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New Year, New Way of Thinking About Food

“I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.”— Dolly Parton

You've done them all, Slimming World, keto, Weight Watchers, intermittent fasting, that 800 calorie plan that you saw on the TV... in fact you know so much about diets, food and nutrition that you could yourself be a nutritionist or a dietician.... and yet, none of these diets and meal plans seem to stick. You can keep them up for a week or two or maybe even a few months but then you have a few drinks and it all goes out of the window, or you try a piece of cake and remember how good it tastes and can't be bothered to keep trying with the diet anymore. The dieting cycle is exhausting and as we start this new year you may already be in that "NEW YEAR , NEW ME... NEW DIET" mindset.

What if, however, this year was different. What if, rather than trying to commit to an extremely restrictive (and very difficult to stick to) diet this January, you instead tried to shift your mindset around food. Very often the thoughts we think shape our behaviours. Therefore, by changing the way in which we think, we can often also shift how we behave. Changing our mindset around food often means that we can also change how we eat in a way that is sustainable long-term.

Here are some gentle ways in which you could start to shift your mindset around food to build a healthier relationship with food long-term:

1.Focus on what you would want for a loved one

Many people put themselves on very restrictive diets but if they were asked to advise their son, daughter, niece or nephew on how to eat, they would never, ever think of recommending their loved one eat this way/ eat so little. A good way to gauge whether the way you are eating/ trying to eat is healthy and balanced, is to ask yourself whether you would feed your child or loved one in this way. We want what is best for our loved ones and often we don't treat ourselves with that same love, respect and compassion. If you wouldn't put your niece/nephew/child on some extreme plan you are following - why would you treat yourself in such an unkind way?

2.Motivate yourself in a kind and yet compassionate way

When someone is trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle, they can either motivate themselves to take care of themselves and their body through positive motivation/ kind and encouraging words or through negative motivation/ lots of mean and harsh words. Often motivating yourself to get healthy by telling yourself that "you are too fat", "you look awful in your clothes" etc. tends to negatively affect your mental health and bring about change that is less sustainable. This form of negative motivation can also cause low mood and build an unhelpful relationship with food, where you are punishing and starving yourself for not being "good/attractive/slim enough" rather than nourishing and nurturing your body with nutrient-dense food because you love and value your body.

3. Eat for both nourishment and pleasure

A big mistake that people make when they decide to change their diet and lifestyle is that they opt for just very boring and plain food. This may be okay for a while but eventually, the less healthy and yet delicious options are going to be become more and more appealing. Therefore, it is important to find nutritious food options that are both nourishing and yet delicious that you can build into your regular food routine.

4. You will eat all things again, you don't have to eat it all now just so you can ban it "tomorrow"

All or nothing thinking is one of the most common reasons that diets and new ways of eating fail. If you tell yourself that you can NEVER eat chocolate again but then one day accept a piece of chocolate a colleague or friend offers you, you may then tell yourself "Well I have ruined it now, so I might as well just give up". Also banning things from your diet can lead you to binge eat that food on the day/ days before you are giving it up. You may think "I am going to go out with a bang and eat several bars of chocolate before I never eat chocolate again". If you weren't banning chocolate, you may instead be less extreme with your approach and have more control over food. Whilst you may not want to eat certain foods every day, it is important. to allow yourself the freedom and flexibility to eat these foods sometimes.

If you would like some help to shift your mindset around food and rebuild your relationship with food, email to book in a free consultation.

We also offer an 8 week online treatment programme for over eating and binge eating which can help you to shift your mindset around food. Most people believe that in order to lose weight and get healthy, they just need to eat less and exercise more... however this often just gets them trapped in a vicious cycle of dieting and then over-eating/ binge-eating/ comfort-eating. In this programme you will learn how you can set yourself free from this cycle - without counting calories, having to follow meal-plans, giving up food groups or obsessing over food and your weight all day long.

You can find out more about the programme here:


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