Over the many years I’ve been a trainer (11 years already…geez), clients often ask me what kinds of things I eat, I assume in an effort to get some inspiration or maybe new ideas. Early on, I’d be super enthusiastic and blurt out, “well, I like things like oatmeal with nuts (and no sugar) and almond butter and apples, but my absolute favorite is brown rice and kale”. Crickets. Then came the polite smile and “Oh, ok. I’ll add some of that.” Not.
What I failed to mention was that I’m addicted to Funyuns. That is I AM, as in currently. Funyuns could possibly be the worse synthetically processed junk food ever, PLUS, they make your breath smell like hell. I didn’t come out of the womb eating kale. As mentioned in a previous post, I had quite the propensity for fried sausage and other gut busting delicacies.
I can’t imagine eating those things now, not because I have will power of steel, but because I learned how to shift my palate. Trying to make a change using will power is the major reason why people continuously fall off the wagon. You can’t win that way – ever. Habits are habits for a reason – they feel good, they are comfortable, they are easy and they are predictable. This pattern applies to ALL habits though.
The real issue is that most people can’t see the factors in their environment that are making it damn near impossible to make their desired change. It could be innocent things like where your desk is located or what time you have to put your child on the bus or more obvious things like the people you have lunch with. All of these factors are either helping or hindering your desire to change.
So how do you figure it out? Keeping a trial and error journal is a great way to get started. Start making one or two changes at a time and write down how it’s working for you. Another way is to learn some new skills for dealing with an environment that you may not have control over. What do you say to your friends when they want to eat fast food, but you are trying to change your habits? How do you maintain your cool when your spouse continues to bring home doughnuts and fried chicken?
Changing your body requires making new habits, not will power. For example, one of the best strategies I’ve used for eliminating a particular food from my diet is to research it. The more you know about how a food is raised, manufactured and processed, the less desire you have to eat it. Try looking up pig farming. I dare you. It will change the way you look at bacon.