3 Things I Wish I Knew Then
Some of you know a little bit about my story, and perhaps this resonates with you. I spent about 15 years in the dieting cycle, feeling uncomfortable and unhappy, thinking about food, binge-eating and dieting – all the things! I was always trying to find or follow the latest diet that would work, and when I got bored of one, I’d look for something else, but ultimately, none of that worked. And there are some really easy things I could have done to make a difference that I wish I’d known about back then! In the video and blog below I share three of them…
1. Little things add up
I often think about that time around Christmas, when Quality Street, Celebrations, Heroes or whatever is your chocolate of choice (it’s Lindt balls for me) appear. You might end up eating one or two, or three, or four, a day for a few weeks. Unfortunately those little things add up. And come January when you might feel a bit sluggish, it’s easy to look back and see how all those small things – those individual chocolates, or those handfuls of crisps – added up. But this can also be true for positive things. It’s not just about all the things that you did but you shouldn’t have done, or all the things you didn’t do that you should have. All the positive things you do will make a diffence too, things like:
- drinking a glass of water,
- adding extra steps in,
- adding an extra handful of veg with your dinner,
- having some beans in your soup,
- adding some lentils to spaghetti bolognese.
Encourage yourself and be encouraged, because all of those small things really add up. And they don’t actually take that much effort. I wish I’d realised this, rather than focusing on all the little things I did wrong! So, what small things can you be doing that really add up to a more positive outcome? o
2. It’s not all about motivation and willpower
Back when I was in that dieting cycle I relied on motivation and willpower quite heavily. Sometimes I was in the zone, but at other times I wasn’t and I couldn’t really put my finger on the difference, other than perhaps I’d be in the zone if I lost 4 pounds but I wouldn’t be if I put on a pound. So, my motivation my will Power wained and I know that’s completely true for everyone. We can’t stay at that sustained level of motivation and willpower forever. But there’s so much more that you can do with very little motivation or willpower and I wish I’d known that and worked on those things when my own motivation and willpower was low.
I didn’t know that you can change how your body works and how your body responds to cravings. There are physical things that your body desires and thinks it needs. There are physiological things that happen that make you crave. If I’d known how to handle those better and how to eat in a way that didn’t exacerbate those things, then I would have been in a much better position and I wouldn’t have had to rely on willpower as much. There are lots of mindless, habitual things that we do that are quite easy to change, for example, mindless eating such as grabbing a handful of crisps that are near you on a table, when you don’t even like the flavour. And I wish I’d known how easy is it is to create some new habits.
Not all new habits are easy to add in, but you can really quickly add some new habits without having the motivation and willpower by doing things like stacking and bundling. Bundling is when you attach something that you’re trying to introduce to something that you already do. It could be:
- while you unload the dishwasher in the morning and put everything away, you listen to a 5-minute podcast
- while you’re driving to work you listen to Bible study
- while you clean your teeth you could pray for someone
- try to stand on one leg when cleaning your teeth to improve your balance and coordination.
What kind of things can you add into things that you are already doing quite easily, without any motivation or willpower, until they just become second nature and become a habit?
You could also try stacking habits – similar to bundling, but with stacking you do something new immerdiately before or after something else that you already do habitually. This could be that:
- you take your child to school in the morning, add in praying for them on the way back.
- you go to the supermarket to do your shopping, on the way, add in praying about your food choices.
These kinds of things don’t need much willpower or motivation and I wished I’d realised that earlier. And, of course, when you start seeing results and changes from these things, that makes you more motivated to carry on.
3. There are lots of other people on the same journey
I really felt, particularly when I was a teenager at school, it was just my lot in life to be the way I was, it was just something for me to struggle with. I tried to lose weight but didn’t seem to be very successful. Everyone else seemed to be a normal size and I wasn’t. It was just something I had to live with. I wish I’d realised I wasn’t just some kind of ‘special snowflake’ (a phrase I heard this week) who was different becuase the changes that could happen for everyone else couldn’t happen for me. We are, of course, all special in God’s eyes, but not in that way! The changes I wanted were possible for me too and I wish I’d believed that back then.
If this resonates with you, what you you do differently? Could you join a group? Could you find ‘your people’, could you surround yourself with people moving on in their journey and becoming healthier and wholer and freer?
If you’d like some support; if you’d like to find out lots of other things that I learnt, why not come and join me in the Healthy, Whole and Free programme? I’ve got plenty of capacity at the moment so you’ll get lots of personal contact with me. You can lose weight without dieting, and do it for life, so that you can feel great, eat what you want to, and stop thinking about food. You can follow the course at your own pace but you get access to 8 live sessions a month with me (recorded for those who can’t make it live) as well as access for 6 months to all of the exercise classes, recipes, podcasts, reflections and a resource pack to support you on this journey. Little by little, step by step, with little transformational tweaks, this becomes the way you are, your journey and completely you. You can find out more and sign up here.