Can you relate to this scenario? >> January 1st rolls around, and you decide you want to take the start of the new year to reprioritize some parts of your life to focus on getting healthier or feeling good in your body or loving how your body looks.
Which is great!
You do some brainstorming and come up with a plan of action to get from where you are to where you want to be.
The first few days or couple weeks into your plan, it’s easy peasy. You feel accomplished, you feel strong, maybe even proud because you’ve stuck with it so far. Maybe you lose a bit of weight which makes you even more happy and optimistic.
But then after a couple weeks, you notice that initial excitement has worn off. You feel like you’re starting to struggle, feel the need to use your willpower more, or notice cravings coming on strong, or you start really dreading having to spend so much time prepping.
You think back to times in the past where you’ve done similar things, and remember being able to last longer before things felt so hard. You don’t know why it’s different now?
There finally comes a time when you cave, and do something you were trying not to do like eat a specific food or amount of food.
You feel bad, guilty, like a failure, disappointed. Your self-esteem takes a hit, you feel worse about yourself in general.
You blame yourself, and your inner mean girl speaks up “Why can’t I do this? What’s wrong with me? I know better!” You end up feeling out of control around food despite trying so hard to control it. Eventually, if you lost weight, you gain it back – oftentimes even more weight than when you started.
You think about it and realize you tend to repeat this cycle in some way, shape or form throughout the year, and feel trapped. It has become an automatic pattern, a habit, an ingrained way of being, an odd comfort zone, and actually a neuropathway in your brain to become your new norm.
And all this started with a simple, innocent desire to get healthier or feel good in our body or love how our body looks.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with those goals, but the danger and destructive behaviors that fuel stuckness and frustration stem from how we approach these goals.
January is often referred to as National Diet Month for a reason.
It comes with this pressure of a wonderful fresh opportunity finally get the new, happier, healthier life you’ve been striving for because now you have a clean, blank slate. Now the holiday parties and excuses are over and you can put the pedal to the metal and push yourself to see those results you’ve been wanting with plenty of time before bikini season.
Going into January with that big pressure PLUS a poor relationship with food (for example that cycle I talked about earlier), an all or nothing (perfectionist) mindset, and criticizing your body sets you up for year-long struggles and unhappiness.
Sure we might feel motivated, optimistic, and excited at first, and it makes sense. Thinking about the fantasy of a new, happier life releases dopamine in our brain and gives us a rush. But research shows it doesn’t last.
Remove the power we tend to give to the month of January. It’s just another month like April or September. By normalizing it and seeing it for what it is, that will help release the pressure and sabotaging behaviors that come with it. It helps us see the days in January the same as days in March, because that’s all they are.
A similar thing happens when we give certain foods power. We do this by telling ourselves we can’t or shouldn’t eat something.
But when the body senses restriction or deprivation, it kicks on its survival mechanisms. Suddenly all we can think about is that forbidden food. It’s what we crave, dream about, we have to use our willpower around it. When we finally let our guard down, we eat more than we wish we would.
I understand all this can sound kind of crazy!
If you told me this when I was stuck on that on again, off again hamster wheel of good and bad eating habits, I would have dismissed it because it goes against everything I had believed about food for my whole life. But it’s backed by science, and it completely explains why so many people stay so stuck and unhappy with their eating habits and body for so long.
Changing your relationship with food takes some effort, but it’ll open up a world of ease, happiness, freedom, and enjoyment!
Somewhere between “no rules” and “no fun” lives your happiest, healthiest self.
If you’d like support to streamline and get to this place even faster, learn more about my approach to see if it might work for you – click here or let’s hop on the phone for a free strategy session. Shoot me a message or an email firstname.lastname@example.org to book it.