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I’m sure you have many reasons why you want to want to change your eating habits. You could probably rattle off about a dozen of them right now. However, if you’re like most people who have struggle with unhealthy eating patterns, you don’t automatically think of all these reasons when you’re craving a particular food. One essential technique that will help you control your eating is to continually remind yourself of what you will gain by adopting a healthier lifestyle. If you focus on what you are gaining, you’re less likely to feel deprived.
The most effective way of doing this is to write down all the reasons why you want to change your eating habits and put it somewhere where you can read it every single day. It’s crucial for you to remind yourself again and again exactly what you stand to gain from doing this. If the benefits stay fresh in your mind, you’ll be much more likely to be able to resist temptation when a craving strikes.
Below are some Benefits Lists from my clients:
- I’ll have more energy to play with my kids
- I’ll feel good about cooking healthy meals for my family
- I’ll be setting a good example for my children
- I’ll feel good about taking the kids swimming and getting into the pool with then.
- I’ll enjoy being photographed
- I’ll be able to wear a nice dress to my daughters Communion
- I’ll be at less risk of developing diabetes like my mother
- I’ll feel in control
- I’ll enjoy physical intimacy more
- I will enjoy wearing skirts with bare legs in summer
- I’ll feel like me again.
- Emma, 28
- I’ll be able to wear skinny jeans
- I’ll enjoy shopping and trying on clothes
- I’ll enjoy dancing again
- I’ll be able to wear a bikini on holidays
- I won’t feel judged by my weight
- I will have the confidence to enjoy work nights out
- I’ll feel comfortable in my work skirt
- I feel more alert and focused at work
- My skin will be clear and bright
- I’ll have the confidence to start dating again
- I’ll enjoy being a bridesmaid at my sisters wedding
- I’ll like myself better
- My parent will be proud of me
Sean, 48 .
- My cholesterol will be under control and I can avoid medication
- I’ll feel more in control over my current and future health.
- My digestion will be better, less reflux and indigestion
- I’ll feel more assertive at work and confident giving presentations.
- I’ll be more likely to go for a promotion
- I’ll have more energy and mobility on the golf course
- I’ll be in better form with my family
- I’ll be able to keep up with my sons in the park
- I will be in a better position to manage my stress levels
- I’ll sleep better
Remember, that adopting healthier eating habits will have a domino effect on all aspects of your health and wellbeing including your weight, energy levels, stamina, mood, mental clarity skin, confidence, sleep, digestion, heart health to name but a few. These in turn will have positive effect on all aspects of your life including your daily life i.e. family life, relationships, work, social life, fitness. State all the benefits in the present tense and in a positive way and make them as specific as possible and ideally start with the benefits that mean the most to you.
The following questions will help prompt you:
How will I look? What will I wear? How will others view me? How will I feel?
How will my home life improve? How will work be affected? How will my relationships change? How will I feel about myself? What will I do that I wouldn’t do before, What activities or hobbies will I take up, How will my immediate health benefit? How will it affect my long term health? What will I do when I have more energy? How will it change my mood?
What are you waiting for????
Elsa Jones is a Qualified Nutritional Therapist & Author of No. 1 Bestseller ‘Goodbye Sugar’. www.elsajonesnutrition.com
Stop Making Excuses & Start Losing Weight
If making excuses was an Olympic event, would you be a gold medalist? For many of us trying to lose weight, making excuses for why we cant stick to a healthy diet or exercise on a consistent basis is often the greatest barrier to weight loss success.
I’ve noticed that a lot of the weight loss clients I’ve counselled over the years have one thing in common – they’re all very good at making excuses to justify their eating habits. Of course, we all fool ourselves with excuses now and again (myself included – ‘I’ve just had a baby’ is my current fave), but, the question is how often are you doing it and is it stopping you from looking and feeling your best?
Who are you fooling?
If you are in the habit of regularly making excuses to justify eating something you know you shouldn’t, then it’s time you work towards breaking this habit. Otherwise it will hold you back from achieving and maintaining your weight loss goals. The good news is that the solution lies entirely within your own control. As with most bad habits, the first step to dealing with excuse-making is firstly to acknowledge that you do it and secondly to recognise when you’re doing it. The steps below will help you do this:
Excuses usually start with ‘permission giving thoughts’. Permission giving thoughts are those little thoughts that whizz through our head giving us ‘rational’ reasons for things and help us to justify what we’re about to do.
