Mindful Eating Part Two: How to ditch the bad habits.

So I started my mindful journey and I went all guns blazing in to weeks of really strict eating and binging. Convincing myself I needed to take elements of all the diets I have ever been on or heard of to support the mindful eating approach. Afraid that if I didn’t cut the carbs, limit the calories, eat mostly protein and veg I will fail to loose any weight. I would stay overweight, obese unhealthy, ugly.

Then two things happened. I was speaking to someone in work who is super fit and healthy. We were talking about diets and he made the statement he has never tried to diet. And it hit me some people have never had to diet in their lives. And I thought of most the fit healthy people I look up too and I couldn’t recall once any of them talking about dieting.

And then I listened to a podcast about binge eating and so many things rang true for me. Yes I wanted to be healthy, but I also wanted to feel socially accepted, I didn’t want people to look at me and think I was undisciplined, or lazy.

It was also interesting to hear about some of the studies that show weight is just one of the many factors impacting our health, including happiness and that often the advice to go on a diet can lead to the opposite result – more often than not you gain weight.

So that’s it I have decided no more scales of doom or restricted eating plans. I am embracing who I am. So how have I gone about ditching those bad habits.

Identify the bad habit.

So times you simply need to stop to see what is in front of you.

Probably one of the hardest things for us to do is find and acknowledge the bad habit. Our habits are so ingrained at times they feel like a recognition of who we are, rather than the reality of an action we choose to regularly make.

To identify a habit we need to step back and consider how we spend our time. Perhaps you wake up every day and the first thing you do is to look at social media. Maybe every Friday you open a bottle of wine.

If you need to you could even write down or track how you are spending your time.

Another option might be to ask someone you trust if they can see any habits you have. Don’t ask them to judge if they are good or bad habits. That is for you to decide. Just simply ask if they recognise any habits. It might expose things you have not considered as a habit before.

So what were my habits around eating.

I definitely identified a habit of restricting my diet significantly and then going to the other extreme of eating lots of “bad stuff”.

I also have a habit of sticking to the same meals.

I also have a habit of drinking lemon water in the morning.

I have a habit of trying to limit the period over which I am eating.

I also have a habit of looking for food when I feel like I need boost.

And a habit of looking for food when I am bored.

And a habit of looking for food when I need to concentrate.

Then a habit of drinking cans of pop.

Decide if the habit is helpful.

What is good for one of us might not be good for enough. It depends on so many factors, our journey, where we are now, what we want and need.

Look at each habit detached from emotion. Logically is it giving you something you need. Is it helpful for you? Is it letting you grow and improve?

Then consider the emotionally side too. How does the habit make you feel? Even “bad” habits at some points in our lives are helpful. Sometimes the bad habit is protecting us from something we can not handle.

Good

Lemon water – well it can’t do any harm.

Sometimes Good

Eating for Concentrate – let’s face it focusing takes energy

Eating for a boost – again sometimes you need the hit of energy

Limiting the period over which I eat – if I eat too late I often sleep worse

Eating the same things – sometimes it speeds up decision making , sometimes it limits my variety

Bad

Fizzy drinks – not really good in any way

Eating when I bored – surely I can find something better to do

Scrap all that judgement.

Lots of our bad habits are built on an underlying foundation of needing something. It could be comfort or distraction or that short lived sense of filling a void.

I get it now, We don’t have bad habits or good ones , they are just habits. We need to stop fighting against them and accept them. Be kind to ourselves and provide ourselves the opportunity to grow or move on.

The future is bright the future is diet-less.

I started last week thinking I was falling into bad habits when I went “off plan” and had a piece of birthday cake with my brother. Now I realise the bad habit was trying to be on plan in the first place. There is so much evidence that demonstrates our diet culture is just increasing the obesity pandemic. I am now committed to do the really hard work of accepting and loving myself. Big, small, healthy or not. I can already tell it will be a longer journey but bring it on. This was my breakfast today and I loved it. 🙂

And if you want to hear more about how and why I started a new journey with eating my first ever podcast on the subject is here…

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