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You’ve made it.  4 weeks of discipline, habit-changing and eating whole foods.  Amazing! Other than the meal plan, here’s an overview of what the program covered:

Emotional Eating

There are times when you know that the craving you’re having has little-to-nothing to do with actually eating that food.  By reviewing the Emotional vs. Physical hunger signs, you may have noticed that there are times when you reach for a cracker when, in reality, you’re not actually hungry.  If you’ve noticed this pattern, here are 5 easy ways to reduce emotional eating.

5 Steps to Reduce Emotional Hunger

  1. Impose a 15-minute cooling-off period. Tell yourself you cannot eat for 15 minutes. After that time, if you still feel like eating, you’ll be free to do so. But during that 15 minutes, you’ll be completing the other four steps.  Your “appetite” will likely be reduced to the point where you won’t feel the need to eat.
  2. Get away from food. Leave the house if you must, but definitely stay away from the kitchen during the next 15 minutes. Emotional overeating often leads to “automatic” and “absent-minded” eating, where you don’t realize how much food you have put in your mouth. An eating binge may be avoided simply by getting away from food. Sometimes, it’s necessary to destroy the food that you’re craving so that the food becomes inedible.  For example, pouring it directly out of its container and into the trash can.
  3. If you are having “mouth hunger”, brush your teeth and drink a large glass of water (but still stay away from the kitchen for 15 minutes!). By cleansing your mouth, you can get rid of the taste of chocolate, cheeseburgers, or cookies or whatever else you’re craving, and help reduce your emotional appetite. Drinking water will also help if you are confusing thirst with hunger (which happens quite frequently).
  4. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling? Fear, Anger, Tension or Shame?” You don’t need to go into deep introspection over this question. Usually, the answer pops in your mind instantly, like one of those “magic 8 balls” with answers floating in the window. You’ll ask the question, and you’ll hear the reply in your mind pretty quickly: “Yes, you’re worried about your finances,” “Yes, you feel insulted by your mother’s words,” or “Yes, you’re jealous of the way he looked at that other woman.”
  5. Replace feelings of Fear, Anger, Tension, Shame with Self-Love. Metaphysical lecturer/author Marianne Williamson reminds us that we heal fear by pouring love on it. When you fill yourself with love, there is no room for negative emotions to exist. Remember the times in your own life when you were blissfully enjoying the feelings of romantic love or anticipating an exciting event? Remember how, during those moments, you had no desire to overeat?

Let’s return to that feeling right now with these two powerful steps:

  • Look for a butterfly feeling in your stomach. Concentrate on your gut emotions, and search for any sign of a pleasant, light sensation. This fluttering is much like the happy feeling you get right before something wonderful is about to happen – the same sense that you’d get if your name was just announced as a contest winner, or the way you felt on a childhood holiday morning just prior to opening a gift.
    It is the sense of love and fun that is always with us. Notice this feeling, and make it expand within you. Imagine yourself being swept high above all problems, riding on your butterfly feelings to a moment when all you feel is love, peace and a sense of playful anticipation. Once you try this step, you’ll know exactly what it means.
  • Stay in love with this moment. Here is an affirmation that will fill you with peace of mind if you declare it over and over:  “I forgive, accept and trust my Self.”

Additional tips to reduce emotional eating:

  •  Identify your triggers (situations, emotions, places, people)
  •  Limit trigger foods: Simply stop stocking your fridge and pantry with the foods that you binge on.
  •  Eat regularly: Skipping meals almost always leads to over-eating, craving, and binges.
  •  Create alternatives to eating: Whether it’s a bubble bath or curling up with a good book, planning other activities will help you relax and avoid binges.
  •  Don’t give up! When you trip up — because you will (we all do!). Don’t give up. Forgive yourself and start over with your NEXT choice. Don’t wait until tomorrow and blow the rest of the day.  Learning from your mistakes and focusing on the positive will go a long way in ensuring your continued weight loss success.

Water Challenge and Hydration

We mentioned the importance of water.  Hopefully, you’ve slowly increased your intake so that you are drinking at least half of your body weight (lbs) in ounces.  So, if you are a 150 lb woman, you’ll be drinking 75 oz of water.

Water just makes you feel good!  It reduces cravings, heals headaches, helps with constipation, hunger, and moodiness, it detoxifies, keeps skin looking younger, boosts metabolism and so much more.  In fact, your body is about 70% water. So drinking it in optimal amounts helps every body system.

