A big part of being able to change a habit is by first becoming ultra-aware and honest with yourself about your current habits. Slowing down is an essential part of this process. If you are “eating unconsciously” – like when you drive your car to work but don’t really recall anything about how you got there, you’ll need to turn on the conscious brain, stop and take note. Similarly with eating, you can sometimes end up with an empty bag of cookies or chips and wonder how it happened!
So many of the things we do during our days are driven by unconscious behaviour or habit. We need this in place so that our brains don’t become overwhelmed by too much decision-making. Imagine if you had to decide which part of your body you were going to wash first when having a shower every day? You’d never get to work on time! We just follow our regular routines which have been built up over time through repetition, without thinking. Some of these unconscious habits are useful. Unfortunately, some of our habits around eating are not that useful.
Slowing down enough to examine why you are doing the things you do takes real focus and a desire to change. But if you want something enough, you can make it happen. A great first step to becoming more mindful and conscious is to track your food intake. Keep a journal for 3-7 days and write down everything you eat and drink. You might also want to take note of the time, where you were, who you were with and how you were feeling. Also important is getting in touch with your feelings of hunger. Once you do, you’ll be able to discern if you are eating because you are hungry or if there’s another reason. Many of us turn to food when we’re seeking comfort, when we’re bored or anxious. Food can act as a type of self-medication. It makes us feel better as when we eat certain foods our gut and brain produce serotonin, the feel-good hormone.
Once you’ve taken a few days to do your eating journal, sit back and have a good look at what and how you ate on the days you felt good and the days when you felt less than idea, bloated, lethargic or perhaps even a bit sad. Look for correlations. What did you do on the good days when you had lot of energy and were in a good mood and what did you do on the other days?
Now, you’re ready to take action and decide which of your eating habits are not serving you well. It might be snacking before bed, or having too many sweet things at work or having portion sizes that are slightly too large at dinner. Whatever the issue is for you it can be changed. Small steps over time can make a big difference in how you feel. Slowing down, becoming mindful and learning to listen to your hunger signals in this way will make you successful at reaching your ultimate health and wellness goals and arm you with the information you need to change your habits.
If you think you’d like some help along the way, have a look at my programmes. I’m now offering a “Quick Fix” 1/2 hour initial appointment for a limited time designed for busy people who need a few tips fast.