Have you found yourself in a situation where you've had an amazing week of eating nutritious whole foods, exercising regularly and feeling fantastic, only to be hit sideways by a bad day, that absolutely ruins your clean streak?
It happens to us all from time to time. You may have over slept your alarm, had lots of challenging interactions at work, fallen out with your spouse, family or friends, or just wake up feeling down right grumpy!
For many of us this it causes a knock on effect or reactions, reaching for that sweet treat out of frustration and thinking 'stuff it I'm going to eat this because I feel -insert relevant negative emotion here-.
OK so you've eaten a doughnut, what now?
You have a choice to accept it, one action (positive or negative) will not impact your life, IF that one action becomes a regular occurrence, THAT is when it can begin to impact your life and it could lead you to fall back into your old, poor habits and food choices.
'Self sabotage' in it's raw definition is;
'the behaviour of creating a problem that interferes with long-standing goals. The most common self-sabotaging behaviours are; procrastination, self-medication with drugs or alcohol, comfort eating, and forms of self-injury such as cutting.'
If the above scenario sounds familiar, you know what, you're certainly human! But how can you take control, avoid emotional eating and really achieve your goals this time round?
The key to this is to stop REACTING to situations and RESPONDING to them instead.
When we react to a situation we do so without any thought, it is usually stimulated by an emotion; how many times have you said something you didn't mean when you were angry?
But if we can learn to respond to the situation, we can think on it for a moment rationally, not only about how we feel in that moment, but how will we feel afterwards? Does our decision affect anyone else?
You've woken up late, had no time to prepare lunch, or even breakfast so a coffee on the go will have to do!
Of course there's more traffic on the roads today/your train is delayed, making you late to work and your least favourite co-worker has taken your usual desk in the office...
10am rolls around and it's someones birthday.. they've laid a spread of cakes, biscuits, everything that you'd rather weren't right in front of you. But alas! They are and you're already irritated, 'hangry', everything is going wrong today, so you may as well have one...or maybe two... to make you feel better? Right?
Once you've eaten that doughnut, biscuit, cake or takeaway food... Will it reverse the fact that you're having a bad day?
In this situation of REACTING, momentarily you'll feel good, get a sugar high from the foods you've eaten.
But once it's over you're left still frustrated, you're probably still hungry, you were still stuck in traffic, late to work and that bloody annoying co-worker is still sat at 'YOUR' desk!
Now you'll probably find you're adding to guilt to the mix of emotions, that you didn't summon your will power and go for the fruit option in the birthday spread.
So how can we avoid doing this in the future, and how can we stop that one bad food becoming a day of poor food choices, that day becoming a week, or even longer?
Stop for a second, acknowledge your frustration, become conscious in your action and think about WHY you want to reach for that food and HOW you will feel if you do take the easy option and give in to the devil on your shoulder.
Can you do something else that will release a little endorphin rush?
- Go outside for some fresh air and take in all the colours around you, find the beauty in your surroundings.
- Perform 30 seconds of some body weight exercises; push-ups, burpees, squats.
- Can you get in a workout in part of your lunch hour? There is no greater relief than exercise on a challenging day.
- Remember why you are working so hard to improve yourself!
Getting fitter and healthier doesn't mean that you'll always make the right choices (we're human after all, not perfect!) and it also doesn't mean you can't enjoy a meal out with a dessert, or have a slice of cake. But don't do it out of a thoughtless reaction, be aware, respond and know that you are in full control of your decision!
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