“Yes, I’ll take a burger and fries and a coke.” “That looks so good – I’m just going to indulge, then I’ll start my diet next week.” “These chips are so delicious – I deserve to relax while I munch on them.” Do you hear yourself uttering these phrases mindlessly as the days of your life go by?

And just as predictably do you find yourself having immediate feelings of regret about your actions no sooner than your satiated feelings subside? “How long is this cycle going to consume my life?” you ask yourself as you throw your hands up in frustration. “How much time, energy and money am I going to continue to throw at this problem only to experience the unbearable sting of defeat? How can I be so intelligent and successful in other aspects of my life and keep coming back to this place of despair regarding my relationship with food?”

Be assured that your cycle of failure has nothing to do with intelligence or willpower. The fact that you feed yourself too much food and foods that cause you to gain weight without doing enough physical activity to burn those calories off, is nothing more than a habitual response that you have developed to cope with the stresses (good and bad) of life. It’s a stimulus-response mechanism. Something out there in your environment such as seeing food, smelling food, or even a certain person or place, or something internally such as the emotion of worry, fear or joy triggers you and your immediate knee jerk response is to reach for food. You may not even be aware that it’s happening until the damage has been done (and you’ve eaten more than your body needed or foods that are actually harmful to your system).

So the cycle goes like this. You tell yourself that you are not going to eat certain foods. You think about the foods you are not going to eat because the harder you “try” not to think about them, the more they permeate your consciousness. You “try” to ignore these thoughts and believe that you are going along fine using all the willpower that you can muster. Then – boom – the trigger happens. Perhaps you feel a strong emotion such as boredom, anxiety, anger or joy. Or maybe you pass a familiar fast-food restaurant or you let yourself get really hungry. You start to feel a bit out of control. There’s your stimulus. And the response . . . well you know it well enough. You eat the foods you swore that you’d never touch again and then you feel that old familiar awful feeling of self-disgust and remorse.

Is it your destiny to just keep living and re-living this painful drama around food? Absolutely, not! Here are 5 keys to help you break this cycle of pain and live a life of being in control of your eating habits.

1. Have a Plan
Know what your triggers are and have a contingency plan for responding to them. If you know that you are typically starving when you walk through the door at the end of a long day, then plan ahead and carry with you a healthy snack for the drive home . . . perhaps a slice of cheese or a piece of fruit. If your pattern is to walk through the door and crack open a beer or a bottle of wine and then munch mindlessly while you fix dinner for the kids, nibble on a small piece of meat and some celery to take the edge off your hunger.

If you had a baby, you wouldn’t leave the house without making sure that you were supplied with enough diapers and milk, so why do you walk around completely unprepared when you know that it’s inevitable that you, too, will need to eat? Letting yourself get ravenous without a plan is the number one mistake you can make.

2. Be aware

Pay more attention to your own thoughts and feelings so that they don’t get out of control. As soon as you notice the inner voices that start saying, “Eating healthy is hard,” or “I really want a piece of carrot cake,” listen up. Remember that thought ALWAYS precedes action. You might have heard the expression that “people don’t change.” That’s only true if their thoughts don’t change. When we have new thoughts, we will generate new behaviors. It’s a fact. So when your thoughts genuinely become, “I love to exercise,” or “I can’t wait to have that delicious salad with all the wonderful, healthy fixings on top,” or “the moment’s pleasure of eating that cake is so not worth the long term pain of addiction and fat,” then you will find it easy to forgo the cake, put on your gym shorts, or reach for the salad.

Remember that it’s up to you to program your own mind. Our beliefs become true for us and create the life we either want or don’t want. Think about the results that you long for and program your thinking to get you there. There is no benefit to thinking that what you need to do to get the results you want is hard – it only makes it so. Maintain a heightened awareness of your thoughts and feelings and make the adjustments you need to achieve what you so desire.

