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Hi and welcome to today's podcast episode. Just a few more weeks until the kids are back to school and then we can take a deep sigh of relief. Mine are currently floating around the house and I am hiding in my office hoping that they're not going to disturb me knowing that I'll absolutely kill them if they do if they do disturb me, but I won't really kill them. I'm too soft.

I wanted to talk to you in today's podcast episode. I wanted to go right. Get back into nutrition chats. I think it's so important. There is so much bullshit out there with the weight loss industry and we are bombarded with food and recipes and weight loss ideas around food and tips and strategies. And I've noticed like so many of them are centered around food and surely we need to be thinking less about food and generally eating less food if we want to lose weight.

And I'm guessing for a lot of you because this was me for so long that being obsessed with food and getting stuck in a cycle where you're counting calories and making more recipes and getting stuck in this cycle where every single waking moment is about thinking and eating food. That doesn't make sense. It's absolutely triggering and it probably is keeping you to eat more. However, that's what the weight loss industry is all about tracking and monitoring and watching your food and it drives me absolutely crazy. One of the reasons that it drives me crazy is that I've, I've, I've done it, I've done it and now I don't do it. And when I stopped doing it, when I stopped looking at my food all the time and being really obsessed with my food, it was only then that I actually lost weight and kept it off.

I haven't always been three stone overweight. However, like, even up until a year and a half ago, a year ago, I was still carrying an extra stone. There was still that little bit of obsessiveness with the food. Um, and this is exactly what I want to chat to you in today's podcast episode.

I lost weight when I stopped focusing heavily on the food and instead I started focusing on different and a few other key action steps. So first off in this podcast episode, I want to tell you about the time that I was super focused on the food and what was happening when I was focused on the food. And this was all my adult life at my thinnest when I was calorie counting and cutting out um carbohydrates and note when I was at my thinnest, of course, it's never for a long term. It's always only temporary.

And then when I was at my most heavy three stone overweight and all the fluctuations in between, I have never ever been consistent or the same weight up until a year ago when I finally broke free of all the bullshit weight loss shackles that were on me that I didn't even realize were on me because we are just fed all this bullshit in from that we are made believe is the right way to lose weight and it keeps us trapped and locked in the cycle. So let me give you just some examples of what I used to do and I see this the whole time and all those weight loss clubs where they're all, everybody's in these members group really obsessed and focused on recipes. Um and, and, and food food food.

So, snacking for me, snacking was a massive deal. You know, when you're trying to lose weight, food is a massive deal. Up until a year ago, I was obsessed with snacks, oat cakes and Rita with hummus. How much hummus could I have? Could I have an extra teaspoon? I've just had two teaspoons. Maybe I can have three teaspoons. I would spend so much time shopping for crackers. Like I would be in lidl or Aldi down at the snacks aisle and I'd be looking at their, I trying to figure out which was the best one. Looking at the oat cakes. I'd heard somewhere that rice cakes were really bad.

They were only like white rice and white, white rice is terrible because their carbohydrates and I would spend so much time just dithering on what crackers to have with my 4 p.m. snack. Always this 4 p.m. snack was such a big deal. I would check the time. I would go to the fridge. I would get out my oat cakes. I would have a debate with myself or whether to have two oatcakes or three oatcakes. If I had done a workout that morning, I would be concerned that I hadn't eaten enough carbs.

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So I probably would have three crackers. And then when I felt trim, I would have four crackers. Sometimes I would eat way too much hummus and be so annoyed with myself that I would feel that the whole day was wasted. I mean, this sounds, I'm really, I'm really proud of myself that this sounds cracked because a couple of years ago this didn't sound cracked. I, I would not have understand, understood the problem was, but if I had had my four pm snack and I, and I had like too much hummus, which is easily done when you're stressed out and always looking for comfort in food. I would eat too much hummus.

