But time and time again I have people come to me for nutrition help and this is actually exactly what they say to me: I’m not eating the way I want to.
And they aren’t the only ones. If you have read my old posts, you would know that I also struggle with this. For example it took me about 10 years to become vegan AFTER I had claimed I was going to. And more recently struggle daily with (but getting better at) incorporating mostly raw meals into my day.
So why the struggle?? Many people use the excuse that they have no will-power or self-discipline. I don’t believe that. I think we all will do what we need to do when it’s important enough. For example, someone won’t give up meat until they have a heart attack and almost die. Or someone won’t lift a weight, but if their child was stuck under a fallen brick house they wouldn’t stop lifting until their child is free. Or someone refuses to stop driving drunk until they kill their best friend. Or someone would never “run unless being chased” until they are being chased! I can go on and on but you get what I am saying.
If you have an important enough reason to do something, you will do it.
So here is my 3 step process to figure out WHAT you really want and HOW you can make the decision to get it.
1. Write down the #1 reason you WANT to eat that way, read it out loud.
WHY do you want to eat the way you claim you want to eat? Here is an example from my own food struggle I have right now: I want to eat raw because I believe in the health benefits. I want to lose a few pounds, clear up my skin, and recover faster to be a stronger, faster, better athlete. Be as specific as possible and break down your broad reasons into more specific reasons. If you have several reasons like I do, pick 1-3 that are MOST important to you RIGHT NOW. For me today, I would choose to be a better athlete.
2. Write down the #1 reason you DON’T WANT to eat that way, read it out loud.
WHY DON’T you want to eat the way you say you want to eat? This can be a little trickier so write down everything that pops into your head and you can make changes later. Remember answer these questions IN THE MOMENT, your life is constantly changing and just because you make one choice for lunch, doesn’t mean you need to make the same choice for dinner. Here is an example that JUST happened to me this past week on “Raw Wednesday”: I wanted Mac and Cheese for dinner after eating raw all day. The reason I wanted it was because I was tired and a little anxious and it’s cold outside. I came home late and I was hungry and I wanted comfort food. Remember to be specific and sum up your reason in 1-2 words. For me on Wednesday I would say I wanted to be comforted.
3. Ask yourself…IN THIS MOMENT…which is more important to you.
In my example I would ask myself…OUT LOUD…which is more important to me at this moment: being a better athlete or being comforted. Take the time to think about your answer. What would happen if you chose one? Or the other? How would you feel in 10 minutes, an hour, tomorrow? There is no right or wrong choice. I just want you to know (and feel like) you have a choice. You are choosing the way you eat. You are choosing every single thing you put into your mouth and deciding if it’s the best choice for you right then and there. Again, there is no right or wrong choice, just know you ALWAYS have a choice.
The reason this process is so effective is two-fold. First, it gives you a choice. Most people think life is “happening to them” and without feeling like we have a choice, most of us feel desperate and make poor choices. Second, it gives us time. Many of us make emotional decisions when it comes to food.
When we put time between our emotional and our eating, we dissipate some of the stronger emotions and tend to make better choices.
I should have titled this 3 SIMPLE steps instead of 3 EASY steps as these are not always easy decisions. I will promise you that the more you use this decision making process (in all areas of your life), the easier it gets. Decision making is a skill that can be learned and perfected. But like all new skills, it takes practice, time, and patience.
PLEASE BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF.
If AFTER you make your choice, and you later regret the choice you made, recap the process. Decide what you would do differently next time when you are in the same situation. Baby steps. Be kind. Love yourself.
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