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In my article why don’t diets work I discussed the negative aspects of restrictive eating. Now that this has been established, it’s time to discuss how to regain a more positive relationship with food.
Food is the body’s fuel; it gives us the energy and the nutrients we require. However, not all food is complementary to the body and so we need to ascertain the appropriate type of food to consume.
In order to start eating the correct type of food, a change in mindset is necessary to facilitate a smooth and successful transition. Although it is easy to suggest the notion of change, yet adhering to it is difficult.
The majority of people struggle with change because changing involves moving outside of one’s comfort zone. For most, changing bad food habits means a reluctant adjustment, yet it doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.
Regardless of your circumstance, whether you want to lose weight, give up junk food as a preventative strategy against heart disease, obesity etc.. or afflicted with an ailment, which you want to remedy via eating healthy. I’m going to offer you a few tips and expectations to lay down the foundation for consuming healthy food; it begins with behaviour change……
Be positive and receptive to change/Set yourself realistic goals
This is an extremely important step that needs to be highlighted. An overzealous character, who is overcome with excitement, can easily lose sight of their long term vision.
Do remember to set yourself some tangible goals; these goals should be specific, doable with room for error. For instance let’s say you want to change your food habits in order to lose weight.
This is a great concept; however you need to be specific about how you intend to lose weight. Would this be through eating healthy food? Do you intend to incorporate exercise? If so, what type of exercise and how often? Are you intending to research and learn about calorie dense food?
Be sure to set yourself a target which is easy to adhere to and contemplate the time, cost and resources that may impact your strategy. The same principle applies to embarking this path for cosmetic purposes or curing a disease (.i.e celiac disease).
Be realistic with your aim, will you be browsing recipes and/or articles to teach you how to cook? or read books that teach you are about celiac disease? If so, do you have a time frame to implement these changes? Don’t worry if you come across a few hurdles along the way, that’s apart of the changing process!
Document your journey
Keep a journal or use some type of method that documents your journey. It might be useful to commence with a baseline. What I mean by implementing a baseline is a starting point to log your progress.
Ideally, you might want to start by writing down your existing weight, or compose a list of all the naughty food you currently ingest.
Then you can utilise this as a measuring point, and see how well you’re doing weekly, ensuring that each achievement is recorded. Tracking your process will help to monitor and evaluate your personal development throughout thus aiding motivation.
The closer you are to your desired outcome, the more encouraged you will become to succeed and not to mention an elevation in mood. You can also review progress in real time, highlighting changes from start to finish.
Patience is a virtue
As the saying goes “Roman wasn’t built in a day” therefore, don’t expect to reach your accomplishment within a matter of days. Adaptations take time, discipline and dedication.
However, with that in mind, with a little bit of patience, practicality and a positive mindset (I like to call this the three p’s) you will see results in due time. Furthermore, it takes time to build a healthy lifestyle and just remember that the next time you’re frustrated.
Surroundings and socializing
As human beings, we are creatures of habit and “old habits die hard”. Behaviour change is not different. At some time when undergoing this transition you’re likely to encounter, social and environmental cues which may evoke feelings of temptation. This is going to present
itself as a challenge, one that requires a viable solution. Let’s say for example, you might decide to meet up with friends for coffee, as opposed to lunch to minimise exhibiting old character traits or avoid walking past the ice parlour to limit temptation.
As you can see, planning ahead and identifying what these triggers are, can ward off the ability to dip into old food habits. This impromptu reaction will become much easier with time.
On the other, immersing yourself in a social atmosphere could optimise your results. Whether you decide
to join a cooking class, exercise session, round up a few friends or even encourage your family to commence a healthy eating lifestyle.
Embarking on a behaviour change with company; is dynamic and effective. The reason being is that you
have company, which is the equivalent to having a support network, who share the same interests as you. Strength in numbers can provide you with the encouragement you need to accomplish your goal and eliminate the thought of isolation.
Barricade and hurdles
Don’t be intimidated by any difficulties you may face as part of your journey. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, scared or even met with a number of stumbling blocks. The key is to navigate around them and remain on the correct path towards your goal.
Occasionally you may experience a “bad day” perhaps you succumb to temptation, skipped cooking a healthy meal, omit reading the latest diet and nutrition book. You’re human, we all have days where we lack or feel like we are failing.
This ominous dark cloud is simply a passing phase; you will overcome this sore point. Acknowledge, accept, learn and move on from this negative situation and reflect on your previous times of achievement.
Credit yourself on success
You’re amazing, and deserve to credit yourself and your continual effort. On the contrary, you don’t have to reward yourself with food. However, make a conscious effort to champion every significant milestone that is met. Remember to be your own cheerleader.
The fact that you are changing your bad eating habits is a milestone within itself, with that in mind, spoil yourself with a gift. Set yourself a mini goal and reward yourself with something meaningful (whatever you chose to place true value on). It has been proven that frequent treats increase motivation and self-worth, in comparison to irregular bonuses, so be kind to yourself periodically.
Finally, be a great role model. People will begin to notice your changes, over a course of time; you will seek admiration and credence for your endurance. Share your knowledge and be a shining example of what ensues changing dietary habits.