These 8 steps come from my own desire to get off the diet roller coaster and get back to enjoying food --- while honoring my desire for good health and longevity. I am eager to share my discoveries with you in the hopes that you too, will enjoy food and regard it as a source of restorative, healing, life-giving energy.
1. Envision your goal – If you’re vague about where you’re heading and why you want it, you won’t get there! So, write out (or, if you hate to journal, speak it into a tape recorder, or speak it to a friend who’ll write it down for you), a beautiful, blissful, perfect, 100% satisfaction, no limits, no negative self-talk picture of what you want to achieve in your eating habits. Be as specific as possible, and use as many sensory details as you can come up with. IMPORTANT NOTE: Make this fun!! Now, you have a clear idea of what you want, and the how piece gets easier and clearer as a result. If your resolve starts to wane throughout your journey, take this out and read it again.
2. Food Association Journal - Set aside about a half an hour for this. Take inventory of all the associations you have with food. Sit down and write it all out. The good, the bad, and the ugly! Let your unconscious mind and your imagination go nuts with this one. Draw pictures even, if you want to! But get down on paper, every attitude, belief, opinion, love, and hate that shows up when you think about or have anything to do with food.
3. Values Assessment: Take a look at your Food Association Journal and from it, pull out as many things that you value, deem really important, must have, and love about food. Write them down. (Bear in mind that when coaches refer to values, we don’t mean what you think you should think is important, or what someone else thinks is valuable. Values in this context refer to those things that aren’t either “right” or “wrong.” Like emotions, they just “are.”)
4. Start – and stick with – a food journal - Create a plan for what you’re going to eat, and then write down everything you do eat, even when it deviates from the straight and narrow path. WRITE IT ALL DOWN! Awareness of a habit is MOST of the solution. And you might be surprised when you tally up whatever units you’re counting (calories, fat grams, etc.) It may be less than you think, and then you’ll be less likely to throw the towel in on your whole goal.
5. Craving Antidotes – Make a list of at least 10 antidotes you can call forth when you’re hit with a food craving. Things like:
• a detailed, written description of how great you’ll feel when you reach your goal.
• a picture (from a magazine, drawing, photo, etc.) that captures the feeling and look of what you want to achieve. (Mine is a woman, about my age and coloring, in a cool turquoise swimsuit, enjoying the beach!)
• a mantra, or affirmation that calls forth your inner strength and resources.
• activities you can choose instead of eating.
6. Get in your body. That’s right. We often disassociate from our bodies by turning our attention to analyzing, judging, planning, or otherwise medicating (with food, drugs, alcohol, and other repetitive thoughts and behaviors) in an attempt to avoid being present in the everyday struggles of life. The body is an undeniable reminder of our humanity! It’s our bodies that show the ravages of time and stress in a visible and concrete way. So crafty, adaptable animals that we are, we’ve learned to escape by “going into our heads,” so to speak. Well, now it’s time to call yourself back home to your body!
So, set aside some quiet time to be alone and undistracted. Check in with your body. Notice what it feels like to inhabit this body. Ask yourself the following questions:
• Where does my energy feel sluggish, or stuck? Be specific. Your body knows, if you give it a chance to “speak.”
• What am I hungry for (other than food --- like love, appreciation, justice, etc.)
• What food does my body want/need right now?
• How do I want to feel, in my body? Be as specific as possible. For example, “I want to feel light in my knees, and free and unencumbered in my lower abdomen.”
7. Expect obstacles and relapses now and then. I promise you, they will happen. But get the big picture - one little slip up (or even two or three...) does not mean your goal is doomed. Weight fluctuates. Period. Whether you’re trying to lose or gain, your mostly fluid body will ebb and flow. You are not a victim of your humanity! You can choose whether to stay stuck, or get back on track.
8. Take the scenic route – I don’t know about you, but for me, I wanted to change my eating habits for life, and I certainly didn’t want to spend my life feeling deprived!! So I decided to consciously choose what I call, “Pauses on the scenic route.” This means, I decided to give myself permission to deviate from my eating plan now and then. My only rules were:
Enjoy every delectable morsel!
Make it REALLY good quality and something I really love and want!
Get right back on the program
This also means I didn’t lose the classic 1.5 – 2 pounds a week. So what! It means that I am in control, at choice, and am not a slave to my (former!) addiction to food.
And you can be in control and at choice, too!
I really hope you found this helpful! If you’d like me to coach you throughout this journey, I’d be excited and delighted to partner with you. I’ve been there!
Call me at:
or email email@example.com
Connie de Veer, Owner of CdV Coaching, is a Certified Life and Performance Coach, specializing in helping professionals break free from performance anxiety, stress, and self-sabotaging habits. Contact her today at 309-664-0591 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free sample coaching session. Also, get lots of free resources, stress reduction e-course, ezine, and e-book, "Pull the Plug on Panic," at www.cdvcoaching.com.