Positive Lasting Change Requires Giving to Ourselves, Not Deprivation
From my experience, generally when we want to make a change in our lives, we automatically default to giving something up or depriving ourselves by using willpower or discipline. However, all these actions are negative and will never last long term because emotionally and physically it is not what we need.
Personally I feel that for lasting change to happen, firstly we need to be mindful of the current action or habit so that we can work out how to change it. Then we need to see what positive action we can take to help us achieve that change. If it is positive, you like it, you feel good about it, you are more likely to continue until the new action has become a positive habit.
So as an example, if you feel you are overweight, instead of going on a diet or cutting down your portions or madly exercising, I suggest the following:
· Start being mindful of the habits you have around eating, i.e.: Do you let yourself get too hungry so that when you do eat, you grab the first thing available, you eat very quickly and therefore overeat.
· If that is the case, start being more aware of your body’s hunger signals. Check in every 2 to 3 hours to see if you are hungry. This can be as simple as asking yourself “Am I hungry”. If you are, eat something and then check in again in another 2 – 3 hours. If not, keep asking yourself every 20 minutes, so you know when you are definitely hungry.
· As well as being mindful, we also need to be prepared. Have a lunchbox or cooler bag available with lots of different options, so when you do get hungry you have something ready that you like, will enjoy and get satisfaction from.
If you follow this scenario, you will be eating small amounts regularly, rather than lurching from starving to full. You will note, you have not cut anything out, deprived yourself or relied on willpower. You have simply tuned into your body and given it what it needs when it needs it. This ensures you feel satisfied all the time and don’t feeling deprived or negative about your body.
You can then think about the foods you really enjoy. Do not give up anything unhealthy. Simply be mindful while eating any type of food, so you can hear your body tell you when it’s had enough. For example I know I can happily eat a medium size bowl of pasta, or salad or porridge. But there is no way I could eat a bowl of chocolate. My body would start to tell me it has had too much sugar and fat. It would start to taste sickly, or I would get a headache and generally feel unwell.
So in summary, be mindful of when you are hungry, give yourself exactly what you want and simply be mindful again so you can stop when your body has had enough.
I am a wife and mother who has recovered from 20 years of food and weight related issues. I used to binge on food uncontrollably and then exercise excessively to get rid of it. After being diagnosed with depression and bulimia in 1996 I was introduced to Natural Eating and personal development. These key tools allowed me to learn to love and trust myself enough to make a full recovery. For a FREE copy of my e-book,”Empower yourself by eating what you want – how to develop a healthy relationship with food” please click the following link