Why do we have dessert when we know we are trying to lose weight? Why do we end up restarting our diets every Monday after an overindulgent weekend? People are naturally irrational and sometimes make decisions that aren’t always good for us, but don’t fear Rochez O’Grady is here to help.
Why do we keep repeating the same eating behaviour? Instead of obsessing about the latest food crazes, or fixating on unhealthy diets, let’s have a look at the cause of dietary behaviour. Try shifting your focus from boxing your decisions into the good or bad categories, but dare to ask ‘why?’ Start becoming curious about how you nourish your body and what takes place within your day to day food habits.
The starting point to real change in your eating patterns would be to investigate the cause of them. Rather than trying to solve the symptom, get down to the root of the problem – what is causing the negative behaviour? This might seem obvious, but without being aware of the problem it is impossible to change it. Once you find out what it is, this knowledge can be used to improve eating patterns that can lead to a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
Once you have found out what this behaviour is then it would be interesting to find out how ready you are to make the change. It is also okay if you’re not ready yet – this is all about you, as this is the only place where true change can come from.
Let’s have a look at the six stages of behaviour change and see where you may find yourself.
- Pre-contemplation: This is the time defined as when you are not seriously thinking about change to the problem in the next six months. During this stage perhaps you are not aware of the risks or avoiding thinking about them, which is why you haven’t considered taking action.
- Contemplation: This is when you start thinking seriously about making a change in the next six months and have formed an intention to do so. You are probably aware of benefits and possible obstacles, still weighing up these pros and cons, but are not yet ready to change. Perhaps being stuck in this stage for a while.
- Preparation: When you are in this phase, you actively plan to make a change in the next month. It seems possible. You may have already made at least one attempt to alter behaviour.
- Action: You have already made changes in your behaviour, and are about six months into it. This is a time where you would benefit from encouragement. As once you’re here it is a risky time where you could perhaps fall back into old habits.
- Maintenance: This is when you have been practicing your new behaviour for more than six months.
- Termination: Well done! If you’re here, your old behaviour is no longer tempting and you feel pretty strong about not going back to your old ways.
Just like ourselves, the cycle is dynamic: we can land up being in an action or maintenance phase as old habits rear their heads. Ultimately, the key is awareness. We are so often wrapped up in a busy lifestyle where our plates (not the literal ones) are so full our eating patterns take lower priority and become automated. Pause to think about how well you are looking after yourself. Recognising with what and how often you nourish your body. If you have no idea, that’s okay, because that is the first step in recognising the happenings in your nutritional space.