Have you attempted to change what you eat?
Maybe you were on a diet or perhaps you were looking to just eat healthier foods.
Did you find it difficult, at times, to stick with your new food habits?
It is easy to give into your temptation with your favorite snack or dessert. Or maybe you were out with friends having a good time and got carried away with your eating and drinking.
This happens to all of us, but the consequences that follow these actions can be difficult to handle.
You get caught up in guilt for giving in to your impulses. You blame yourself for being weak or not having self-control.
Or you decide to write off the weekend and say that you’ll start again with your diet on Monday. But this action still reduces your self-belief that you can stick to your word.
These slip-ups happen with any of your commitments. It is important to recognize that, not beat yourself up about it, give yourself grace and begin anew the next day.
But it would also be important for you to understand why you get tempted in the first place and how you can gain control over these impulses.
The Oxford dictionary defines mindset as “the established set of attitudes held by someone”. You can extend this definition to see that your mindset helps you experience life and the world around you.
And your experiences can be categorized as are either happy and pleasurable or unhappy and painful. And as a natural instinct you move towards happiness and away from unhappiness.
Hence, your mindset not only influences how you experience the world, but also governs what actions you’ll take and what you’ll avoid.
There are several factors that shape your mindset.
Your body type and genetic mental constitution dictate whether you take actions that are beneficial and result in personal growth, whether you have a restless disposition, or whether you tend to confine yourself to your own thoughts.
Your current emotional state also plays a role. If your mind is anxious, angry or depressed, your mindset reflects those emotions.
Your self-talk influences your mindset. When you say words such as “I’m not smart” or “I don’t know what to do”, they get imprinted into your self-image and it affects how you see yourself.
Your mindset is a series of triggers. When you encounter a situation in life that resembles a particular trigger, then your mind and body automatically generate a response associated with that trigger.
Food choices are a common trigger response.
Hence when you have sudden deadlines at work, you feel anxious and you reach for the candy bar in the vending machine. Or when you see your friends, you feel happy, and you reminisce the good times with food and drinks.
Your food temptations have less to do with food, and more to do with your emotions and how you’re handling them.
And for you to gain control of your food impulses, it would be important to become aware of your emotional triggers, get clear with your goals, and setup an environment where you’ll be successful with your new food choices.
Here are some ways of how you can do that.
Identify Emotional Triggers
When you face a stressful or pleasurable situation, your body and mind react that stimulus. Emotionally, you may feel happy, sad, proud or dejected. And these feelings have a corresponding change in your breath, heartrate, and body temperature.
By becoming aware of your emotional trigger, you can create a different response rather than defaulting to your automatic response
Tip: Remember an incident in life that caused you to become emotional – either with an outburst or by bottling your emotions. Write down what part of your self-image got hurt. Write down the words you did not share or were ashamed to share. When you feel like you’ve unearthed a hidden aspect of your emotional makeup, you’re identifying the real answers to these questions.
Find Your “Why”
If you want to make a sustainable change, then it would be important for you to tie that change to an outcome you want to achieve.
And when you feel emotionally connected to that outcome, then you will have the motivation and dedication to making a change.
Tip: Write down what you would like to see happen by changing your food habits. How would your body and health be different? How would it make you feel? What would you be able to do differently that you can’t do with your current food habits?
Setup Your Environment
Your physical environment including the neatness of your desk, easy access to exercise equipment, and quality of food in your kitchen play a huge role in your success with your new food habits.
Similarly, having a group of people in your life that support your new diet and hold you accountable for your choices can have big influence in your success.
Tip: Remove junk food, fried foods and other unhealthy foods from your refrigerator, pantry and other areas of your kitchen. It is best if you don’t keep them in your house. Replace these items with fruits, herbal teas, nuts and other healthy snacks. This can help you make healthy choices when you have cravings.