It may seem that family gatherings or the holidays are one big obstacle to staying healthy. Somehow when you gather a group of people in one place around a lot of food, the forces are against you. But what if the forces were with you instead?
What if the obstacles could help you stay on track with eating healthy.
Looking at each obstacle individually reveals some wisdom that you haven’t uncovered yet. I broke down the one obstacle (=gatherings) into challenges I’ve encountered and I’ve found to be quite common.
- Other people’s comments. Either you’re eating too much or too little. Or someone decides to share what they think of your eating history. The comments bother us because we either believe what they say is true (feel bad) or we think they shouldn’t be making the comment (feel irritated). Either way, we’re tempted to eat something we didn’t intend to.
2. We’ve got excuses, or should I say “beliefs” about food. They look like “we shouldn’t waste food” or “it’s disrespectful to not eat this” or “food connects people”. I love the last one because imagine going to a family gathering, the table is full food and everyone has lost their voice. Doesn’t food connect us? When we hold onto to these beliefs we feel righteous, justified (in the moment) and well, where does that get us? A one way ticket to regret.
3. We’re overcome with emotion. Sometimes, it feels like panic, deprivation, restlessness, anxiety. Often, we’re not sure where it’s coming from. It feels so intense that food seems to be what will relieve it. But sooner and later, the feelings come back and we’ve now layered those intense feelings with feeling bad. And that makes it worse.
Basically, these obstacles left me in two places – be uncomfortable in the moment or later (after I’ve eaten stuff I didn’t want to). I used to handle comments from people with food and alcohol. And later I felt worse because I ate and drank stuff that didn’t make my body feel good.
Food “helped” me deal with things I didn’t want to deal with but really it only delayed the awful feelings to a later time with the layer of regret for not staying on my eating plan.
But there’s good news to our obstacles, I promise.
Because knowing our obstacles, especially knowing that some big emotion is triggered and we’ll have an urge or desire to eat something we hadn’t planned, can actually give us a solution.
The obstacle turns into a strategy for getting through social gatherings. If you know some of them ahead of time you can create a plan for how you’ll deal with it.
That comment you’d prefer not to hear, maybe you excuse yourself and go to the bathroom to process it. That intense emotion of overwhelm, maybe you decide to go outside for a few minutes and deep breathe for 5 minutes.
Listing out obstacles then becomes your list of strategies. There’s a bit of wisdom in each of them that can help get you through your next social situation and staying on track with your eating plan.
One response to “Obstacles to eating healthy”
[…] List the obstacles and an action for each one. You know them. When your aunt says you need another serving or seeing the table full of food or when your mind will come up with the “wasting food is bad” excuse. What are the words that you’ll say to your aunt? What will you do when you see the table full of food? What will you do when the excuses pop-up? (check out how to handle common obstacles) […]