People who start health and fitness journeys get into the mentality of under eating or going on restrict diets because that is the only way they know how - or that is how they THINK they will ultimately reach their goals. Messages are sent to us over and over to eat less to achieve the body we want, but that is simply wrong. Like anything, under eating becomes a habit and even though you may recognize the problem, it's still difficult to change. I'm going to share with you my top tips to help overcome under eating because as you may or may not know I went through this myself.
1. Don't Overeat
It's common to go from under eating to binging right away. Stop the extremes and aim for balance. Also, you CAN go and eat "junk food" or "fast food" but do it for the right reason. When my parents wanted me to gain weight they would try and force me to eat McDonalds or go get Dairy Queen. This did NOT help me because it would cause me to feel guilt about the food I was eating. You don't have to eat "junk" food to gain weight, instead eat more healthy food. You'll feel better, have more energy and be happier.
2. Increase Portions
Increasing food is scary. To make it easier, keep with what you're eating right now, but simply increase the portions! Instead of having 1/2 cup of oatmeal, have 3/4 of a cup. Instead of making it with water, make it with milk to add extra (healthy) calories. Add an extra spoonful of potatoes or veggies on your plate, have an extra snack between meals.
3. Listen to Your Body and Fight Your Mind
I talk about this over and over again, but the best way to diet and the healthiest way to be is to be in tune with what your body is telling you - it knows. When you're hungry or lethargic, then you need to eat something. Don't stress about what time it is, or if you just ate not too long ago. If your body is telling you something, then listen to it. Our bodies can be smarter than our minds sometimes and remember that thoughts are just thoughts. The number one thing people don't realize with restrictive eating tendencies is that it has NOTHING TO DO WITH FOOD. It's all a struggle in the mind. Train your mind like you train your muscles. Fight the negative thoughts. It's not easy, but you will get through it. You will have really good days, but you will also have really bad days. But I promise you will get there.
4. Weight Gain means Success
Increasing food especially if you have been extremely under eating, means that you ARE going to gain weight. It's natural and it's healthy and that's what you want! But before you get too scared, you need to realize that your body needs the extra calories, that the initial weight gain does not mean you will continue to gain weight forever - your body will balance out. If you're gaining weight, then it's working and you should be happy! Soon you will look in the mirror and accept your body, but most importantly you will FEEL more energized and happy.
Celebrate your Successes
No matter how big or how small these milestones may seem to other people, you need to celebrate your successes. I don't mean throw a party every time you eat an extra serving (well, you could - that would be pretty cool and you better invite me), but I mean thinking how proud you are of yourself. Little things that may seem dumb to other people are actually huge accomplishments in my life. These include