise the different reasons that you eat? When you next eat, try asking yourself “Why did I just eat that?”, was it because you:
All of this information can be captured in your daily diary or journal. Once you’re aware of these links and triggers to your eating you can develop alternative ways of dealing with how you are feeling.
Learning how to develop your awareness of the triggers to eating is a major step to learn ways to manage your mood.
We snack for different reasons, sometimes it’s a form of eating without even thinking about it.
Snacking in itself isn’t unhelpful, in fact, it can be a positive thing. Having a snack will help to keep you satisfied between meals so that you don’t overeat at your next meal. There are also ideas and suggestions for healthier snacking. We’ll return to this next week when we look at something called the hunger scale.
Mindful eating is when we’re fully aware of our behaviour when we’re eating, rather than being distracted or multi-tasking on other activities.
Eating without thinking is something we all experience but we don’t realise that we do it and it’s often the way we eat a snack. We know times when we go to have another bite or mouthful only to find that it is already finished. “Where did it go?” we ask our self and “Oh, I don’t remember eating that biscuit.” that is us eating without thinking.
It’s easy to see how this can happen when we’re having a snack, but it’s something we want to work on and change. Snacking without thinking can become an unhelpful habit if not managed and monitored.
In week 8 we’ll show you a mindful eating exercise, if you feel like it you can jump forward and try this now.
We have looked at why and how to record your lifestyle in week 1. If you haven’t started recording yet then this week is a good week to start and get yourself into the habit.
You could download our diary, use a journal or an app on your phone. In our lifestyle diary we have added a column this week for recording ‘How I am feeling’.
As we get further into the programme you may find that some of your goals have become a habit – a behaviour you do without thinking about it.
When you feel comfortable that a weekly goal has become a habit, you may wish you stop setting this as a goal. Move on and set a new goal around a different behaviour.
If you feel at any point during or after the programme that your old behaviour starts to come back then take some time to consider:
When setting your weekly goals you should:
You may need to keep your targets the same as last week, review them and make them more achievable or build on them. If you don’t meet your goals every day, that’s ok. It’s important to keep returning to what you’ve written down. We’ll review them next week.
Your can use our goal-setting tool to record your goals for the week, or print out our blank weekly journal (PDF, 42KB) to fill in yourself.
During this week you should:
Source: Public Health Scotland
18 May 2020