me&my health up

Discover Mindful Eating: The Ultimate Weight Loss Strategy

September 12, 2023 me&my wellness / Anthony Hartcher Season 1 Episode 175
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Discover Mindful Eating: The Ultimate Weight Loss Strategy
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What could be a more empowering approach to eating than trusting your own body's signals? Unleashing your intuition when it comes to food? This is what today's episode all about. As a clinical nutritionist and lifestyle medicine specialist, I, Anthony Hatcher, will be your guide as we explore the fascinating world of intuitive eating. We'll dig into how to distinguish authentic hunger signals from deceptive environmental triggers, and how all this interplays with the mind-body connection. The goal? To cultivate a healthier relationship with food and enhance your overall wellbeing.

But we won't stop there. We'll take on the often misunderstood practice of calorie-counting and shed light on its pitfalls – mainly, the warped notion it fosters about food being 'good' or 'bad'. Instead, we'll create a mindful approach to eating that values balance and considers your unique lifestyle and health objectives – not a simplistic calorie count. I'll also be stressing the importance of eating in a relaxed state and giving your digestive system its well-deserved breaks – two often overlooked aspects of digestive health.

Lastly, we'll tackle the tough topic of food triggers and how to manage them effectively. We'll break down how environmental triggers, boredom, and stress can masquerade as hunger and share strategies on how to handle these feelings without using food as a crutch. More importantly, we'll discuss ways to identify and deal with triggers that lead to emotional eating, ultimately empowering you for body transformation and wellbeing. So tune in, and please, share this enlightening episode with those who might benefit from it.


About me&my health up & Anthony Hartcher 

me&my health up seeks to enhance and enlighten the well-being of others. Host Anthony Hartcher is the CEO of me&my health up which provides holistic health solutions using food as medicine, combined with a holistic, balanced, lifestyle approach. Anthony holds three bachelor's degrees in Complementary Medicine; Nutrition and Dietetic Medicine; and Chemical Engineering.

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Any information, advice, opinions or statements within it do not constitute medical, health care or other professional advice, and are provided for general information purposes only. All care is taken in the preparation of the information in this Podcast. [Connected Wellness Pty Ltd] operating under the brand of “me&my health up”..click here for more

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Anthony Hartcher:

