“A few months ago I was on a roll with healthy eating, and I was feeling so good and losing weight. But I got bored eating the same foods all the time, I couldn’t stick with it. Now I’m trying to get back on track…”
But our brain likes routine and is good at creating habits. It desires efficiency and these habits save us time and energy later.
So why is this such a problem when it comes to healthy eating?
Consider your everyday routines. Some are so automatic you do them almost without thinking, like brushing your teeth, driving a certain route to work, brewing coffee, or saying grace before a meal. You probably think of these as necessary, not boring.
Other habits require more planning but because you’ve made it part of your routine, you don’t need to exert a lot of effort. This is the case if you exercise regularly. You never ask “should I?” You simply schedule it and do it. Likewise, getting dressed in the morning is automatic, but depending on the degree of pre-planning it may take more or less time. Again, boring isn’t a concern.
Then there are habits we want to stop, but because we’ve been doing them for so long it takes time and effort to undo them. For some, coming home every night and drinking wine fits that category. You get home from work which triggers the thought “it’s been a busy day and wine relaxes me.” No planning needed. And I’ve never heard someone say “I’m so bored with drinking wine.”
So why, when implementing a new routine of healthy eating do we use the “boring” excuse?
Because when you start on the path of planning, preparing and eating healthy food, it takes more time and energy. And maybe you’re not eating many of the foods you used to eat that give you a dopamine high, and you miss that.
Understand this: your primitive brain will use any means it can to seek pleasure, avoid pain and create ease. A new healthy eating routine is the opposite! It’s just the thing your toddler brain doesn’t want you to follow through with.
When this thought about the food being boring comes up, pause and sit with it. Remind yourself that your routines are FOR you. They are not punishment. Of course you want your eating plan with healthy foods that you enjoy. When you do that, the adult part of your brain can calm down the toddler and follow through, as planned. I like to think of routines as brilliant, not boring. It’s how I get so much done everyday and achieve my most important goals.