Spring is about re-awakening. For you that could mean getting to grips with your eating, your weight and your health. Perhaps a few years has gone by when you've been determined the make the change but not managed it. It could be that your health is seriously suffering from excess weight, your nutritional health could be compromised by a poor diet, you could be trapped in a cycle of disordered eating. All these could be getting your down and causing you to think negatively about yourself and those around you.
Could this year be different?
Lasting change is about understanding how you got to where you are in the first place. This means unpicking the drivers, behaviours, role that food plays in your life. It's important to examine chains of behaviours which cause a negative impact on our health and which may seem impossible to break. But they're not. The drivers can be caught-up in all sorts of relationships and stories from our past life but just because they exist, doesn't mean that they can't be reframed and changed. The behaviours and attitudes we have are flexible, they occupy pathways in our brains which can be changed. Instead we learn different behaviours and attitudes to replace the ones which aren't helpful to us. We train the brain to change what messages it gives us. We learn these, we do these consistently and we change the habit. We distance ourselves from negative beliefs about ourselves which may be caught up in our relationship with food. We lose the moralising about food and learn how to eat to nourish ourselves instead.
Sometimes lack of change is due to lack confidence, or uncertainty about what success will feel like. We may end up in a different shaped body which we're uncertain about, or we may have a different way of life which could feel alien to us and we don't want to go through that process. We may have existed around food in a certain way for such a long time that change is just too daunting. Finally, there is a reason why you have been eating this way and it is probably serving a purpose. Change means understanding what's good about your eating behaviour as it currently stands, and what's bad about it.
The steps to change should be small and gentle - something which creates an easy to implement action plan to empower living constructively around food with positive intent and strong motivation. The 'why' of any behaviour change is crucial if it is to last. That's how it works with all our actions if you think about. Sometimes this starts with lots of confidence and self-esteem work, other times if might mean getting stuck into the practicalities of meal planning.
Along the journey of positive change, we create autonomy and we reward ourselves with something other than food; we learn to accept and welcome relapses as a way to mitigate against them in the future and we accept and are thankful for our bodies for what they allow us to do. We forgive and we gain perspective. We think, eat and live better!
Is spring your time to change?