Welcome back to week 8 of our 12 Week Weight Management Programme. You are now two thirds of the way through the programme, coming back each week is a huge step in reaching your long-term goals.
How did you get on last week? Did you write and use a shopping list?
We have just 4 weeks of the weight management programme left and now is a good time to check-in with your progress. Look at your notes from week 1. What was your long-term wellbeing target?
If you've found that your outlook has moved and you want to change your target, that's fine. It’s your target. Remember to write it down and consider how to measure it.
Retake your measurements and write them down. We would suggest that you check your weight this week.
Are you achieving the wellbeing target that you had expected?
The opinion we have of our self is often referred to as our self-esteem. We all go through times when we don't feel good about our self. When this feeling becomes constant our mental health and the quality of our life can be affected.
When we feel good about our self, we have positive self-esteem and feel positive about our life in general. When we have low self-esteem, we often view our self negatively and can be rather critical.
Just as our relationship with food often develops from childhood, so too can our self-esteem. There can be many influential people in our early lives, for example parents, grandparents, siblings, other relatives, teachers and friends. All of whom can help to shape our view of our self in both positive and negative ways.
The media and celebrities can also have an impact on us, our sense of self-esteem and how our opinion of our self develops.
More about self-esteem
Getting into a negative cycle
You might feel that you’re 'a rubbish person' because you struggle to manage your weight or that you've disappointed family members because you have to work so hard to maintain your weight.
Often, when you think about aspects of yourself that you dislike, the language you use towards yourself can be unkind and has a critical tone. This can lead you to comfort eat, which can lead you to feeling critical of yourself, which can, in turn, lead to further comfort eating and the negative cycle continues.
What would I say to a friend?
If you're often self-critical or negative about yourself it can be useful to think about what you say to yourself. Ask yourself if you would say the same thing to a friend about them?. And if not, why not? Because it is untrue, or too harsh, too nasty? Well, then why is it alright to speak to yourself in the nasty, critical or untrue way?
The answer is, it's not alright and in order to improve your mental wellbeing you would benefit from practising this exercise; “What would I say to a friend?”.
Do you ever say, “You’re pathetic, because you haven’t lost any weight!” but ask yourself “Would I say this to my friend?”, the chances are you wouldn't.
So, reword this and tell yourself something positive instead, such as “If I commit to keeping my lifestyle diary and achieve my physical activity goals, by next week I will have lost weight.”
Mindfulness and mindful eating have been mentioned already in the programme. When we're being mindful, we're able to focus our mind and be in a state of awareness of the here and now. We can do this when we're eating and at other times in the day, it can be a helpful way to deal with our mind when it's busy or overactive.
So just as mindfulness has a part to play in maintaining our mental health, the principles can also be applied to our eating behaviour – we can eat mindfully.
What do we mean by mindful eating?
So mindful eating is being fully present, in the moment and aware of:
- every mouthful we eat
- the texture of the food on your tongue and in your mouth
- the smell of the food
- the colour of what you're eating
- the taste of the food and different combinations of the food
- any sounds associated with what you are eating - does it crunch, pop or sizzle?
The opposite to mindful eating is eating without thinking. This is something we all experience, but we don't always realise that we do it.
We may recognise when we go to have another bite or mouthful only to find that it is already finished. Eating when we are not fully present in the moment and aware of what is going on inside and outside ourselves.
The raisin exercise
The raisin exercise is an exercise in both mindful meditation and mindful eating. We encourage you to practice this exercise.
You're aiming to use all your senses when studying the outside shape and texture of the raisin. Before moving on to using your sight, smell, touch, taste and sound to fully appreciate the experience of eating a raisin.
For this exercise you will need a raisin or other small piece of fruit:
- Get yourself into a comfortable seated position.
- Invite yourself into the present moment by taking a few breaths, and just notice how you feel physically.
- Place the raisin in your hand, notice the reaction you might have to pop it into your mouth right away.
- Look at the raisin, study it with curiosity as if you’ve never seen one before.
- Notice how it feels in your hand, and between your fingers – the texture, shape and weight.
- Notice the colour of the raisin and if it has any unique features or blemishes.
- Imagine where the raisin has come from, how it started as a plump juicy grape on the vine. Picture the workers on the farm harvesting the grapes and another set of workers transporting the raisins to the shop where you bought it.
- Slowly bring the raisin to your nose to see what it smells like.
- Continue to notice any thoughts of like or dislike you might have as you observe the raisin.
- Notice whether you’re anticipating what it will taste like.
- Notice if you are already starting to salivate or feeling an impulse to put the raisin straight into your mouth.
- Very slowly, place the raisin on your tongue in your mouth, without biting into it.
- Explore what it feels like in your mouth, notice what your tongue is doing. Keep it in your mouth without chewing for at least 10 seconds.
- Notice what it’s like to take this time before eating the raisin and notice how 10 seconds feels like such a long time.
- When you are ready, slowly and gently bite into the raisin, taking one or two bites.
- Without swallowing, notice what it tastes like, notice how its flavor and texture changes as you chew.
- Notice your natural impulse to swallow it.
- Now when you are ready, swallow the raisin, notice the sound of this happening.
- Sit quietly and notice what you are feeling.
Well done, you have just taken part in a mindful eating exercise. In a state of awareness, you focused on the colour, texture, smell, taste and sound associated with eating a raisin.
Recording your lifestyle
Recording your lifestyle using our diary, your journal or app, or taking photos is important.
Setting your goals
It's time to set new goals for next week. When setting your weekly goals you should:
- decide which day next week you will be coming back to this programme, this will be the day you can review your goals
- consider the areas for change we have discussed this week
- look at your lifestyle diary/journal/app/photos and choose areas where you feel you could make a small change over the next week
- ask yourself what you can do more of, what you can do less of and what would help you me make these changes
- add 1 or 2 new goals - we recommend 3 to 4 weekly changes goals are the most you should ever set yourself
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.
For next week
During the next week:
- continue to update your lifestyle diary
- try doing the raisin exercise, any small piece of fruit will do if you do not have or do not like raisins
- spend 5 minutes each day practising mindful eating