Work out your food personality.
Think about your eating habits – do you only eat when you’re hungry, do you use food to numb your emotions, is there a time of day, person or emotion that triggers you?
Are you a grazer or do you like set meals?
Because food is so closely linked to our emotions and our comfort, many of us reach for food when we really need to reach for a deep connection with ourselves.
Next time you feel triggered and you reach for food, get out some paper and journal instead. Start by writing, ‘Right now, I feel… I am using food to make me feel…’ Many of us use food for quick comfort and we tell ourselves, “I deserve this.”
Some studies show that the soothing effect of chocolate lasts for only around 3 minutes.
However, 5 minutes of quiet time spent focusing on yourself will make you feel better for a lot longer than that! Be specific with your intentions.
Research shows us that there are two kinds of intentions: broad ‘goal’ intentions such as ‘I need to eat better’, and more specific ‘implementation’ intentions, like ‘I exercise on Tuesdays and Thursdays for one hour in the morning after I drop off the kids at school.’
If your goals are too general, the brain is less likely to change its behaviour.
If you’re more specific, your brain has to do less work on its own to help you achieve your goal.
Create an ‘if this, then that’ plan for your most regular bad food habits, and use it when your willpower fails. For example, “If….I’m bored at my desk in the afternoon, and I reach for the chocolate; Then… I take a quick walk outside, make a cup of tea or have a quick chat with a friend.” This type of plan will help you maintain positive behaviours and choices.
Focus on progress, not perfection.
A healed relationship to your body comes from your heart, not your brain. It comes from gratitude and devotion to our bodies.
We can use willpower and whip ourselves to a point, but this approach won’t last. This approach is like trying to fit ourselves inside a cookie-cutter body shape while still using food for numbing and comfort.
We need to deal with the emotions that are causing us to reach for food.
Taking an all or nothing approach isn’t helpful and you’ll be happiest if you are balanced, which means slowing down and learning to love yourself.
It’s not about the food; it’s about the emotions that need to be released.