It’s time for CHANGE…..

September 30, 2008

Have you found yourself thinking about making a change in your life, but can’t quite get yourself motivated to do it?

I see people every day in my practice who either WANT to change but don’t know how or don’t believe they can; or, they think they SHOULD change (or their doctors tell them they should), but simply don’t want to.

When people think about change, they often feel scared, frustrated, angry, confused, excited, stuck, or afraid of failure. It is totally normal to have these feelings and want to resist change! But, without change, life is stagnant and there is no improvement or growth.

When it comes to changing eating behaviors, people struggle for many reasons. One reason is that we’ve developed our eating habits over many years, so those who expect their eating habits to change in a day, a week, or a month, often feel let down or frustrated. Although some changes can occur quickly, such as someone who starts eating breakfast every morning, it is only when the change is repeated over and over for a long period of time, that it will become a habit. Patience and persistence is key!

Another reason changing eating habits can be difficult, is that many people use food to cope with emotional distress. For example, one of my clients always turns to cake, pie, or cookies when she’s stressed. No matter how hard she tries to avoid sweets, she always finds a way to eat them because it’s the only thing that comforts her in times of stress. When emotional eating is an issue, it’s a good idea to find other (non-food related) ways to cope. This is definitely not an easy task!

Another challenge to changing eating habits is that eating is needed for survival. Unlike quitting smoking or drinking alcohol, eating cannot be avoided completely. Eating is a part of our every day life and therefore we are constantly faced with decisions about what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat etc. In order to adapt to an eating behavior change, one must be engaged in the change every day.

I wish it were as easy as taking a pill or flicking a switch. But, truthfully, we ALL can change when:
• We WANT to/It’s important to us (e.g. we want to be healthy so that we can live a long life)

• We know HOW to do it (e.g. we have the proper knowledge, skills, training or professional guidance)

• We believe we CAN do it (e.g. we’ve had experience with change in the past and feel confident that we can do it)

As a nutrition therapist, I help individuals to get to a place where these three things are aligned, so that they can make a change towards better physical and emotional health.

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