Smart Eating Habits! The Key to Weight Loss Success! Author: Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN,SRN, CPH – Clinical Medical Hypnotist – President & Program Designer – Sarasota Medical & Sports Hypnosis Institute
BECOMING AWARE is the first step in developing a nutritionally sound eating plan for yourself. This information is not meant to replace your physicians input into your plan of care, but to bring to your attention particular areas that may need some change. This information is not about dieting, but a focus on how foods act out in the mind body, and what can be done to achieve a higher level of functioning.
Changing behaviors is often perceived as being difficult, and while there may be some obstacles, if the new chosen behavior is marinated in positivity and fun, the journey will be very different. If you are working with audio programs from my website, you will find that they suggest & reinforce change in relation to the following questions while reinforcing new behaviors. So let’s begin….
The following questions are designed to help you assess your current eating habits. There is tremendous power in just be aware and waking up from automatic pilot. As your awareness is heightened, new choices will be available.
All of the questions & answers are important, so don’t rush through this. Your subconscious mind librarian is noticing your attention to these areas & is on notice that change may be forthcoming.
1. What time to you get up in the morning? It’s important to know when you begin your day so your food/beverage intake can be properly designed throughout the day.
2. What time do you eat breakfast? It is important to space the timing of your meals as you will learn below. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and if you are skipping this or not eating a correct balance for your body physiology, you will pay the price later on.
3. How would you assess your appetite? High ? Medium? Low? Hunger levels help us to understand hormonal levels, especially the fat-storing hormone “insulin.”
4. What do you eat and drink for breakfast? Seeing your choices & then learning what your body truly needs, helps to plant change.
5. Do you ever skip breakfast? Oh oh! Hope not!
6. Do you become hungry between breakfast and lunch? This exploration of breakthrough hunger will help to determine if your food choices &/or amounts are correct for your body physiology.
7. Do you have anything to eat or drink at that time, or do you smoke? It is not uncommon for people who do not eat sufficiently to partake in walk-by eating and/or smoking.
8. Do you drink water in the morning? Sometimes we are unaware of water intake and so paying attention to this will be beneficial later on.
9. How are your morning emotional levels? High? Medium? Low? Emotions are connected to blood sugar levels and/or hormonal levels.
10. How is your morning energy level? Once again, energy levels are closely connected to blood sugar levels and/or hormonal levels.
11. How is your morning concentration level? And… you guessed it… concentration levels are closely connected to blood sugar levels and/or hormonal levels.
12. What time do you eat lunch? When looking to improve your blood sugar levels and/or hormonal levels you want to be certain to know how you are spacing your meals.
13. How is your lunch time appetite? High? Medium? Low? The appetite at lunch tells us much about the happenings at breakfast, and even the night before.
14. What do you eat and drink for lunch? Lunch choices are very important as they set up the afternoon & evening needs of the body & mind.
15. How is your afternoon energy level? High? Medium? Low? Low-blood sugars are very common in mid-afternoon in people who do not eat correctly.
16. How is your afternoon concentration level? High? Medium? Low? You can tell much by concentration levels in the afternoon. Note if they are different from the mid-morning concentration.
17. How are your afternoon emotional levels? High? Medium? Low? Emotional swings are common in the afternoon when the earlier nutritional intake has not been sufficient or properly timed.
18. Do you snack or smoke in the afternoon? Walk-by eating & smoking is very indicative of earlier eating mishaps.
19. If so, what types of food or beverage do you have? The types of foods & beverages tell much about what the body is looking for. Usually the desire is for carbohydrates, especially if the blood sugars are low.
20. Do you participate in “walk-by eating?” Walk by eating is a nasty habit & it is important to understand if blood sugars are an issue, or if the problem falls into the lack of self-discipline arena.
21. Do you drink water in the afternoon? Many times we start off with good intentions, but fall by the wayside in the afternoon. Paying attention helps to make change.
