How to succeed when you’ve gotten “off track”
January 28, 2019
Most of us have struggled with getting “off track” or “messing up” when we try to make changes to how we eat.
Does this sound familiar?
You decide to make changes to how you eat. Things go well for a few days or a few weeks. After that life gets in the way, and you revert to your old habits.
Then many of us start with dealing with feelings of guilt, failure, and beating ourselves up. Self-doubt creeps in and it becomes very easy to just give up. If you’ve dealt with this, you are not alone!
Think about it like this…
Have you ever watched a young child learn to walk? They’ll have plenty of bobbles and falls. That’s why the term “toddlers” is often used to describe them. Sometimes those falls are accompanied by tears, but they don’t last long. The urge to try again is pretty strong. Soon they are again trying to master walking.
Besides the curiosity and determination, there are three things that make a toddler get up from a fall and try again.
- The first is they have not yet developed feelings of self-doubt and the capacity to beat themselves up the way many of us have learned to do over the years.
- They are happy with each little piece of progress they make. Standing or taking two steps isn’t seen as an “I only” moment. They practice often and celebrate it with big grins and cheerful noises!
- That toddler usually has someone helping them and encouraging them to try again. Walking is a complex process. Many different skills need to be practiced and mastered before the toddler is able to consistently walk across a room.
Changing your eating habits is as like learning to walk
Would you expect a toddler to go from just starting to take their first steps to immediately running, jumping and skipping? No. Yet that’s what so many of us expect of ourselves!
Changing our eating habits and staying “on track” is a much more complicated process than learning to walk or skip.
Why? We’re dealing with the influences of others, the thousands of marketing messages we receive each day, the demands and stresses of a busy life, emotions, and sometimes we do things that make our will power compete with biological responses in our body. So here’s a piece of advice that sounds simple, but is key to you succeeding on your journey:
Remember that before you ever skipped across a playground,
you first learned to walk across a room.
So follow these steps…
First, banish the words “messed up” and “I was bad” and “I got off track” from your conversations with others and most importantly from conversations with yourself! If you’ve worked with me, remember to use the phrase I taught you.
Second, change your measure of success. Instead of looking at whatever end goal you’ve set for yourself such as losing weight, focus on actions that will help you get there. “Losing weight” is the equivalent of skipping across a playground for a toddler. Instead, start with developing the skills (such as meal prep and conquering the challenges of grocery shopping) that are the equivalent of learning to “walk across the room” before you attempt to run or skip.
- Identify what you’re already doing right and what you may want to change.
- Understand how to avoid the biology versus willpower competition or inappropriately trigger your body’s immune system.
- Discover which foods can help you feel great as well as be enjoyable.
- Learn how to choose and prepare meals and snacks that fit your preferences, schedule, and life.
- Overcome barriers that get in your way.
- Develop habits, routines, and skills that keep you on track even after you stop working with me.
- Learn to work with your body and metabolism as you get older.
Having personally struggled with weight and gut health issues, I understand how easy it is to think that food is the enemy especially with the changes our bodies undergo as we age. It doesn’t have to be that way!
I love using my extensive education and coach approach to help people realize it is possible to feel better and be healthier while still enjoying their life and food.