Eat too much crackers at 4 p.m. and go, that's it. You're still fat now. And I would, then the whole day would be derailed. I'd have my dinner, I'd eat way too much and I have shit at dinner time and then I'd start again the next day. What the hell is that? So, snacking was just this weird obsessive. What am I going to snack on today? Bullshit. Part of the day, every single day. And I would, I would go on to websites and look for snack ideas. Like what snack ideas when I was trying to lose weight, I didn't need snack ideas. I needed to eat less food. I didn't need to be thinking about snacks. You don't need to, I wanted to lose weight. I did.

So I needed to focus on the action steps that were going to get me to lose weight, finding recipes to get snack ideas isn't the way to find out why you're overweight and eating too much food dinners. So, I would go through phases often when I would cut out carbs for dinner, it never works. And if you think it does, I, I ask you to ask yourself these questions, like, have, have you cut out carbs permanently for dinner? And if yes, and it works, you must be in the such minority. Maybe you've cut out carbs for dinner and it's worked temporarily, which means it doesn't work, which is, which is, which is really how it goes. It works temporarily. You think that's it? You've lost weight forever. But if you look back, do you fluctuate wildly?

Are you like up a stone, down a stone? Up half a stone, down half a stone often? Then it's not the cutting out carbs at dinner that's going to work. It never works. And when I cut carbs out at dinner, I would have an absolute mountain of veg and chicken or whatever it was fish to make up for it. A mountain, like literally a mountain. I'm not eating carbs. So I must eat as much as possible. And I can see now what the problem was back then with my old self, I wasn't eating carbs. I was focused on losing weight. So I would compensate with the vegetables and the chicken thinking, well, I'm not eating carbs so I can eat as much vegetables as I like. And can you see that I was still addicted to eating too much food. It doesn't matter that they were vegetables. That was a sign. I, I wasn't able to eat dinner without having a massive portion.

And do you see how I was substituting? And I'm sorry if I sound too like simplifying everything I need to do this for myself. Um Can you see how I was simplifying? Can you see how I was stuck that I wasn't fixing the problem of eating my portions being too big. Why were my portions too big? Ok. Why am I eating too much? I was just substituting. I was just saying, ok, well, I won't eat carbs, so I'll have loads of extra veg instead and I wasn't fixing the problem. Um, when I wasn't eating potatoes or carbohydrates, I would eat off the kids plate of not having potatoes. So I'm just going to hoof the rest of their dinner into me and I used to like literally be eating my dinner looking at their plates going because I don't know what it is about kids dinners.

They just make them look so tasty, especially because they eat so slow and they really savor and you're just like, oh, I want was on your plate even though it's on mine too. So I would eat my dinner while eyeballing their dinner and they always had, they never wanted to finish their dinner. I'd be over the moon delighted and picking the chicken off their plates, eating the little potatoes because those potatoes didn't count because I was on a carb free dinner definitely didn't count that I was eating off those plates.

And I was just so stuck in the cycle. Hence the fluctuation, hence the three stone overweight. Um sometimes I would eat quinoa, you know, those substitutes for carbohydrates. And again, I would just have like a giant triangular portion on my dinner, extra chicken. Everything when I look back was about extra, extra and you know why? Because I was so obsessed and so focused with the food. And to me for years, health equals focusing on your food. Health equals being obsessed about your food. And I was so concerned back then about getting hungry. I was so worried about getting hungry that I would never give myself the chance to just have a normal amount of veg breakfast was a nightmare too. Really restrictive. Two eggs only protein, only breakfast. Oh, but I'll have extra toast because I didn't have carbs at my dinner the night before.

Always checking, always monitoring. Always asking myself what did I have the night before? Oh, my jeans feel a tiny bit tight. So I should have these bits of extra toast. I might be low on carbs. I've just done a work out better that I eat these slices of toast. It was crazy. Every meal that I look back on was like this weird negotiation with myself where I would be over compensating for what I had or hadn't eat, hadn't eaten going into the fridge and looking for something because I was so obsessed about food. When actually what I needed to do was to focus on the food less and start looking at why I ate so much and why I was finding comfort from food. Why it was that I felt not able to make dinner my last meal.

