The best way to decrease your appetite is to understand what increases it in the first place. When it comes to your appetite - don't fight it, fix it. It's the difference between putting a band-aid on something and actually remedying the source of the problem. So let's get to the source. Appetite, as defined by the dictionary, is simply, a desire for food or drink. It's real simple, so let's keep it simple. We are not psycho-analyzing anyone's deep dark secrets here. Follow me and read to the bottom on a specific way you can decrease your appetite.
If you have an increased appetite, you've probably said words like this - "I'm a stress eater" or "I'm an emotional eater." And my reaction to that is...so am I and everyone else; that doesn't mean anything is wrong with you. What that does mean is that you recognize your appetite is increased by anxiety and anxiety is indeed a source of an increased appetite. The source of your appetite comes from a message that the brain sends to the body to increase the desire for food or drink. Why would the brain do this to us? It wants to protect us. The brain knows from past experience that food and drink serve as a natural anti-anxiety for us.
First let me show you that your appetite is simply a message from the brain to the body. Do you know that it is possible to be under extreme stress and emotion, have an empty stomach, and even feel hungry, with NO appetite whatsoever... when you have the stomach flu. Ever think about that before? This is not a paradox, this is simply from a message your brain sent to your body to decrease your appetite to protect you during a time when you are unable to digest food. Your brain sent that message to your body to have no desire for food. It did this to protect you.
Understand the brain will send a message to your body, one way or another - to increase or decrease your appetite for your protection, always. It wants to help ease your anxiety, comfort your pain, and protect you from illness. Anxiety, along with pain and other experiences will cause the brain to send this message to increase your appetite. But let's just focus on anxiety, since it is so prevalent. One way that you can decrease your appetite is to decrease your anxiety.
Anxiety, as defined by the dictionary is "distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune." And did you know that your lack of confidence in your ability to lose weight is actually fear of misfortune. If you fear you won't be able to lose weight, you have fear of misfortune, which is anxiety. Your very fear that you will never be able to lose weight increases your appetite! It's a vicious cycle, very similar to worrying about not getting enough sleep causing insomnia.
The best way to decrease your appetite is to have full confidence that you CAN and WILL lose weight. This kind of confidence can only come from knowing the truth with a real and truthful weight loss plan with no gimmicks and no exceptions. Only then can you truly have this kind of confidence. This confidence will eliminate your anxiety and hence, you will not need the anti-anxiety effect that more food provides, and so the brain will decrease your appetite. I still marvel at this in my own experiences and am fascinated to see this play out each and every time for our clients. The effect of removing the anxiety about weight loss is a powerful way our clients experience a decreased appetite.
If I have in any way been able to explain to you how the brain controls your appetite, I would be remiss to not go deeper and talk about what fuels the brain. In our physical bodies, the heart pumps blood to the brain so the brain can make all the voluntary and involuntary decisions we need to live. The brain controls everything, but the heart fuels the brain. And so it is in this weight loss process. We respect the power of the brain, without neglecting the source of the heart.
Without the source of fuel from the heart, the brain dies. So your heart is the life-giving source for your brain in controlling your appetite. You must emotionally pump fuel to your brain/your brain's decisions. But what exactly does that mean and what is this fuel? That means in order for your brain to make the necessary decisions in controlling your appetite, you must emotionally support it. You must feel love. For yourself. The fuel is LOVE. I know, in words, this is so trite. In practice, this is the most powerful energy source of the entire universe that you can tap into. But how does one tap into it? Really? We can talk about it, preach about it, and read about it all day long, but how does one really tap into this all-encompassing, unconditional, saving grace of love?
In our first coaching session, we lead our clients through a very powerful exercise that leads them to the core essence of this love. They tap into it, they touch it, they feel it and it becomes real to them in a way that they were not aware of before. Call it weight loss redemption or salvation, it's the same principle. The heart is at the heart of this.
Lemon merengue pie in my refrigerator.
Temptation. The one thing, no perfect diet plan, routine, or good intentions can withstand,
if we succumb to our temptations. I'll paraphrase simply what temptation is when you're on a diet - an increased desire for food (appetite) that is outside of what you otherwise intend to eat. You know, when you see or smell something and your senses are stimulated, causing your desire to increase, you face temptation, a physical stimulation that is very difficult to resist (or so we believe.)
One day I was cleaning up the kitchen. I opened up the refrigerator to put something away, and to my surprise (my husband went to the grocery store the night before), I see a lemon merengue pie in the refrigerator. I thought nothing of it, as I don't like lemon merengue pie, and continued to clean up the kitchen. As I'm cleaning, I go to throw something away, look down in the trash can and see a box. A pie box. A pie box that said "Banana Cream Pie." And I thought to myself, "Now that's a horse of a different color!", because I love banana cream pie! All of a sudden, my mouth started watering and I had an appetite for that pie, the pie I had already seen, and felt no desire for two minutes ago. So I asked myself, where does this sudden increased appetite/temptation come from? What was causing me to desire this pie all of a sudden? It wasn't sight; I had seen it and didn't want it. It wasn't smell; my face was looking in a trash can. It wasn't even a simple desire to just eat pie. I realized the only thing that caused my appetite to increase at that moment was a memory. The memory that I think banana cream pie is delicious. And that's it. And that simple. My brain - all my thoughts, beliefs, knowledge, reactions, and memories - controls my desire for food (appetite.) My brain controls it all.
The only way to control your appetite is to control the brain. We train the brain to use mental strategies in our weight loss coaching. One of those strategies is higher awareness. When I became aware that my appetite was stimulated from memory and memory alone, I was able to talk to myself about that. Self-dialogue is another very effective strategy. "Yes, I do think banana cream pie is delicious. I have great memories of eating banana cream pie with my grandmother. I know what it tastes like. I don't need to eat it right now to remember the taste; it is delicious, I know it is. I've eaten it before, and I'll eat it again in the future, I am sure, so I don't have to eat it right now."
Look at your temptations square in the eye, don't run from them or resist them; over-power them. Your brain is more powerful in controlling your appetite than anything else. It is the only thing controlling your appetite.
Shelley Johnson is the Creator & Founder of The Losing Coach®.
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