When COVID started in the spring of 2020, I was trying to lose the last five pounds my body had held onto since my son was born eight years earlier. I was doing CrossFit classes at 5:45 a.m. five days a week, doing intermittent fasting to control my daily calorie intake, and had been trying for over a year without success. It was incredibly frustrating! Then the pandemic hit, and I ended up gaining an additional 10 pounds. But I have lost 13 pounds in the past three months using the concept of calorie density in conjunction with primary foods.
What are the primary foods?
I first discovered primary foods when I joined the Slim on Starch program in April. I started working with therapist Kiki Attonito, MA, CAP, RYT, who has masters in clinical psychology and specializes in addiction. She told POPSUGAR that primary foods are “the enriching aspects of life that nourish us at the soul level”. It is relationships, hobbies, places and things that feed our happiness, enrich our lives, and give them meaning.
Food was once my main food
“I lost sight of the reasons I try to eat and be healthy in the first place – to be able to spend time with my family and do the things I love.”
“When we connect with people, connect with engaging hobbies, and immerse ourselves in our primary foods, we rewire our bodies and brains to remind ourselves of the real joys that come from connecting with life. as opposed to food, ”Antonio explained. It was so important for me to learn. During my decades of dieting and struggling with body image and trying to lose weight, thinking about food and how I look had become my main focus in life. I was so focused on what I ate, when I ate, how much and what I weighed, it took me away from the true joys of life. I lost sight of the reasons I try to eat and be healthy in the first place: to be able to spend time with my family and do the things I love.
All the things I loved to do before trying to lose weight, like painting, drawing, knitting, learning to play the banjo, singing with my husband, and sewing, were all put aside, and food became my. obsession: my main food. With food being the center of my thoughts and my life, I didn’t feel inspired to do these other things. And because I ate whenever I wanted to feed this craving for joy (most of the time I wasn’t even hungry), I ended up gaining weight, and then the food took over my focus even more. I felt so stuck because I really didn’t feel happy.
How I used primary foods to lose weight
I didn’t realize how emotionally eating was contributing to my weight gain until I heard Slim on Starch creator Emmie Keefe say, “If hunger isn’t the thing. problem, then food is not the solution. ” I fed all of my emotions with food, and while it might have worked initially, it never quite satisfied what I was looking for. I ended up overeating everyday.
When I intentionally focused on not turning to food for happiness and instead discovering my primary foods, my happiness skyrocketed and my obsession with food and weight loss started to fade. blur. It was not easy at first. I really had to connect with my emotions and not automatically turn to food whenever I was feeling happy, sad, bored, bored, or stressed. I have found that talking to myself and saying the statement, “I feel ______, therefore I need _______” has helped me tremendously.
Most of the time, I turned to food for joy, excitement, and creativity; I was constantly cooking and baking because I loved the way the delicious foods I ate gave my brain an instant dopamine surge. But baking a batch of brownies and eating half the pan never met those desires – that blissful feeling only lasted for a few minutes and I always felt disappointed (and with an upset stomach from the overeating). I realized that if I turned to my primary foods instead, I felt more emotionally satisfied. I felt more joy, more excitement and overflowed with more creativity. I now know that primary foods are more effective in meeting the needs of my soul than food, and I am able to let food do its job of nourishing my body. It also made me proud to create new habits for dealing with strong or uncomfortable emotions without food.
How to use primary foods in social situations where food is involved
One of the most useful ways primary foods to help me lose weight was in social situations. Food always seemed to be the main focus when spending time with family or friends. Which restaurant did we receive take-out food from? What do you want me to pick up at the vegan cafe? What should we be cooking together this weekend? I was really worried about how to distract from food without feeling sad about it.
Attonito reminds his customers that the main reason they are with people is for the main food of socializing, not just for the real food. She told me that by tapping into the connections around me, the importance of food falls into the background as life itself takes center stage.
I took his advice, and when we had friends over for a homemade pizza or got some treats from the vegan bakery, I focused on the conversations and the food really fell on my mind. Of course, I also combined this by honoring my hunger and fullness signals, making sure I ate until I felt satisfied. But when I got the urge to eat after that moment because I was looking for the happiness and excitement that food can bring me, I satisfied my emotional needs by engaging with the people around me. Attonito calls this ‘reserve a meal’ which means ‘choose a primary food in life to use as’ dessert ‘after that meal’. And it was so much more rewarding than the food!
How to discover your primary foods
Primary foods are unique to you. Attonito said that we derive primary foods from various aspects of life including our relationships, social life, career, spirituality, home environment, movements, hobbies and our creativity – whatever brings you happiness and brings joy to your life. Here is a list of some primary foods to get you started. Use them to feed your soul:
- People and socialization: spending time with family, joining a hiking group or book club, calling a friend
- Hobby: draw, knit, paint, travel, play an instrument, do a puzzle, take pictures, garden
- Exercise: go for a run, jump on an exercise machine, take a group fitness class, go for a walk
- Anti-stress activities: yoga, meditation, listening to music or a podcast
- Nature: go out and enjoy the sights and smells around you
- Pets: spending time with your furry loved ones
- Screens: watch a show or movie, or play a game online
- Learn: engage in something new to keep life exciting, explore new cultures
Read on to see what primary foods I used to help me lose weight. The best thing about primary foods is that the primary foods discovery journey is never over! These are my main foods now, but who knows what new passions I will stumble upon now that my mind is no longer consumed by food and weight loss. Attonito said, “We have the chance to discover and experience soul food every day. I tell my clients to enjoy this amazing process, to come closer to themselves and their lives with respect and enthusiasm, and to remember that the process of finding new primary foods is itself primary food. ! “