‘Food Noise’ is a term floating around TikTok that’s given to the intrusive thoughts that tell you that you should keep on eating even though you’re full.
It can have a hugely detrimental effect on people’s weight loss efforts, especially at Christmas time when snack temptations are tenfold.
Households up and down the country will be fighting the urge to snack this festive period, as new research commissioned by weight loss brand Allurion has revealed that one in two Brits are affected by food noise (50 percent).
Almost two thirds of Brits (63 percent) are unable to distinguish hedonic hunger and physical hunger – with internal food noise leading to severe stress in 28 percent of respondents and anxiety in 23 percent of participants, whilst also interfering with 16 percent of people’s sleep.
One of the main downsides of food noise is that it can not only prompt you to overeat, but also make unhealthy food choices – especially when you are in the early stages of dieting.
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Replying to @Adrienne food noise#semaglutide #tirzepatide
original sound – Dr Jennah | WeightDoc
However, Anne-Galle, a Psychologist at Allurion specialising in eating behaviour and weight management, has shared some coping strategies for those watching what they eat during the festive season.
“First things first – let’s start with the premise that you can eat anything. That’s right. Nothing is off limits. So when thoughts of food flood into your mind, stop telling yourself you can’t have it, because prohibition automatically increases desire. We just need to consider when and how much of it we can eat,” the psychologist explained.
“To explain this idea, I often use a practical example. Have you ever tried typing ‘I do not want a pink car’ into Google? Can you guess what the result is? Exactly, pink cars.
“Similarly, our brains respond when we constantly repeat phrases like ’can’t eat,’ ‘I can’t be hungry,’ ‘Chocolate is off limits.’ It works as a constant reminder.
“Other examples are seen in restrictions during pregnancy or before a surgical procedure, which always increases the desire to consume those types of foods. Prohibition will work as an enhancer for the desire to eat.”
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In order to control how much you are eating over the Christmas period, Anne-Galle encourages dieters to consider when it is worth eating what they want, so they have accepted they can eat it but just have to plan for when that moment might be.
“If you start to think in this way, then the focus shifts from the food to the plan itself,” the eating behaviour expert explained.
“For example, if I feel like eating chocolate in the morning, I could postpone it to coffee time or snack time, within a suitable setting with colleagues or family, in an appropriate portion. By postponing it, it reduces anxiety and allows for controlled consumption.”
To combat the sometimes overwhelming food noise dialogue, Anne-Galle has shared some handy hacks in the form of self-compassionate mantras, for example:
“It is completely normal for me to have the desire to eat. Just as I have many other desires during the day like the desire to sleep, yet I don’t always act upon them.
“I am allowed to eat, but I want to learn a different way to manage my emotions.
“What I’m feeling is anxiety, not hunger. I don’t need to eat to resolve that. I will eat later when I am hungry.”
The food expert has also urged Brits to stop feeling guilty and understand that there are many factors involved in weight gain such as lack of sleep and emotions.
“By understanding that food meets physiological needs as well as emotional ones, we can allow ourselves to eat everything in the right quantities, without feeling guilty. The result is a calmer mind and less Food Noise,” she added.
“Engaging in mindfulness practices can also help turn down the volume. You can do this by focusing on the present moment and acknowledging thoughts and sensations without judgement.
“This can help identify emotional triggers, accept the emotion of the moment and stop ‘eating’ it there and then to put you back in control.”
Anne-Galle’s final bit of advice is to start planning meals and snacks, as it helps you feel more in control of your eating – reducing the stress and guilt associated with spontaneous seasonal food choices.
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