Unlike other substances you know are detrimental to a healthy lifestyle, you need food. You can’t quit cold turkey or just say no and that’s why overcoming food issues is so difficult. If you feel like food has all the power in your life, it’s time to step back and regain your power from food.
- Be more mindful about the food you let into your body. Just because something tastes good doesn’t mean it feels good. Becoming more mindful about the food you eat can be as simple as keeping a food journal and noting how you feel after you indulge in your trigger foods. You’ll likely find that when you eat a healthy meal, you feel more energetic and less stressed. That bag of potato chips, on the other hand, probably doesn’t feel so great. Just by noting how you feel mentally and physically after you eat particular foods might be the motivation you need to eat healthier.
- Choose a different reward. If you tend to eat unhealthy options as a reward for making it through a difficult challenge at work or hitting your fitness goals at FitClub, it’s time to rethink your chosen rewards. A reward should be something you look forward to and that keeps you moving forward. Rewarding yourself with junk food undoes the progress you’re making whether because it packs on a few more pounds or leaves you lethargic at home or at work. Instead, a massage, new workout clothes, or a night out with friends will keep you committed to your goals.
- Wait a minute before you dive in. If your unhealthy food triggers disguise themselves as cravings, waiting even just a minute can give you an opportunity to change your mind. All of us have habits and patterns created over our lifetimes. Each time we break the cycle between craving and eating, we start to undo the unhealthy patterns that have become habits. A few deep breaths, a glass of water, or a quick walk around the block will take the emergency nature out of the craving and allow you to see more clearly that the craving you thought you were having is just an old habit that doesn’t make you healthier.
- Treat yourself like a kid. You wouldn’t starve a child and you also wouldn’t allow that child to eat an entire bag of sugary sweets. Your body is no different and should be treated with the same healthy rules you set for your children. When you feel hungry and head for the pantry, gently redirect yourself to an apple or tell yourself to go play outside! Make sure you eat all the green vegetables on your plate at dinner, which will leave you feeling satisfied, full of nutrients, and a great role model for the little eyes watching.
- Let it go. If you respond to an unhealthy meal choice by beating yourself up, you’re doing more harm than good. Learning to forgive yourself is the most powerful weapon you have against unhealthy cravings and can be the one tool in your toolbox that helps you break the cycle immediately. If you haven’t tried meditation, FitClub has a class for that! Learning to stop, breathe, and let go of your self-judgment might be the best reward you can give yourself.