Change Your Thoughts by Accessing Your Subconscious Mind

You can’t force yourself not to think about something but you can re-program your mind by introducing new, positive thoughts and feelings into it. Take time every day to practice self-hypnosis and install a new, positive program about your relationship to food. In the morning when you wake up, or at night before you fall asleep, close your eyes, take several deep breaths and imagine yourself thin, healthy, happy, moving your body easily, pushing harmful foods away from you and preferring healthy foods and drinking lots of water. Affirm to your self, “I am in control of my life and my eating habits.” “I love my youthful, healthy, fit body.” “I am absolutely determined to succeed, I am succeeding,” over and over again. In order to be successful, you need your subconscious mind as an ally. If you could have done this with your conscious mind alone, you would have. Remember that you can’t solve a problem at the same level it was created, as Einstein brilliantly stated. We must go to a deeper level and self-hypnosis will help you do just that.

Eat foods That you Like

There are so many contradictions in life and the area of food is no exception. Yes, you want to change your taste so that you prefer healthy food and yes, the more you eat healthy food, the more you will grow to really enjoy the taste and even prefer it. I love the fact that I would rather eat vegetables now than a pizza! Twenty years ago I never would have thought that were possible. On the other hand, you must enjoy the food that you are eating in order to be successful. That’s why diets don’t work – because they leave you feeling deprived and always wanting something else. Make sure that you are eating enough food. If you let yourself get too hungry, you’ll just end up bingeing.

A key to making food taste good is making sure that you are including enough healthy fat in your diet. Olive oil, nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocado and cheese in moderation (if it isn’t a huge trigger food for you – meaning you can’t stop) are all good sources of healthy fat that will keep you from feeling dissatisfied and ravenous. The trick is not to make the fatty foods the cornerstone of your meals, but rather to use the healthy fat to make the healthy complex carbohydrates and proteins that you eat taste good. The best way to get off junk food is to make sure that the nutritious foods that you are eating are tasty and satisfying to you. Then it’s easier to push the empty-calorie food away because you know that you have something wonderful to look forward to that will not only satisfy your taste buds but lead you to the healthy, happier, addiction-free life you ultimately want.

Be Patient
Finally, the most important key is to let go of the results. You have your vision that you are reinforcing daily with self-hypnosis, you are planning ahead, learning new ways to cope with your thoughts, feelings and stressors, and you are eating healthy food that you are enjoying. Make sure that you are exercising every day, too, and find some kind of movement that you absolutely enjoy and wouldn’t want to miss. Through out the day fantasize about how good it’s going to feel to move your body in this way because thought always precedes action.

Now, stop focusing on your result! When the sperm meets the egg, you can relax knowing that it takes 9 months for the result. No amount of hopping on and off the scale will make it happen any faster. The more you micro-manage your results, the more you actually retard your own progress. You didn’t gain the weight overnight so give yourself the gift of time when shedding it.

In the meantime, enjoy all the rewards of your new journey – the increased self-awareness, mindfulness, heightened sense of self-empowerment and inner strength and the discovery that you are so much more than just your conscious thoughts and transient emotions. Relish in the understanding that your persistent weight problems were a wonderful vehicle to learn to know, forgive and love yourself.

Take time to absorb the wonderful gift of self-discovery, realizing that it’s not so much about the number on the scale, but your deep desire to step into the fullest expression of yourself. This journey is a way for you to turn on your own inner light and let it shine forth as you affirm to yourself, “I am absolutely determined to succeed. I am succeeding!”

Author's Bio: 

Rena leads weight loss seminars at hospitals, governments and major corporations throughout the United States on a regular basis. Her unique and effective weight loss program has been featured in over 85 newspaper articles and over 35 television segments including Woman’s World Magazine and FOX-TV, nationwide. Rena is a Hay House Author, an ordained minister, a hypnotherapist, biofeedback therapist and neuro-linguistic programming expert. She can be reached at EasyWillpower.com.