Why I struggled so much to stop eating after dinner. Why did I struggle to not eat sugar during the week when I didn't want to? Why was I so obsessed about my four pm snack and the crackers and overeating on the hummus. Why was I so upset, obsessed about massive dinner portions. And you know, a relative said to me recently that she and this brought back such a memory for me because this was me for years that you know, that stressy feeling when the takeaway arrives and you want to like really make sure there's something on the TV. But it's not in ads, you need to be eating at the same time as the thing is coming on the TV. Like just put something on. You're devastated if you open your takeaway and the ads come on the TV.

And you know why that is because you're really stressed out and you want to escape your reality. So when I look back now I have such compassion for that person. You know, I was really stressed out, really anxious. I couldn't make head or tail of how I was feeling my emotional growth was stunted because I was getting so drunk at the weekends on Fridays and Saturday nights, I'd be so hung over Saturday, Sunday, Monday, drinking Friday, Saturday. So that's like Friday until Tuesday.

Taken up with alcohol. I mean, when you think about it, it's such a waste for some of us that, that, that, you know, for me, it was a waste because I was drinking too much. I was drinking every Friday and Saturday. I was drinking to get drunk. So that's Saturday, write off Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or so cranky. So I was dedicating four days out of seven to alcohol, like four days out of seven. So I can clearly see now that I've been a year of alcohol that it stunted my emotions. Like when I first stopped drinking alcohol, honestly, it was, it was, I really had to learn what it was like to feel emotions. It was the craziest thing. So I look back now and I see somebody who, who turned to food for comfort, who turned to alcohol for comfort, who was always seeking comfort and who was always seeking to escape reality through food.

And I heard something recently and it really resonated with me and it was like, you know, when you eat too much on the couch at night or wherever it is and then, you know, you've eaten too much and you lean back on the couch and you take that deep sigh. You're full dot exhale that it's actually that exhale that we're looking for when we're overeating. For those of you like me who, who, who are maybe overeating for stress and for comfort. It's actually the exhale after you overeat that you're searching for. So, a good question to ask yourself is how can you get that deep exhalation? They say it with smokers too that people smoke to get that, you know, after they've had their few puffs and they just go, oh, everything's ok. That like, how can you get that in your life without smoking without overeating?

And that's what my problem was. I didn't need to focus more on my food, which is what the weight loss industry tells you to do. They somehow make you believe that the problem, the answer to your problem lies in knowing new recipes, which is complete bullshit. I mean, surely when you're out of the woods and you've healed your relationship with food then is the time to focus on how new recipes if you wanted to, surely you want to make things as simple as possible for yourself in the first month. I mean, that's what we did. We just, I kept it, we kept it simply to like chicken or fish, then with bit of egg and potatoes and keeping things simple while you are going through that healing process with food.

And then you're looking at new recipes for the right reasons, you know, Now, now I, when I snack I grab a banana, grab a piece of fruit and I don't think about it. I'm only grabbing the snack because it's helpful to snack between lunch and dinner and it's helpful and healthy to grab a mandarin between breakfast and lunch and gone are the crackers and the counting the teaspoons of hummus that we don't need. And when you stop and ask yourself what is it that I need? I got the answer when I asked myself that and I was able to answer truthfully, I didn't actually need recipes. I didn't need somebody to tell me how many calories to eat in a day. I didn't need somebody to explain how much protein I should get in a day.

What I really needed was to reduce my stress and anxiety, which for me were the two reasons why I was overeating. So I did and I just let go of all the silly things that I was on of the looking for new recipes. You know, why is it that when we are on this weight loss journey? And we go into that recipe, those new recipe things and all I was doing was taking a photograph of it and putting it on Instagram and being obsessed. I mean, I would make a dinner from a new recipe and just talk to Joe about it all week long about this amazing recipe I had found and I'll go to the shops now and get those ingredients and like how was that? What was the taste like? I must get a photograph of it. I must share it on Instagram.

