6 Steps to Ending Bad Eating Habits
Whether quitting your addiction to snacking, too much sugar, or quitting smoking
it starts with knowing what you want, checking obstacles then handling them in
advance. Follow these eight steps and you’ll more easily reach your goals.
A client wrote, “Help me! I thought I was finally getting a handle on my weight issue
but the sugar is killing me. I had an awful day. I won’t even tell you what I ate today
because it is just so unbelievable. All I will say is that 90% of my food today consisted
of sugar! I really, really need some help getting past these cravings. I am no doubt a
sugar addict. If I could get past this there is no doubt that I will reach my goal.”
If you see a little of yourself in this message, you’re not alone. Many describe
themselves as sugar addicts. They believe if it were only for that one thing, then they
could reach their weight loss goals. If you believe only one thing stands in your way
of losing weight, consider this: What if that one thing (an addiction to sugar for
instance) were gone? Do you really believe, “If I could get past this, there is no doubt
that I will reach my goal,” or is it an easy excuse to stay stuck?
If I told you I could show you a way to stop craving sugar, would you want me
to show you how?
Think about that for a moment. Close your eyes and really think it through. You’ve
said if only you didn’t crave sugar, then you could lose weight, but is that really true
for you? Ask yourself these questions:
Would you eat differently, and if so how?
Would you act differently, and if so how?
What else would change, and what would stay the same?
What would you lose?
What would you gain?
Until you know what you want, know you can achieve it, and know what else will
change (i.e. how your life may be different), you can’t discover any obstacles that
first must be considered. For instance, you may want to stop eating anything after
7 PM yet your husband doesn’t come home from work until 8 and he wants you to
join him for dinner. That’s an obstacle.
If you’ve got a habit of watching your favorite TV show with a bowl of ice cream,
then breaking that habit is another obstacle.
If you don’t work out ways to overcome your obstacles perhaps through discussion
and compromise with your husband, or habit breaking exercises for your ice cream
habit, there’s bound to be a problem. Just saying you’re not going to do something
any more rarely works. Instead determine what might stand in the way of achieving
your goals, find a way around them, and you’re much more likely to actually achieve
those goals once and for all.
The statement, “if this one thing were handled, then everything else would fall into
place” is an “If Then” statement and gets people into trouble. They want a fairy
godmother to make it all better. A strong belief that one single thing such as,
“eating sugar is my problem,” sets you up to fail, especially if you really like eating
Getting a handle on your cravings is not an all-or-nothing proposition. You must
leave room for occasional deviations. It’s not the occasional side trip that causes
weight trouble, it’s the road we usually travel.
In NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) a good starting point is the exercise called
Establishing a Well Formed Outcome. “Well formed” means it meets all criteria of a
well thought-out end result.
NLP: How to Create a Well Formed Outcome & Get What You Want
Here are the steps to creating a well formed outcome:
1) State what you want (not what you do not want). “I want to weigh 135 pounds.”
2) Determine whether you can achieve it (do you believe it is possible?).
3) What resources do you have and what do you need (time, money, gear, clothes,
equipment, coaching, whatever).
4) Check whether anyone else is involved and any potential obstacles that may come
up regarding others. Think of everyone involved in your day-to-day life.
5) Picture yourself “as if” you’ve obtained what you say you want and see if that
picture fits. Do you like what you see?
6) Put together a plan of action for the achievement of your outcome.
While it may seem like a lot of effort simply to decide what you really want, going
through these steps at the beginning helps you find potential obstacles which
previously stopped you from moving forward. For example, if you decide you want
to join a gym and start exercising every day but you’ve forgotten you don’t even
own a car and just lost your job, that exercise plan might not work out right now.
If you did join a gym, you’d end up not going and then you’d think you’d failed, yet
it was the plan that failed, not you. You didn’t think it through.
A better plan in this instance may be doing exercises at home, or within walking
distance (or simply walking for exercise). Later, when you do have transportation, you
can rethink the plan and perhaps join a gym then. There are always options.
It’s better to look at what you want from every angle, then put together a plan you
know can and will work. Then when you know what you want, you’ll also know you
can make it happen and begin by taking that first step toward making it a reality.
“Achieving a Well Formed Outcome” is one of the sessions in the Ending Emotional
Eating 8-Week Workshop. You can also find more information on this popular and
well known NLP process by searching for “NLP Well Formed Outcome” in your
favorite search engine.
“Fad” Weight Loss Diet:
Obesity is killing us but using fad or extreme weight loss schemes may be making
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Obesity is a physical state that refers to excessive body fat. Chances are you have
experienced the frustrations of dieting at least once in your life, if you have
problems with your weight. Close to a hundred million Americans go on a weight
loss diet in any given year and up to ninety-five percent of them regain the weight
they lose within five years. Worse, a third will gain back more weight than they
lost, in danger of “yo-yoing” from one popular diet to another. The conventional
approach to weight problems, focusing on fad weight loss diets or weight loss drugs,
may leave you with just as much weight and the additional burden of ill health.
Today, an estimated sixty-five percent of all American adults are obese or overweight.
Our culture obsesses about staying thin even as we grow fatter, but this isn’t about
appearances. Obesity is known to be a precursor to many debilitating health
conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, and
gallbladder disease. Obesity contributes to as many as 375,000 deaths every year.
In addition, the public health costs for obesity are staggering. According to
researchers at Harvard University, obesity is a factor in 19% of all cases of heart
disease with annual health costs estimated at 30 billion dollars; it’s also a factor in
57% of diabetes cases, with health costs of $9 billion per year.
Set Realistic Goals:
No doubt you have fallen for one or more of the weight loss diet schemes over the
years, promising quick and painless weight loss. Many of these quick weight loss
diet programs undermine your health, cause physical discomfort, flatulence, and
ultimately lead to disappointment when you start regaining weight, shortly after
losing it. Fad or quick weight loss diet programs generally overstress one type of food.
They contravene the fundamental principle of good nutrition – to remain healthy one
must consume a balanced diet, which includes a variety of foods. Safe, healthy, and
permanent weight reduction is what’s truly lost among the thousands of popular diet
Some of the weight loss diet schemes reign supreme briefly, only to fade out. While
some wane from popularity due to being unproductive or unsafe, some simply lose the
public’s curiosity. Examples of such fad diets include the South Beach Diet, Atkins diet,
the Grapefruit diet, Cabbage Soup diet, the Rotation diet, Beverly Hills diet, Breatharian,
Ornish Plan – the list goes on and on. These fad diets advocate a specific technique
(such as eliminating a certain food, or eating only certain combinations of foods) in
conjunction with the basic idea that the body makes up the difference in energy by
breaking down and utilizing some part of itself, essentially converting matter into energy.
This self-cannibalism, or catabolism as it is referred, typically starts with breakdown of