Is Your Food Identity Preventing You from Losing Weight?
How would it feel to lose weight, gain energy, and feel great in your body? Why does it seem so difficult to lose that extra body weight? Often, when we think of losing weight or getting healthy, we think only of diet and exercise.
However, research shows that the #1 key to health success is so much more than diet or exercise….it is support! In fact, people with strong support systems can lose as much as 3X more weight and more importantly, create the habits and lifestyle for lasting change.
And more than ever, since the Pandemic, Americans have changed the way they think about weight loss. According to a recent study by the Mayo Clinic, 83% of people survey wanted to lose weight not for appearance but for health reasons. More importantly, 55% percent of those surveyed have tried 6 or more diets and failed!
It is time to start thinking about weight loss in a different way to help you get unstuck and finally lose weight, feel better, and improve your health profile!
I recently had a chance to interview Sonia Satra, who is a certified NLP practitioner (neurolinguistic programming), health coach and fitness instructor about the barriers preventing you from losing weight.
One topic that is often discussed is food identity, a subject that was recently profiled in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.
She told me about one of her clients, a woman named Andrea who wanted to lose weight, but didn’t have much faith that she could change her eating habits, since she’d tried before and failed.
“I just can’t bring myself to eat salads all the time,” she said. “I know they’re good for me, but I don’t know. That’s not who I am.”
“Well, who are you?” Sonia asked.
She shrugged. “I love to bake. I have a serious sweet tooth,” she said. “And I’m Italian, so I grew up eating pasta and bread. And I love visiting my family and having a big meal together. I don’t want to give up those things. They’re a part of me.”
What Andrea was describing was her “food identity,” which is a collection of beliefs about yourself that plays a huge role in how and what you eat.
A few months ago, there was an NPR article by Anna Kusmer called “From Collards To Maple Syrup, How Your Identity Impacts The Food You Like.” Basically, it says this: foods that “fit” with your identity taste better to you.
The article’s tagline sums it up nicely: “If you’re Southern, macaroni and cheese with collard greens may taste better to you than to someone from another culture.” According to the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, this held true for both American Southerners and Canadians, who “preferred the taste of maple syrup over honey in trials when they were first reminded of their Canadian identity.”
Sonia says this is an observation, not a law of physics. There are plenty of exceptions. But there is a surprising amount of truth in it – especially when you interpret it so it’s not just about heritage, but about your greater “food identity.”
According to Sonia, there are two important things to understand about “food identity.”
1. Even if you don’t realize it, it’s affecting our decisions.
For many, our beliefs are hidden below the surface. We might not say them aloud, but they are there, directing us toward or away from certain foods and habits. But it doesn’t mean we can’t discover them. If you are not sure, just tell a friend what you like to eat and why. Chances are, that will reveal your food identity.
2. We can change our food identity— and/or work with it— so that it serves us.
The first step is to identify what your existing beliefs are. Then, think about what beliefs you’d like to have. For example:
- What are some things you believe about yourself, around food?
- What would you LIKE to believe about yourself?
- What would happen if you chose to focus of that second set of beliefs?
- What are some workarounds you might use, in order to create a healthy eating plan that’s in line with your identity?
If you are tired of feeling sluggish, aches and pains are adding up, doctor visits are more, or worst of all, you are missing out on doing the things you really want to do… just imagine that you CAN wake up one morning with renewed energy, confident and happy in your body.
So let’s get back to that strong support system. Sometimes you need support, motivation, and accountability. Sonia offers a 12-week program that in addition includes nutritional and exercise guidance and someone who believes in you…even on those days when you don’t believe in yourself! Learn more about her 12-week program including an introductory session at no charge
As an entrepreneur, holistic health coach, certified fitness instructor and certified NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming Practioner), Sonia is the Founder & CEO of Moticise, an award winning lifestyle wellness company and Women’s Empowerment Adventures, combining coaching workshops with physical challenges such as kayaking, trapeze, and rock climbing.
Sonia is a sought-after speaker at corporate retreats, leaderships conferences and team building workshops and has presented to the Univ of PA School of Positive Psychology, NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo, Goldman Sachs, Verizon, the Entrepreneurs Organization Global Conference and more. Sign up for Sonia’s weekly mailings and workshop invites at https://www.soniasatra.com/contact-sonia.