Welcome back to another insightful episode of me&my health up. I'm your host, Anthony Hartcher. I'm a clinical nutritionist and lifestyle medicines specialist. And today's episode is part two of the previous episode, which was on calorie counting for weight loss. Yes, I shared some insights around the good, the bad and the ugly in regards to calorie counting for weight loss. And then I said, Well, I prefer another approach. My preference is the more intuitive eating approach is probably the more advanced approach. I think, if you're starting out calorie counting for weight loss can be helpful just to get some awareness, some level of understanding and education around how many calories are in the foods that you're currently consuming. And what's how many calories are in foods in general, just so that you can sort of have a better idea of how many calories you're consuming in a day. And yes, I said it helps with you know, having an awareness and then setting a target and then working towards achieving that targets and then feeling satisfied that you've achieved the target in terms of your 15% less than the calories you typically consumed, creating a calorie deficit and therefore you're on the course of weight loss. And I said that was probably a better way to measure your success is how you're going against your actions and towards your target, which was eat less 15% less calories per day, and how you you measure yourself against that progress, as opposed to measuring yourself on the scales, which can be very confusing, and not a good indicator of whether you're making progress towards your goal. So that was a little brief summary of the episode, it turned into the episode because I give a lot more detail around the upsides, the downsides, and the downright ugly about calorie counting for weight loss. But today's episode is about intuitive eating, and you're probably thinking what is that it sounds a bit woowoo? Well, Intuitive Eating is getting that mind body connection working in harmony for you. So often we're in our minds, and we work in our minds because we're educated to think okay, and it's important to think however, it is important to have the full integration around thoughts body and of course, the soul or heart included in that as well. And this is what Intuitive Eating is it is the mind body heart or soul connection and working with your body as opposed to against us and working in harmony with the soul. Okay, so let me share as to how this all works together and how it's all interrelated and interconnected. And I'll start with the intuitive eating part, which is you wait when you're hungry, okay. It's quite simple. When you feel that you need some nourishment, those hunger signals are telling you Yeah, it's time to eat. But the important part is, it's not always listening to the hunger signals, because different triggers can trigger hunger, right? So there's triggers from the environment that can then you know, that we take through our senses, such as we see a very tasty hamburger or we smell a very tasty hamburger. And then that can initiate a hunger response for us or a desire to have that. And you might be already satisfied, but you feel this urge that needs satisfying. And it's generally that association with that food at that time we get that trigger from the environment through our senses. So yes, it can be a bit distorted in terms of intuitive eating. So it is a bit of questioning that needs to be asked when you get those hunger signals. Are they real? Or are they just an association with seeing someone else eat or smelling someone else's food and you start thinking about food. And as you know, once you start thinking about food, it becomes more desirable. And particularly as you might have some strong associations around particular foods based on your upbringing and associations that might have brought good times good memories. And so then if when you eat those foods, it brings back those good times good memories. And so it's important we have an understanding of where the drivers coming from whether it's actually a need to eat or you know, a physiological need to eat, or it's more a temptation based on previous associations. So let's start with how you would get through your day. And so you might wake up in the morning and again, there's things that are going to turn off or down regulate your digestion switch it down, not really turn it off, but you know, I guess become less desirable and those physiological, I guess cues or drivers are stress like so if you have a very busy morning you're very time poor and you're running around doing a lot you won't get hunger signals, but the moment you stop and relax, those hugging the sick hunger signals are most likely going to be triggered if you haven't eaten for quite some time. And so you might not Feel like food first thing in the morning, because you're running around getting yourself ready for work, you're getting your family ready for work, and you're going through ordinary, all the things you need to do to get to work on time. And so that in itself, that stress of having to meet deadlines could down regulate the need to eat at that time. And it's rightfully so because we shouldn't be eating when we're stressed. We don't want to be throwing down food when we're stressed, because it's not going to be digested well, so it's best to make sure that you've got time to relax. And I certainly was sharing this a lot when I was doing these back to back corporate consults or a day that I had, I've seen people every 15 minutes throughout the day, and they'd come in and they would tell me these sorts of things about you know, whether I should skip breakfast, I don't feel like it, is it you know, is it a good thing? Well, it really depends. And I said to them, ultimately, you don't want to be eating when you're stressed. Because you're not going to digest the food, it's going to sit there, you're gonna get all the signs and symptoms of indigestion. And I was seeing people that were saying, I bloating all the time, then I'd ask the question, like, what are you eating? You know, Are you relaxed when you're eating? Are you just throwing down food or to run to the next meeting, or to meet the next deadline, and often it was throwing down food to just, you know, slipping in between meetings, or, you know, having an impending deadline, that they didn't have much time to consume the food, but that I felt that they needed to consume something. And I often would say, probably best not to consume much, if you only got a small window, maybe have a drink of water, a piece of fruit, something like that relatively easily, easily digestible, as opposed to something that's you know, a big meal or, you know, sold a meal that you've consumed within a few minutes, and then off to the next meeting. Because when you have that you're going to experience the indigestion sort of feeling because the body is stressed. It's not in digestive mode, it's in fight flight or freeze mode. And it's you know, wanting to help you achieve your targets. And essentially, it's not thinking about you know, need to digest some food, it's a less of a priority, the priority is getting safely towards achieving that target or away from that threat, as opposed to worrying about that digesting that food. So really important that you have time to eat. And this is the big intuitive part. Because when you have time to eat, you're relaxed, you're connected with the food, the digestive enzymes have been excreted, and you're more likely to assimilate, digest that food better with less digestive discomfort, or you shouldn't really have any digestive discomfort if you're relaxing, eating in a relaxed state, and the body's ready to consume food. So that's ultimately the state you want to be in when you eat. And that's an intuitive way, it's that mind body connection with the food, you're eyeing out the food, you're citing it, you're looking forward to it, you're smelling it. And this is really helped and facilitated when you're cooking or in the preparation of getting food cooked to eat. Because in the preparation phase, we're cutting it up with slicing and dicing hands in that the aromas are released from the food which we smell and that smell induce a taste as