4 signs that you are dehydrated:

  1. You have stinky breath – Dehydration means that you have less fluid in the body, which means that you have less saliva in your mouth, which means that you have more bacteria in your teeth.  Saliva works 24-7 to wash away food particles that collect on your tongue, between your teeth, and along your gums after you eat. If your mouth is dry, those itty bitty leftovers allow bacteria to grow, thrive, and give you bad breath, one of the signs of dehydration.  Plus, water rinses your mouth.
  2. You’re cranky.  Researchers at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory tested the mood and concentration of 25 women who drank healthy amounts of water one day and then didn’t over the next two days. When slightly dehydrated, the women reported fatigue, irritability, headaches, and difficulty focusing. In a separate test, men who were mildly dehydrated also experienced fatigue and had a tough time with mental tasks.
  3. Your skin doesn’t bounce back. Pinch the back of your hand and hold for a few seconds; when you let go, your skin should snap back into position pretty quickly. If it’s slow to return to normal, take that as one of the signs of dehydration. Skin turgor, a measure of skin elasticity, begins to decrease with a fluid.  With more moderate or severe dehydration, the pinched-up skin can remain “tented” in place.
  4. You get dizzy when you stand up too quickly.  One of the signs of dehydration is when your blood volume and pressure drops, which can leave you feeling dizzy, or bring on a rush of lightheadedness after you quickly get up from sitting or lying down.

Sleep and Routines

Your body likes routine.  It likes to wake up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time every night.  It will operate better with structure. However, if you just can’t seem to get to bed at a regular time, hitting your pillow before 11pm is optimal.  You see, many of your hormones are created and balanced overnight. And when it comes to weight loss, this is very important. You have two hormones that are greatly affected by lack of sleep – ghrelin, and leptin.  Ghrelin is the hunger hormone

When its levels are high (due to lack of sleep) you’ll find yourself always feeling hungry. Leptin, on the other hand, signals you when you’re full. Again, sleep lowers these levels making you eat without a good sense of when you’ve had enough. So, get your body ready for sleep by creating some routines and rituals around bedtime. Aim to get to sleep before 11pm for a solid six to seven hours. Not sure how long your body needs to sleep for? Once you’re well rested, your body will wake you up, without an alarm.

Nourishment

Nourishment starts from within.  How you feed and fuel your body but also how you feed and fuel your Self.  We encouraged you to start a food-mood journal to note your feelings about food. What are you missing? What are you tired of? Journaling your thoughts and emotions may help you discover the different connections you have to food.  

Once you have this awareness, you can start to find ways to nourish yourself that doesn’t involve food. What brings you joy? What can you do in times of sadness?  What kind of self-care practices can you start to help you feel nourished? Perhaps it’s a bubble bath and a good book or a walk around the center of town with some window-shopping.  How can you “fill your cup”?

Wheat-Free Challenge

Wheat is one of the top allergens because it is not the same wheat that our ancestors used to eat.  It has been modified over the years and is now unrecognizable by the body. We just don’t have the enzymes to break it down.  This means that, depending on the health of your gut, eating wheat might signal an immune attack and/or systemic symptoms like brain fog, eczema, diarrhea, arthritis and more. By removing it, and all other gluten grains, you may notice an improvement on how gluten impacts your health and brain function.

Sugar-Free Challenge

You’d never willingly eat poison, right? Okay, you might eat a not-so-healthy treat or non-nutritious junk food from time to time but straight-up poison.  Never, right?

You might be surprised to know that you do, daily.  ”Sugar can act like poison in high doses—and the amount in our diets has gone beyond toxic,” says Robert Lustig, M.D., a neuroendocrinologist at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine.   

When eaten in such large quantities, on average 17 tsp daily, this can lead to diabetes and obesity, and also Alzheimer’s disease and breast, endometrial, and colon cancers. One new study found that normal-weight people who loaded up on sugar doubled their risk of dying from heart disease. Other research pinpoints excess sugar as a major cause of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which can lead to liver failure.

Why do we eat it? Because we’re seriously hooked on this toxic substance.  Challenge yourself, cold turkey, to go sugar-free for one week. You’ll most likely lose some weight, gain more energy, have better bowel movements and less inflammation.  


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