Eat one "unhealthy thing" and then think you've ruined it?....
Have you ever committed to changing your diet and lifestyle, only to then struggle to see through on your commitment to yourself a day/week/month or two later? Perhaps you ate something "off plan", then felt that you had "ruined" your healthy eating and just gave up. Or perhaps you had an indulgent meal, felt you had done something "wrong" and then spent the next 3-4 days over-indulging. Or maybe you weighed yourself, noticed you had put on one pound and then gave up on what you were doing?
What often underlies some of these patterns of behaviour are some unhelpful thinking patterns. Often the thoughts we have about our food choices play a significant role in how we then interact with food. Two thinking patterns that can be especially unhelpful when it comes to our food choices are "all-or-nothing thinking" and "worst-case-scenario-thinking". The examples above feature one of these two thinking patterns.
Here are some other examples of these two thinking patterns:
(Where you believe you are either being "very good" or "very bad" but there is no middle ground)
- I had one piece of cake, I have ruined the diet now, so I may as well have four piece of cake (and some pizza).
- I didn't go to the gym today so I have blown it, I may as well stop going (and eat some cake instead).
- I ate something that wasn't within my food-rules so I may as well just break all of the food rules and go crazy.
- There is no point in exercising today because I ate something "off-plan".
(Where something happens and you jump to the absolute worst-case way in which this could play out)
- I have put on two pounds this week, this means I am going to put on 4 stone soon and be overweight for the rest of my life.
- I ate a biscuit - this is going to go straight to my thighs and my jeans will no longer fit.
- I didn't go to the gym, I'm going to be the most unfit person in my family for the rest of my life.
- I am going out for a meal tomorrow, I am going to end up eating something with so many calories in it, end up putting on so much weight and then never be able to get to my goals.
You can probably see how the examples of thinking patterns above can be unhelpful for your relationship with food. By changing how you think about food and your food choices you can then also change how you interact with food. Imagine if you didn't tell yourself that it was the worst thing in the world if you ate one biscuit - rather than then eating 4/5 (or the whole packet of biscuits), you may instead just eat that one biscuit and get on with your life. Our thinking is such a powerful thing. Our thinking influences how we feel, which in turn influences how we behave. When working with clients to shift their relationship with food, I tend to find that the real long-term shifts happen not when they just try to stick to a meal-plan or way of eating but instead when they change how they think and feel about food.
If you would like some help to shift how you to think about food and in turn to change your relationship with food long-term, I have created a series of 8-week online programmes to help you to achieve this, that you can find out more about these here: https://www.thefoodtherapyclinic.com/self-help.
“Change your thoughts, change your life.”
― Jeanette Coron