22. What time do you have dinner? Often times dinner is too late & blood sugars tend to fall causing over-eating, fast eating & evening eating.
23. What do you eat and drink at dinnertime? Food & beverage choices set the stage for what happens afterwards, through the night, and right into the next day.
24. How is your dinner time appetite level? High? Medium? Low? The level will give clues as to what came before including walk-by eating.
25. How is your evening energy level? High? Medium? Low? The evening energy is a telltale sign of what happened earlier in the day & the choices at dinner.
26. How is your evening concentration level? The mind function level in the evening is another clue to what happened earlier.
27. How is your evening emotional level? High? Medium? Low? Since we are on the subject of clues, here is another one.
28. Do you snack or smoke in the evening? Another clue here & also an opportunity to understand if this is a blood sugar issue or one of self-discipline.
29. At what time do you go to sleep? Oh yes… sleep is connected to blood sugar issues & eating choices. Once again, timing of lifestyle behaviors tells us much about what went on
30. Do you have a sleep preparation ritual? It’s a good idea to be aware of how you wind down & how much winding down you need. Once again… clues!
31. Do you have any difficulty going to sleep? When the mind & body are properly cared for, going to sleep should not be a problem.
32. How would you assess your sleep levels? And again, when the mind & body are properly cared for, staying asleep at deep levels should not be a problem.
33. Do you wake during the night? If so, how many times? Any difficulty falling back to sleep? Sleep awareness patterns help to focus on the difficulties in self-management.
34. Do you eat or drink anything if you awaken during the night? Many times people with blood sugar/hormonal disturbances wake in the night for a feeding even if there is no noticeable hunger.
35. Upon awakening do you feel rested and ready to get up? And lastly, assessing the quality of sleep gives us additional, useful information.
YOU NOW HAVE A STARTING ASSESSMENT. You should be eating three balanced meals, and depending on your physical activity, one or two balanced snacks. You should wake up energized in the morning feeling well rested after a good nights sleep. The hunger levels before meals should be moderate, giving rise to good appetite, and not causing fast eating or over-eating.
When the appetite level is very high the individual eats rapidly, and in doing so fills the stomach too quickly often not allowing the full meal to be consumed. In addition, the foods that are often eaten first are those higher glycemic ones that don’t have the lasting power of protein, low-glycemic vegetables, grains and fruits.
The energy levels throughout the day should stay moderate to high. Emotions should be balanced, and the individual should be aware of over-reaction and modify this in the moment. These skills will be presented a bit later in this program of High Level Performance.
This self-review may be the first time of noticing how much sugar and poor nutrition is being experienced, remembering once again that all food acts as a chemical in the body, and that reaction is influenced by many factors unique to the individual. As one begins to change, the assessment continues.
As knowledge increases, especially about sugar and high-glycemic content of certain foods, their affect on behavior, hunger, energy, emotions, sleep, concentration and high level performance will become clear. We must be aware before we can change.
In this program of High Level Performance we are eager to remove as much food stress as possible. When the body is in balance the mind if free of high levels of stress chemicals, and it becomes easier to access the subconscious mind. It is in this physiological state that we are free to program what we want, and diminish what we don’t want.
Designing the new eating plan is relatively simple. This is usually a surprise to many, especially those who followed different regimes throughout the years. We learn to think in “food groups.” The following pages will provide lists of protein choices, lower glycemic carbohydrates, and higher glycemic carbohydrates. The amount of food a person needs is based on their lean body mass and aerobic exercise levels.
There are many ways to obtain this information, some more complicated than others. Participants in this program may request this information from our office. The body and mind offer clues through hunger and energy levels. When we eat sufficiently, and in the right balance the body tells us by delivering manageable hunger, as well as moderate to high energy levels throughout the day. We sleep well, and are able to concentrate easily. As we learn more about reading our body signals on lower levels, it becomes easier to know what the mind body needs and to provide it.
