The Jakarta Post
Illustration of healthy foods. (Shutterstock/bitt24)
Many people try to lose weight solely by relying on diets and fitness regiments, but they ignore the psychological factors that can keep the routine sustainable.
Just like physical factors, psychology can be a huge factor in your diet’s success when it is well-managed.
As quoted from the Dailystar, psychologist Helen McCarthy says in her book How to Retrain Your Appetite that the appetite pendulum starts at zero, which shows that your hunger level is neutral. The pendulum swings into minus when you are hungry and to plus when you are eating.
She suggests that we start eating only when the pendulum swings to minus three or “definitely hungry”, and you should stop at plus three or “just full”.
"Many of us eat too much either because we're enjoying the food and don't want to stop, or we're eating mindlessly. The Appetite Pendulum essentially teaches people to stop eating when they're just full, which is crucial for healthy eating,” she said.
She also said that diets that made people change their food habits dramatically were not sustainable and had a higher risk of failure.
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It is better, she said, not to give up the food we love and instead just maintain the habit of mindful eating.
McCarthy said it was important to listen to our body to know what kind of nutrition it needed. People on diets should also plan their meals ahead based on how long it will be until their next meal or snack.
“If there is going to be just a couple of hours until your next eat, choosing something that will be quickly digested, raw fruit or vegetables or a piece of toast, for example, will allow you to get hungry sooner,” she said.
If you still have several hours until your next food intake, it is recommended to go with something that will make you feel fuller.
"If it's several hours, go for foods with protein, fiber and fat to keep you going. Like scrambled eggs or boil-in-the-bag kipper or yogurt with fruit, nuts and seeds for breakfast if it's going to be a long time until lunch,” she said. (gis/wng)