No, no, I didn't need that. I needed to reduce my stress, reduce anxiety and figure out the reasons why I was so stressed and anxious and why I was turning to food for comfort and that my friend is a complete game changer. And if you're listening to this now and you're struggling to lose weight and you too are obsessed with the food that I promise you if you just draw a line in the sand and forget about focusing on the food for now and instead focus on those on my five step framework. PMS, I promise you, you will heal your relationship with your food through reducing your stress or anxiety or whatever the reason is that you are overeating at the moment. There's a reason that you're overweight and I'm not talking about any other reasons other than overeating. Like there's a reason that you're overweight and it's because you're eating too much food. It's not because you don't have the ideal recipe. It's not because you're not sitting down with a nutritionist and she hasn't told you yet the exact perfect secret of what to eat.

It's because you're eating too much food and there's a reason that you're eating too much food. So, what are the reasons I ask you today? Why are you turning to food. Why are you overeating? Why are your portions really big? Why do you eat sweet stuff? And if you struggle to be honest with yourself and you know, I can relate to that too and I know some people who struggle and they say, well, I just have a sweet tooth. No, no, I, I would disagree with that. I would disagree. Maybe you're afraid to open up, maybe you're afraid to open up to yourself and be honest, if it was just about having a sweet tooth, you would be able to stop. It's not the massive craving to the sugar that can sometimes get in our way.

It's the feeling of not saying yes to the sugar. It's the feeling of saying no, that can be really stressful. It's the feeling of saying I'm not having any sugar tonight and sitting with how you actually feel, maybe you've been avoiding it right up until now until listening to this episode, maybe you're avoiding how you feel. Maybe the idea of you sitting on the couch after a long day watching TV with a cup of tea with no food is really stressful for you. But you don't, you're scared to admit that you don't want to admit it. You want, you would prefer to say that you just have a sweet tooth. Nothing is going to change for you until you start using a different approach. The only thing that works is a different approach to what hasn't worked when I started focusing on my five step framework, pms.

Everything changed for me. I can't tell you I went from overweight binge, drinking so unhealthy, so bloated, no level of self care, a real self loathing and a self hatred to what I feel like now fit and healthy and strong and you know what the biggest thing I'm proud of. And I used to genuinely think eating in moderation was something that people said and they lied about like I, I really believe that, you know, the way you see people on youtube or on social media and you know, they talk about eating in moderation and they look so healthy. I used to think that was a complete and utter lie. And now I know actually eating in moderation is what happens for you when you are healed, when you take a holistic approach to your health. That's why I love my five step framework. Pms. It keeps it really simple. Pms. You have action steps for your physical fitness. That's the p for your accountability and support. That's the a who's holding you accountable, who's supporting you along the way. H hydration m your mental health, having mental health action steps, taking care of your mental health every week. As opposed to searching for new recipes, s self-care, bedtime, morning routine, nutritional action steps that aren't based on the mega specifics of your actual meals, but healthy guidelines for you to follow that help you feel really good. So, I hope you enjoyed this short podcast episode.

I promise you if you are jumping up and down on the weighing scales, if you're obsessed about your food, if you're always on and off and starting again and binge eating and dieting and restricting, I want you to know that there's another way and the other way is fun and you enjoy the journey and all the lovely, the every day you just enjoy every day. It's, it's not dieting, it's not restricting, it's living and you get to learn loads about yourself and your whole life changes in a really positive way. And you know what they say, there's always another level. So even if you're listening to this now and you think there's no other level, I've hit it. This is, this is the level I'll go. There's always another level. There's always another level for you to feel even better than you're feeling now. Um So keep up the good work, drop the obsession with the food and put your blinkers on and say no, when you see all that silly stuff come up about the weight loss industry and the obsession with food. 

About the author 

Jessica Cooke

I love drinking coffee, and my favourite thing in life (apart from my family) is to help women to get fit, healthy and learn how to love themselves again. (oh, and also I love playing with my two Miniature Schnauzers, Buster and Ozzy)

I’ve coached more than 6,140 women over 14 years get fit, healthy and learn how to love themselves again.

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