Each meal consists of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. There are differences in carbohydrates. Some are “low glycemic” and others are “high glycemic.” I also like to think of some higher glycemics foods as being “dense” or not so refined. I consider certain grain choices as “dense. Some include slow cooked oatmeal, or whole grain breads without sugar or other forms of sweeteners.
Always read labels. If the bread has molasses, please know it is not a good choice for you. To check a bread product for refinement, simply press your finger in the center of a slice. Highly refined breads are soft and pliable. Dense breads are more rigid, rather like old European choices. These hold the blood sugar stable for longer periods of time, keeping hunger away.
A good breakfast balance would be a protein choice, a dense carbohydrate, perhaps some low-glycemic carbohydrates, and some fat. This might translate into a vegetable omelet, and some dense bread. Another choice might be cheese and turkey sausage on dense bread. Many of us enjoy coffee or tea in the morning, and while these are not especially healthy, the whole idea is “moderation.”
Try to cut back on these substances, and have them without sugar or artificial sweeteners. If you really must have some sugar in your beverage, just add a small amount. You will learn that you can do without the larger amounts you were utilizing. As you look through the protein choices, you will begin to have more and more ideas for breakfast. Start to think of breakfast more like lunch, and observe how easy it is to come up with additional choices.
A good lunch consists of protein, low-glycemic vegetables in a healthy quantity, and some fat, usually in the form of some salad dressing. Stay away from the low-fat varieties as they are usually high in sugar. Especially good choices are olive oil and lemon. If you would like to add the dense bread at this meal, certainly go ahead and do so, remembering that the largest part of the carbohydrates should be from the low-glycemic vegetables.
They hold the blood sugar for longer periods of time when they are eaten in sufficient quantity. You really cannot eat too many of these. Water should be your beverage of choice. If you indulge in diet drinks, please begin to limit them to one a day, preferably at the evening meal. Lunch is an easy meal to put together, either by packing it yourself or eating out. Simply focus on the protein part, and then add on the vegetables.
Good choices could include chicken or shrimp Caesar salad, broiled fish or other protein and a selection of cooked or cold vegetables. Make sure you are not including high-glycemic vegetables at this meal. Read the lists very carefully, and keep an eye out for the high-glycemic intruders.
A good dinner consists of protein, low-glycemic vegetables, an additional salad when you are in the process of losing weight, and some higher-glycemic choices. Think of your plate as divided into three parts. One part is protein, the second is a low-glycemicvegetable and the third part is for the higher-glycemic foods. Everything in balance. Outside the circle is the additional salad or low-glycemic vegetable.
Once you reach your ideal weight and body fat percentage, you will need less food. A good balance might be broiled fish or chicken, a large salad with dressing of your choice ( skip the low-fat), broccoli, a small serving of a grain and some fruit. You could also enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine on occasion, or some sweet you enjoy. While these are not health foods, remember we are making lifestyle changes, and it helps to know when we can enjoy these things. Dinner is a very easy meal to plan, either at home or in a restaurant.
Certain high-glycemic choices you might choose to avoid when in the process of losing weight include the white foods: white flour products including pasta, as well as potatoes and rice. Also in this group are all refined foods.
What about snacks? For the most part we tend to eat many more than we need. If you experience true hunger between meals, you might want to look at what you ate during the last few meals, and see if you had consumed sugars, or if perhaps you didn’t eat sufficiently. It is also important to eat every 4 hours to keep the blood sugar levels stable. If you are indeed experiencing hunger, have some protein, low-glycemic carbohydrate and fat. A suggestion is a piece of cheese with some low-glycemic vegetables. This is also a good time to check out your emotional states, and see if you are really hungry or not.
Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, SRN, CPH is a Clinical Medical Hypnotist, President & Program Designer for Sarasota Medical & Sports Hypnosis Institute located in Sarasota, FL & online at www.hypnosis-audio.com and www.sugar-addiction.com. She specializes in the management of stress & related disorders with her original programs of Interactive Self-Hypnosis & high level nutrition.