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Anthony Hartcher:

Smell and taste are connected. And then we can then what that then signals to the body is I need to produce those digestive enzymes that break down that macro nourishment, and I need to have them ready for consuming. So the body starts preparing itself. So you're preparing the food and the body is preparing itself to consume the food. And so it's a win win situation. And so this is when I hear this thing I don't have time. I think it's really important to make time and actually lock it out in your diary. And I often share this thing I'd heard from John Howard when he was the Prime Minister was that he never missed a lunch during his prime ministership, and it was something he was very proud of because he valued his health and well being yes he exercise every morning. I don't think he ever missed his morning walk no matter how busy your schedule was, you know, he said he never really missed the lunch because he blocked time out for eating and that's really important for health and well being is that we blocked time out to do health and well being as opposed to just this concept of you know, I shouldn't be doing health but it's not a priority, but it feels a priority for you then make it a priority by blocking time out, block time out to eat and really connect with the food you're eating. So if you don't have the space in the morning, maybe create some space before you start your day at work or generating some space in the day. So To consume food and to consume it mindfully so intuitive eating is mindful eating, it's being mindful in terms of purely present with that food you're about to consume connected with it. And then we enjoy it more. And the satiation is higher, and we end up consuming less, because ultimately, the fulfillment from food eating food is when we have it in our mouth. So when we're scuffing it down, we have less fulfillment, therefore, we need more of it in order to get that fulfillment. However, if we eat slowly, really slowly, slowly, slowly, so that you really enjoy it, and you engage it and you embrace it and you're present with it, then that fulfillment will come quicker, and you'll need less of it in order to be fulfilled. And so it's that great sort of way of eating so that you're not really doing without, and this is what I didn't like about the calorie counting is that it typically results in exclusion of particular food groups, because they're hiring calories, such as fats, and we need fat, we need those polyunsaturated fats with those polyunsaturated fats, we need them because our body can't manufacture them, we need to take them through food, we need our essential amino acids. Because our body can't make the essential amino acids it can make proteins from the essential amino acids. And it can make non essential amino acids from the essential amino acids, but we need the essential amino acids from food. And so yes, we have a need to consume food in order to bring us energy so that we can live a fulfilling life we can help and serve community help and serve our family help and serve our friends and live a fulfilling life we need energy from food. And when we see food for just calories, we lose that connection. That's what I didn't like, or I don't really like about the counting calories for weight loss is that we lose that connection with food. We become disassociated. We see it as calories as opposed to the whole, we're not seeing it for what it is we were just labeling it as either highly calorific or light on calories. And often the foods that are light on calories don't really sustain us for very long. So we eat more of the foods that don't sustain us. And we just consuming food all day, which isn't great for our digestive system, because we need to give it a break so it can repair and rejuvenate. And so it's important to have breaks between meals as opposed to be constantly eating because you're consuming foods that are low calorific, but you need, they're not giving much satisfaction, they don't have much protein, they don't have much fire, but they don't have much fat in them. So again, if we consume a whole diet of well balanced diet, eat it slowly and intuitively in terms of when we're hungry. And where and when we're hungry. We're connected, because we're relaxed, we're eating in a relaxed state. So set up the environment so that you're relaxed, you're ready to consume and that you digested Well, I had so many people come to me complaining about digestive discomfort or bloating, and I was asking them about when they consumed and how they consume food. And often it was in a rush and very busy and fast. they'd eat real fast, I'd say Are you the last person in a table of friends to consume your food or you're the first and often they're the first to eat really fast. And if we when we consume food really fast and mindlessly what happens is it just doesn't register and then we're thinking I'm still not satisfied need to eat more. And then after consuming more after consuming larger volumes, eventually the body just goes wow, totally wasn't expecting this, but I'm way over four, I've consumed in excess. And that's when you feel that really that food coma feeling you've eaten too much because you haven't eaten that connected mindfully has you've haven't had that intuitive presence with the connection. And that's what we need and food is ultimately there to nourish us. It's not there for us to judge and label and call it good or bad based on its calorific content. It's what it is. And it's either serves our health goal, or it doesn't take us towards our health goal. And so you want to be very clear about your health goal and what you're ultimately want to achieve. And then consume foods that take you towards your health goal. And that's what I do with my clients. That's ultimately what a nutritionist does is understand the client's health goal and then construct a food plan that will work for them that will fit in with their lifestyle that will take them towards their goals in a healthy balanced way. As opposed to just excluding food groups based on labeling because of the calorific content. It's not