Is your eating moving you towards your goals, or keeping you back from reaching them? This article is going to dive into self-reflection and formulating an honest opinion of yourself and your environment. So if you aren’t interested in changing your dietary habits or learning , this isn’t for you.
The question posed above is one that only you know the answer to. But you need to really think about it. There are unconscious things at play here that may or may not be making your dietary choices easy or difficult. For instance, when you eat, are you aware of what you are consuming? Or are you mindlessly putting food into your mouth with no real clue as to how much you should consume and how much you actually consume?
For people looking to make changes to their physiques and performance, food is looked at mainly as a means to an end. I’m not saying anything is black or white here, people move along a spectrum of eating to get results and being healthy all the way to full blown hedonistic eating. However if we manage to stay mainly on one end, with the odd planned or un-planned journey to the other end, you can get optimal results.
Let’s take a look at some of the variables we control that can help deter us from constantly eating to fulfil an emotional need and to move towards being healthier:
- Have a goal. If you don’t have one there is no real reason to change. When I talk about goals, make it something intrinsic. Lose 20lbs should be “lose 20lbs to have more energy and improve my heart health” or “lose 20lbs to look amazing on a beach on my vacation in 3 months”
- Examine the holes in your daily routine that are resulting in negative consequences
- Have a growth mindset and not a fixed mindset
- What are the lifestyles of the people you surround yourself with?
- What foods are close and easy for you to access that you know you shouldn’t be consuming
Some of these are self explanatory, but some of them need some more explanation.
Let’s start with looking at holes in your daily routine that aren’t making your life any easier when it comes to nutrition. This includes things like:
- Not having any preparation for your eating
- Being super unorganized
- Eating out and not having a strategy or framework for what you should and shouldn’t be consuming
- How you deal with stress, or not taking steps to reduce stress
- Constantly being in a rush
These are all tough things to change, but if you look at the fine details of what you do on a daily basis, you can find ways to patch up these holes and start improving your daily routine to result in success.
I’ve spoken a fair amount about having a growth mindset and it’s incredibly important in all aspects of life. When it comes to nutrition, it’s definitely a key. It’s easy to blame others, make excuses, and feel trapped. You can use these reasons to stay in a fixed mindset where you aren’t actively learning from your mistakes…
Or you can take steps towards a growth mindset where you can begin to actually improve your mindset and help propel you to achieving your goals. You need to take responsibility, you need to override your excuses and get shit done, and you need to learn from your failures.
Everyone fails, but not everyone learns from it.
Next you can examine who you surround yourself with. If you are around people who drink all the time and want to party how do you think your health will be if you were instead around people who loved exercising, being outdoors, and eating lot’s of whole foods? It’s an easy choice. People influence you. You need to be aware of these influences and if they are positive or negative. Try and bring more positive influences into your life and let the negative ones go.
This can be hard, because sometimes the negative people in our life are people we are very close to. For these people, who you do not want to let go, you can take a different strategy. You can be vulnerable, let them know what you are trying to accomplish. If they are truly someone who supports you, they should understand what you are trying to do and be supportive in whatever way they can. If they don’t support you, then do you really want them around?
Lastly, we cover actual food. The simple fact is “if you have food around, you will eat it.” This means if you have garbage, high calorie, low nutrient dense foods in your cupboard or fridge, you will eat it. What’s a simple way to combat this?
- Go grab all the foods that don’t support your goals.
- Throw them in the trash.
- Replace with foods that should be consumed regularly that do support your goals.
This doesn’t mean you never will consume junk again, but it lowers the probability of it happening on a regular basis. No black and white here. This step alone will make massive changes to your lifestyle because you are limiting your ability to make mistakes. Everyone get’s enticed by that box of cookies in your cupboard, but if it isn’t there, that isn’t an option.
Now that you have some strategies to increase self awareness I want you to go out and identify where you need to make changes. Go for a walk (or meditate if that’s your thing) and think about the points above. What is working, what isn’t working. Develop strategies to improve what is working. Develop strategies to curb what isn’t working and find ways to have a positive mindset and environment.
If you have any specific questions as to how you can improve, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise I’ll get back to you!