Sticking to your Healthy Eating goals and avoiding temptation
Earlier today, a dear friend called me and asked me about motivation, and about how I ‘stick to it’.
My friend wanted to know how I manage to stay on the right track, I keep making the right choices and I don’t give in to temptation. My friend asked me if I would write about this, for all of you to read.
Well, yes I will. For today, I’ll just touch on this topic briefly, then another time I will write much more. This topic of controlling your own urges and the mental struggle of
The truth is, we all KNOW what to do, but we don’t DO what we know.
- We ALL know that it is healthier to eat a plateful of steamed green vegetables than it is to eat pizza or Chinese take away
- We ALL KNOW it is healthier to have a glass of water, than a cola or a beer
- We ALL know that it is healthier to eat salad, than burger and chips
- We all KNOW that it is healthier to go for a walk rather than sitting on the sofa all evening staring at the TV
But we still sometimes make the wrong choices. WHY?
We don’t do what we know. But then we look in the mirror and we don’t like the fat bits we see. We are afraid of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, we don’t want those when we are older, not at any time in our lives, yet we still make poor choices. We still find ourselves with a hand in the biscuit tin or cookie jar, or eating a bag of crisps (potato chips to our US friends) and drinking cola when we know these are not smart choices to make.
Clearly, KNOWING what to DO, as my friend said on the phone this evening, JUST having THE INFORMATION is not enough - we need to address the underlying psychology, the thought processes behind our behaviour in order to truly improve our habits.
I will cover this whole topic in great depth at a later date, and certainly in one of my upcoming books we will dig much deeper in to this subject, but right now I’ll just skim it lightly (and note, the psychology of overeating, and the mind-set of food addictions, should never really be taken lightly!)
I think there are a few key reasons - and we will ignore, for today, the obvious major issues like addictive eating and eating as therapy, eating disorders, habitual self-loathing and so on.
1) There is a lack of connection between cause and effect. I have written about this one before. See Drinking bleach…and other bright ideas… We just don’t connect that biscuit with our morning cup of tea, and the diagnosis of diabetes 30 years later. Small daily habits add up to major life changing effects. Make those BAD habits, and you’ll be in trouble, but make those GOOD habits, and you’ll enjoy the results.
2) Motivation: I think for a lot of people, they just don’t have their motivations set up. I don’t care what motivates you. When I was about 15, I was probably motivated by wanting to marry Kylie Minogue, now I’m all grown up and sensible, and Kylie hasn’t returned my calls in 30 years, so I’m motivated by being lean and strong for rock climbing, my favourite sport, but frankly whatever works for you, USE IT. I have written about this one too: Motivation: it doesn’t matter WHERE you get it, just that you DO
3) Discipline: I said to my friend earlier, that one thing I do, when I feel tempted to eat something that I know is not good for me, I reach for the part of my body I am most unhappy about and give it a good squeeze! As I am thinking “Umm the kids have some chocolate biscuits in the cupboard, perhaps I could just have one…” so my hand goes inside my t-shirt and seeks out my belly or my ‘love handles’ where they sit on the waistband of my trousers, and I grab that roll of fat and give it a good squeeze! I roll it around there in my hands saying to myself ‘Oh yeah, that biscuit will help, like I’m really going to look sexy if this roll of fat gets even bigger! NOT!’ and that usually puts me in a strong enough frame of mind to ignore that little craving and move on!
4) I have a saying I repeat ALL the time, and I have it printed out and stuck to my office wall so that I see it every day:
“Every single thing that passes my lips is either taking me towards my goals, or away from them, there is no neutral.”
My goals are to live long, to have endless energy, to look good, to feel great, to never get sick, to be lean and strong, fast and fit, to resist the signs of aging and to avoid long term degenerative illness. With those goals in my mind, and that phrase in front of me, it helps me to remember to only eat things that nourish me and take me forward, not to look to snack foods as a source of pleasure. I will always derive far greater pleasure in the long term by meeting those goals, that I will ever get in the short term by eating a bit of junk food or confectionery.
5) Finally, my friend asked me to cover my own journey, how I have developed my discipline and determination to put my health first above temptations and mistakes. As you know, MND Core Principle 12is the 90/10 rule, and I personally live at an average of about 97/3 or 98/2 most of the time, and I do not find it difficult to ‘be good’, it fits with what I want from my life, and I enjoy feeling good, and there is no penance or ’emotional suffering’ on my part, I don’t feel as though I am missing out on anything.
If you look at the My Story on this site, and scroll down to near the end, to a section about 80% of the way down the page which is sub-titled ‘Major breakthroughs on the way to developing MotherNaturesDiet’, you will see that in my own journey, the biggest steps I took in terms of RESULTS came NOT from running marathons or going on courses to learn great skills or new ways to cook. The biggest steps in improving my own health came from CUTTING OUT THE CRAPPY ADDICTIONS of modern living - cigarettes, processed grains, refined sugar, chemicals, alcohol - and from addressing my own bullshit limiting beliefs, the stupid stories I had told myself for years, stuff I hear people saying all the time ‘I come from a big family’, and ‘I’m just not meant to be one of those skinny people’ and ‘well my mum was always big, it’s in my genes’ and so on.
What stories do you tell yourself? Are they stopping you from making progress? Are you USING these stories as excuses to defend poor choices? Are these stories supporting you or not?
More on all this another time, let me know what you think!
Stay healthy, stay happy, Karl. MotherNaturesDiet