good. When we exclude food groups, we create nutritional deficiencies. A last thing I want to see is and it's often what I see is people that are constantly dieting, jumping from one diet to another excluding food groups, they become nutritionally deficient in a particular area. And as a result of that they have this physiological response. where there were signs and symptoms of a nutritional deficiency. So we need a well balanced diet, we need to be able to assimilate that food into our body. I also see people that have a textbook diet that because they're eating in a stress state and always stressed, they're not assimilating their food, they're not yet extracting the nourishment from the food hands. So they're eating good foods, but it's not actually going into their body in a way it's it's their efficiencies are really poor in terms of extracting the nourishment from that food. So if you think about it, when we're stressed, our digestive enzymes are down regulated, our excretion of hydrochloric acid is not as good, okay, it's impaired, it doesn't need to be good, because we shouldn't be eating foods when we're stressed. Because ultimately, the stress response is to get away from a threat or to help you to get a pray to get something desirable, so that you can survive, it's all oriented around survival. And so when our survival is under threat, last thing that our body needs is really food because it's either do or die around that threat, or whether I'm going to get food in order to keep me alive. And so in that Do or Die state, it's not thinking about your immune health, your reproductive health or your digestive health, because they don't matter if you're not going to survive. Okay, so survival comes first, your body will prioritise survival, and it will do those other things, you know, procreate, you know, recreation and all that or reproduction later, when you're no longer under a life threatening situation, then you can procreate, then you can replicate cells, then you can, you know, extract more nourishment and energy from food. So when we're in a stress state, we don't assimilate nourishment. Well, and I was mentioning that por su secretion of hydrochloric acid and the hydrochloric acid not being at the right desirable level to break down proteins. And you'll find that zinc is often bound to proteins. And so people can become quite deficient in either protein or zinc, because their hydrochloric acid is not an in the optimal range to break it down to cleave it properly. Okay. And this is where this can result in indigestion, this can result in having infections or a gut dysbiosis. An imbalance of bacteria, because at one of the first lines of defense around our immune system, is that hydrochloric environment, the hydrochloric acid environment, so the microbes that don't like that low pH that can't survive in low pH will get killed by your stomach acid, but when the pH is slightly elevated, because your body's not excreting enough of it to maintain that lower pH, then yes, those bugs that normally don't get into the system, because of the low pH actually do get into our system, and we can become more sick as a result of having inadequate stomach acid, okay, and in an adequate stomach acid can result in that, you know, food not really breaking down, it's sort of just sitting there and you feel bloated, and it's fermenting too much into your you know, in your intestines. And that simply maybe, because you're not chewing your food, you're not in the state to digest the food. And once you correct that, by chewing your food more and being in a state to digest food, you'll find that indigestion may go away. There could be other causes of that indigestion. However, this may be resolved simply by being more mindful when you eat, eat slower, chew more, and you may probably solve your indigestion issue or your bloating issue potentially. Okay. And if it doesn't resolve When you adopt this methodology around intuitive eating, eating mindfully then see a professional and the professional can do some analysis and further investigation as to why that indigestion or bloating and may still be there. So I just wanted to share that in terms of making sure you're in a receptive state to consume food so that you digest it and you optimise the absorption of the nourishment, which is key. Okay, so intuitive eating. So what else can drive hunger signals. So when we're stressed and we're not coping with stress, we can go to food to turn the parasympathetic mode on. So parasympathetic is rest and digest mode to get it out of that fight or flight mode. Because we're so wound up we then consume food to help wind this down or to help calm us down. So sometimes their inability to manage stress may be driving hunger signals. So you know, you might feel that, ah, I'm hungry, but what you want to then think about, okay, what's driving that hunger? And when was the last time I've eaten like so if you've just eaten and then you need to get hunger signals, it might be because your inability to manage the stress that you're under and it might not really be because you're hungry. It's just your coping mechanism or helping you cope with the stress. Okay, so you want to start questioning yourself. Okay. When was the last time I've eaten? Did I have a well balanced meal? Did I have all the macros protein? Carbohydrates fat? Yes, it was well balanced. Yes, I ate it slowly. Yes, I was satisfied once I finished eating it. And then if it's only an hour after you've eaten, you know, a well balanced and it sort of gave you You have a sense of satiation, then it could be a stress driver that's driving that hunger. Or it could be that you need some water, you haven't drunken any water. Okay. And so consuming regularly consuming water can sort of dampen upon those hunger signals that may be driven from that more hunger, I mean, not hunger, but the hunger for thirst or hunger to quench the thirst, that's better, that's better put the hunger to quench thirst, okay. So you know, drinking water consistently, in small amounts throughout the day is really important. So you stay well hydrated, eating at regular intervals, so at least meals for at least