You start out the morning determined that this is the day that you will make healthier choices. Then, comes the curve ball - an unexpected day of back-to-back meetings, a stressful interaction, or an evening overtaken by your kids’ after school activities.
What happens next?
Before you know it, you find yourself making food choices that DEFINITELY were not in your plans, and perhaps beating yourself up a little afterwards.
How can you break out of this cycle?
It starts with 3 simple questions...
QUESTION # 1: What did you eat that you were not happy about? No judgment allowed, just acknowledge what happened.
QUESTION # 2: Why? Again, no judgement, but think about why you turned to food for comfort. What were the events that led up to your choice?
QUESTION # 3 How could you handle it differently next time? After identifying what and why, you now have important information to problem solve. Try to brainstorm 1-2 constructive actions that you can take when next faced with the same triggers.
The power of these 3 questions is that they refocus your energy from frustration and negative self talk into problem solving and taking control of the situation.
Let's see how the 3 questions could work to help you break old patterns.
What? I just ate a lunch of fried chicken and french fries, instead of ordering the healthier option as I planned.
Why? I’ve been stuck at my computer all morning until late afternoon and I was starving.
How can I handle it differently next time? I can keep some healthy quick and easy options at my desk to manage my hunger on these types of days - fruit, small bags of nuts, an oatmeal bar, or a protein drink. If I do that, I think I’ll probably be able to make healthier decisions at lunch.
What? I just devoured a bag of cookies.
Why? I had a rough day...at work, with a family member, etc, and I needed comfort.
How can I handle it differently next time? I can come up with a few destress options that I would turn to first, before cookies - I can keep healthy snack ingredients in my refrigerator like Greek yogurt, fruit, hummus veggies to make them convenient, I can walk outside or I can journal to give my thoughts an outlet. Once I finish any of these actions, then I can decide if I really want those cookies.
What? I picked up fast food for dinner too many nights this week.
Why? I don’t have plans for dinner, and its too late to stop at the grocery store.
How can I handle it differently? I can spend 10 minutes on the weekend to lay out a plan for simple recipe-free dinners. For ideas on how to simplify checkout my blog 4 Steps to Stress Free Dinners.
I hope you will experiment in the next few weeks with these 3 questions and that they give you the power to break old habits and build new behaviors that support your goals.
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If you are interested in learning more, or scheduling a discovery call with Ellen Petrosino, MS, RDN click here.