Love to eat healthier, feel healthier, and be healthier? But just can’t get started? You are in the right place to find the motivation to change eating habits.
In actual fact, I’m offering inspiration and showing you how to cultivate motivation!
The motivation that has endurance comes from within.
It is fuelled by the personal reasons for changing your habits, such as improving your health and learning new skills for something you are passionate about.
Motivation to Change Eating Habits
#1 Little and big reasons
What are your reasons for changing your eating habits?
These are different for everyone.
Beth realised during the Mindful Eating Foundations Course that snacking on sugary foods was causing what she called “energy crashes”.
After eating sugar, she would find that she could hardly move. Having more energy, and sustained energy, became Beth’s motivation for reducing added sugar intake.
Did this mean changing her snacking habit was easy?
The short answer is no!
But we will hear more of Beth’s journey below.
#2 Small steps
Motivation escapes us when we look towards our goal, a high mountain pass at 6,000 meters!
But when focus on each step required to acclimatise we safely make our way to the pass and even enjoy the views along the way.
Mary, a member of our Mindful Eating and Living Program, shared,
“I’m starting to notice changes in my choices, and my ability to say no to food if I am not hungry is improving.
I recognise that it is difficult to change a lifetime of habits but I rejoice in my small achievements.”
Motivation to change eating habits requires us to take small do-able steps, so we see ourselves achieving small goals regularly.
#3 Journey vs endpoint
Coming back to Beth’s story. Through practicing mindful eating she realised that to break her snacking habit, she needed to tune into appetite and non-hunger reasons for eating.
It was through the practice of pausing before she ate, that she could choose other activities to do when she was bored, rather than eat.
The journey is tuning into your personal habits, and changing one at a time.
#4 Confront barriers
As Mary shared above, it is difficult and challenging to change a lifetime of habits. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible.
You also might be thinking, I have tried to change my eating habits before, “I’ve been on multiple diets and programs and I have failed”.
But each time you have tried a diet, you learned something.
Diets tell you what to eat, whereas mindful eating encourages you to tune in to the experience of eating and identify the foods that nourish you.
I also want to state that diets set you up to fail, which I will explain up next.
Keep in mind; change takes time.
Research suggests that it takes an average of 66 days to change a habit. But the time range in this particular research study showed habits can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to change.
If you are looking for a quick fix, then you are going to be disappointed.
#5 Look within
The practice of mindfulness encourages us to know ourselves.
And what we realise is that we are unique—whilst there are general healthy eating guidelines that we can use as a starting point, all of us have different health and lifestyle requirements.
We also have different experiences of eating, varying beliefs about food, and individual health goals.
And this is one of the main reasons why diets fail.
Diets are a one size fits all approach.
I appreciate that you weren’t born with an instruction book on how to nourish yourself,
So a mindfulness approach, such as the Eating for You approach, allows you to create your own book!
Mindfulness encourages us to view eating as a new experience, as an adventure and this provides motivation to change eating habits, as it is new, exciting and we learn at our own pace.
#6 Time for you
Believing that you do not have enough time to change your eating habits can be a barrier, and this belief quickly drains your enthusiasm and your motivation.
How much time do you need?
This simple question helps you to make sure that you are being realistic with your goals and taking little steps as shared in Mary’s story.
If we only focus on the endpoint, then it may feel that we will never get there.
Sometimes we confuse time requirements with effort. If we don’t feel that we are on a diet, then we may not feel that we are progressing.
Francoise, a member of the Mindful Eating and Living program, realised that her frustration with herself was that she was approaching her eating with the dieting mindset.
Because mindful eating is not an “all or nothing” approach she didn’t believe that she was trying hard enough.
Once she realised this, she relaxed the pressure that she had been putting on herself, she noticed the progress she had been making and changing her eating habits became easier too.
Making “you time” might be new for you. As a busy mother, daughter, sister, friend, and all of the other roles you have, a barrier that you may have to overcome is making time for you.
Refer to your reasons for changing your eating habits, and these will help you to make the time.
#7 Program your day
The best time to set the direction for your day, to support your intentions and maintain your motivation, is in the morning.
Spending 5 to 10 minutes in the morning to go over your commitments for the day, highlight possible challenges to eating well, and visualising your day going smoothly, sets your mind to confident mode.
The practice of mindfulness encourages checking in with how you are feeling during the day, so you can consciously direct the choices that you make.
so you can consciously direct the choices that you make.
#8 Journal your progress
A mindful eating journal is quite different from a diet journal.
Whilst you might sometimes record the food you have eaten, the Eating for You approach, is more focussed on changes to your thoughts, and beliefs about food, and the reasons why you choose to eat as well as, how and when you eat.
#9 Join a supportive community
Inspiration comes from hearing about other peoples’ journeys. This is fuel for our own motivation to change eating habits.
Bearing in mind, how you progress towards your eating and health goal, may be very different from someone else.
As mentioned above, one of the myths about diets, if it works for your sister or best friend then it will work for you, but that is not the case.
In the Eating for You community, everyone is on the same journey,
Mindfully finding the way to eat that best suits them.
As an example, the ladies in the community have realised that for some three meals a day works, whereas two meals a day are best for others!
If you would like to know more about finding a way of eating that suits you, book in for an Eating Habit Profile.
The Eating Habit Profile is particularly useful if you want to change the way you eat but don’t know where to start, or need some help with finding the motivation to change eating habits.
You will also learn how you can benefit from the Eating for You community with ongoing support.
PLEASE NOTE: Motivation can sometimes be lacking due to chronic physical tiredness or mental health conditions such as depression. If you think that your lack of motivation might be related to health reasons, then please have a check-up with your healthcare practitioner.