four hours apart, but make sure you're eating a well balanced meal each time and you're eating mindfully and that you're managing your stress between meals. And the other thing I mentioned at the start, is that maybe you've been triggered from the environment, and you have a positive association with that food that have brought positive experience back to you and you feel great about and you think, Oh, if I have that food, or bring back that feeling, again, again, that's just more neurological hardwiring, in our association of particular foods to good experiences. However, it's not really that your body needs food, okay? It's just more that and it could be unfulfillment that's driving that stronger associations to have that food in order to give some sort of fulfillment. So what you might want to do is just acknowledge, okay, I've got that trigger. It's that smell. Yes, I have that positive association with that food. I only ate an hour ago, two hours ago and ate a good solid meal that you don't really think on that hungry. And then you want to think, Okay, what else can I do in order to make me more feel more fulfilled in that moment, if I go back to a higher priority task, that's important to me, that's important to my goal that's taking me in the direction I want to go in to go to a fulfilling task that takes you in your life in the direction that you want it to go. Because boredom can also drive hunger, okay, that aren't bored. What do you do when you're bored? You eat, okay? It's a bit of a survival thing thinking, Well, what's my purpose? Okay, if I'm bored, that means I'm not doing anything fulfilling, therefore, what's the point? And you start to question and that answer that can drive that unfulfillment, which you then seek external fulfillment through having food, okay? So if you're doing boring tasks, then that can drive the fulfillment, then you think that you need food for to get that fulfillment, but what you want to then think about is, how is that task taking me towards what is fulfilling for me, which is what's important to you? What's really high value to you? How is that task contributing to what's important to you? And if it's not contributing to what's important to you, then it's asking, well, how can I delegate this? Or do I really need to do this action, okay. And so and this is often the conversation I have with my clients is at night, they often get bored, because they've been very, you know, working towards, you know, goals and things during the day, they've done meaningful work, they've done meaningful contribution, they get home, they relax, and then they have dinner, and often a good dinner, but then they still feel hungry after their dinner. And it's often that boredom after dinner, what do I do is nothing on TV, or it could be the ads on TV that are driving hunger signals. And so again, it's working out what what are these drivers? What is triggering me to feel hungry? Is it real? Or is it just an association? Or is it the advertising trying to trick me and often in these times, all you need to do is, once you realise it's not food, because you've just recently eaten, then you what you want to do is change what you're doing change your activity to something more fulfilling, it could be, it could be you listening to music, it could be doing something creative that you love doing, it could be you engaging in a hobby that you love doing, it could be you engaging into some important conversation or ringing someone that you haven't spoken to that you really value that relationship, do something more fulfilling, that ultimately takes you towards the ultimate health that you want to achieve, rather than staying bored, and then using food to give you that temporary fulfillment. Okay, so I just wanted to give a an understanding that when we have this more intuitive approach to when we're actually hungry, and we actually test ourselves in terms of is it real hunger? Or is it has it been triggered from the environment? Or is it to be triggered from stress or has been triggered from unfulfillment? Once we go through that thinking and realise now I'm stressed, and hence, I'm feeling that I need this, this food in order to de stress me, well then go to a more helpful, more resourceful way of managing that stress. So maybe go to some breathing exercises, maybe get outside and just walk around a little bit, listen to some music that relaxes you. So do something that relaxes you in a more fulfilling way than always going to food to resolve that stress. And often the food doesn't resolve the stress, right? It just helps you manage it. So why not go to something else. It's going to also help you manage the stress that doesn't involve of consuming more calories when you don't want to consume more calories, because ultimately, one of your goals is around some sort of weight management. So again, it's finding more resourceful ways to manage your stress, doing things that are fulfilling. If you're feeling unfulfilled in that moment and getting support, if you don't know what it is and what's driving it, then an expert you can get in contact with me, I can help you identify what's triggering it, and how you can better manage that trigger from within as opposed to looking for external ways to manage that trigger, such as eating excessive amounts of food in order to resolve that inner unfulfillment. So I can really help with this reach out, please connect with me. And if you know of anyone that's really struggling with, you know, body transformation and want to do it in a helpful way in a resourceful way, in a fulfilling way, then please share this episode with me, I'd love it to get far and wide. So because my ultimate goal is to empower and enlighten the well being of others. So I do this through this platform, educating empowering you so that you can make better decisions, so please share it with others. And if you need further support more tailored support around your personal needs, please reach out to me I'd be happy to help you out. Catch me on Anthony or email me anthony@meandmywellness.com.au Thanks for your ears. Thanks for tuning in to another insightful episode of me&my health up.