These thoughts often start with the phrase, “I probably shouldn’t eat this, but it’s ok because…
- It’s only a small piece
- I’ll make up for it tomorrow
- It won’t matter just this once
- I’ll burn it off
- It doesn’t taste that sweet
- I’m starving
- There’s nothing else to eat
- It’d be rude not to
- I’m celebrating
- It’s the weekend
- It’ll go to waste
- It’s free
- I’ve paid for it
- The label says Low Fat
- I deserve it
- I need it
- I’m stressed
- I have PMS
- Everyone else is eating it
We can allow other people to ‘grant us’ permission too:
- Mum said it’s good to have a treat at the weekends
- Mary said these low fat muffins aren’t fattening
- The lady off the TV said dried fruit is healthy
- That magazine article said a glass of wine a day is good for you
- James bought me chocolates to cheer me up
- The label say’s it’s natural & organic
- Alan said his trainer said….
- She ordered the dessert for us to share
How to stop making excuses and get your power back:
Write em down
Do any of these thoughts/excuses sound familiar to you? If so, write down the ones you’ve used in the past and/or are likely to use in the future. Seeing an excuse in writing helps you see it for exactly what it is. It also allows you the opportunity to reflect upon and challenge your excuses whilst in a rational state as opposed to when you’re in the craving moment and in an irrational state.
The next time an excuse from your list pops into your head, part of your rational brain will recognise it for what it is even if you’re craving at the time and having irrational thoughts. As the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed.
Challenge your excuses
As you become more aware of the types of excuses you make, you’ll be in a better position to challenge them.
When we’re in the moment of really wanting to eat something, we often don’t think with our heads and use rational reasoning, instead we allow our stomachs and our emotions to do the reasoning for us. So, for example, convincing yourself that it’s ok to have a chocolate croissant for breakfast because ‘it’s Sunday’, is not using rational reasoning.
Think of a common excuse you use to eat something you shouldn’t and challenge it now by asking yourself the following questions:
- Is my reasoning for eating this rational?
- Am I thinking with my stomach or emotions?
- Would that excuse stand up in court or be dismissed as circumstantial?
- Has this rationale served me well in the past?
- Will eating this help me reach my goal and desired outcome?
- Can I think of a more helpful or reasonable alternative?
It can also be useful to come up with some helpful responses to your own excuses, write them down and refer to them when temptation strikes. Here’s an example
Challenge Your Excuses
Excuse: It won’t matter just this one once
Helpful Response: Just this once will lead to another and then another. Every time I give in, I reinforce bad habits, every time I resist, I reinforce good habits that will take me closer to my goal.
Excuse: I’ve had a tough day, I need to relax with a cup of tea and some biscuits
Helpful Response: I do need to relax but I don’t need biscuits to relax, I can watch a movie, read my book, meditate or take a bath instead.
Another way we commonly fool ourselves is by underestimating or ‘forgetting’ how much we’re actually eating in a day. You’d be surprised what our minds both naturally forget and conveniently forget when we don’t really want to remember.
It’s not necessarily that we’re consciously trying to deceive ourselves about what we’ve eaten. It’s just that it’s really easy to forget about all the little nibbles or extra spoonfuls here or there, and then we wonder why we’re not getting the results we want. If this sounds like you, then I suggest that you keep a daily food & drink log to help you monitor your eating habits.
Writing down everything you eat and drink including all the little extras you hadn’t planned to eat, forces you to be aware of exactly what you’re consuming and to be accountable for the consequences. It also helps you recognise and solve problems that may be hindering your progress. This is particularly relevant if weight loss is a goal for you. In fact, several studies show that keeping a written record of what you eat increases the likely-hood that you’ll lose weight and keep it off. Why not increase your chances of success in anyway you can?
Don’t undo your good work
I’m a big believer in the 80:20 rule when it comes to healthy eating (i.e. eat super healthy 80% of the time, then allow yourself to indulge a little 20% of the time) However, for most people this only works well when you’re trying to maintain your weight as opposed to lose weight. So many people are really good on weekdays then over-indulge at the weekend which often keeps us stuck at the same weight. If you have weight to lose, I recommend you aim for 90:10 instead, that way you’ll reach your weight loss goal quicker and it’s easier to stay motivated when you’re seeing steady results on a weekly basis.
The tips from this blog are taken from the No. 1 Bestselling Book ‘Goodbye Sugar’ written by Nutritional Therapist, Elsa Jones.