Thirty-nine per cent of Irish adults are overweight and 18 per cent of us are classified as obese. Little wonder then that vows to cut back and slim down are common in the New Year.
However, weight loss expert Robin Smith, of the Motivation Weight Loss clinics in Westport and Castlebar, has advised that those hoping to make 2014 a slimmer, healthier, year need to change their attitude, not just their calorie intake.
“Seventy per cent of eating is for emotional reasons,” he said. “The reality is that we eat for many different reasons, which all too often have very little to do with fulfilling our nutritional requirements and everything to do with feeding our emotional needs. That’s why it is so vital to assess your relationship with food.”
Mr Smith says people often use food as a source of comfort, reward, consolation, or for some other emotional reason, and their dieting is doomed until they can identify and address this problem.
“The focus is not on the scales but on habits and attitude, because when you look after your habits and attitude the weighing scale will look after itself,” he explained.
People also need to be aware of food ‘triggers’.
“If you are used to eating in front of the television, break the association by making it a rule to only eat sitting down at a table away from the screen. Once you start analysing the many settings and situations that prompt you to eat, you can start to eliminate all those food associations from your daily routine.”
While we may not need to analyse every single calorie, successful dieting does demand some food awareness, he added.
“A general awareness of fat, sugar, and calories values is very important for helping you to track and control what you eat. Food awareness is especially useful for checking nutritional values when you buy food in the supermarket.”
Some other advice includes always reading the label while food shopping and finding new ways to reward yourself other than food.
For more on weight loss, visit www.motivation.ie