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This podcast and any information advice opinions or statements within it do not constitute medical healthcare or professional advice and are provided for general information purposes only. All care is taken in the preparation of the information in this podcast connected wellness Proprietary Limited operating under the branch me&my health up does not make any representations or give any warranties about his accuracy, reliability, completeness or suitability for any particular purpose. This podcast and any information, advice or opinions or statements within it are not to be used as a substitute for professional medical, psychological, psychiatric, or any other mental health care or health care in general. me&my health up recommends you seek the advice of a doctor or qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Inform your doctor of any changes that you make to your lifestyle and discuss these with your doctor. Do not disregard medical advice or delay visiting a medical professional because of something you hear in this podcast. This podcast has been carefully prepared on the basis of current information. changes in circumstances after publication may affect the accuracy of this information to the maximum extent permitted by the law, me&my health up disclaims any such representations or warranties to the completeness, accuracy merchantability or fitness for purpose of this podcast and will not be liable for any expenses losses damages incurred indirect or consequential damages or costs that may be incurred as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way and for any reason. No part of these podcasts can be reproduced or redistributed, published, copied or duplicated in a form without prior permission of me&my health up.

Intuitive eating vs. Calorie counting.
You shouldn’t be eating when you are stressed.
(Cont.) You shouldn’t be eating when you are stressed.
Calorie counting for weight loss.
Nutritional deficiencies and stress.
Stress and hunger signals.
Managing stress and stress triggers.