The Joy of Eating
The Joy of Eating. This simple phrase gets easily lost in our world full of food restrictions, and nutrient-focused mindsets. Eating should be joyful and not something we feel anxious about, but when we release food restrictions, it’s tricky to know how to incorporate those foods back into our lives without feeling discomfort. Food has this tendency of being a comfort to us when we are feeling anxious about change, so during times of intentional behaviour shifts, how do we get past our go-to comfort foods? Take a moment now to reflect on alternative activities that make you feel good, such as: taking a bubble bath, a walk in the woods, calling your favourite people just to say “hi,” watching your favourite movie, or playing an instrument.
Self-change takes effort!
Research has shown that self-change is a staged process in which one moves from not thinking about changing a behaviour to thinking about planning for the change before actually even starting the new behaviour. But when we are finally in the action stage, doing our new behaviour, it is important to keep our strengths and values at the top of our minds to stay on track. Here’s the clincher - you have to want to feel good for yourself, or it won’t resonate deep enough to motivate you over any bumps along the way.
Despite us all being wellness warriors, lapses in behaviour are normal, so we need to prepare for them. Releasing food restrictions may feel like a ride on the teeter-totter: you want to start incorporating previously forbidden foods back into your life, but you worry about opening the floodgates to your cravings. Sometimes, this way of eating takes greater willpower than an all-or-nothing approach!
Start planning for success.
For those times when life gets busy or our finite amount of willpower is used for other things. Create daily reminders of why you want to feel good for yourself (this future you, which is only a few months away). Spend some time at the beginning of each week planning your meals and snacks for the week, which include those previously forbidden treats.
Besides strengthening our willpower, it is also important to move beyond the all-or-nothing mindset we get stuck in during times of behaviour change. An all-or-nothing mentality about goals can lead to guilt, self-blame and reasons to quit. Don’t get me wrong, some people work best going cold turkey, but when it comes to food, things get a little tricky when we reemerge into the real world. For instance, howwill you feel dining out with friends and family, or seeing a movie and smelling that popcorn? Stay focused and be mindful. You can savour that treat...but split it with someone.
Now that you have the tools and are committed to strengthening your willpower and leaving behind that all-or-nothing mindset, expect setbacks. When they happen (and they will) it is a great time to get quiet and revisit, revise and reconnect with our strengths, values, resources, visions, goals and motivators. In addition to exploring lessons learned, it is important to go back and restart the preparation process, but make sure it is judgement-free.
Doing the right thing for your body makes you feel good, but it’s not easy!
Remember to enjoy food and not get stuck with food restrictions or living in an all-or-nothing mindset.
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From the E book Elevate 2018