Are you bored with what you’re eating?

“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? 

healthy eating
Photo by Karolina Grabowska:

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.

Do you like the consequences of procrastination?

Have you experienced the consequences of procrastination? For example, did you ever procrastinate in school? Like, rather than read and study the class materials throughout the semester, it came down to a 48-hour cram fest to see how much you could retain and regurgitate once you had a No. 2 pencil in hand? Yeah, I did that once or twice…

Think about the focus of cramming. It’s to pass the test. Then, consider what likely does NOT happen? The purpose of school to begin with: life-long learning, increasing intellect and skills for a particular purpose.

So, the consequence of procrastination, and then cramming, might have been a decent, maybe even good, grade on a test, but we also short-change ourselves. We take the quick win over the long-term gain.

What happens if someone approaches weight loss like a test? She does a cleanse, fast, diet…anything to lose weight quickly. And because “cramming” for weight loss is unsustainable, she reverts back to old habits and the weight comes back.

Did you procrastinate in school? Like, a 48-hour cram fest for a test? What happens when you approach weight loss like that test?
Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash

Lasting weight loss is a side effect of day-in-and-day-out healthy habits: of mindful, healthy eating, of moving and strengthening your body, of getting proper rest, of managing stress… a lifestyle of wellness. It’s like consistently studying and applying the knowledge learned in a class to grow intellectually.

But expecting weight loss to be the first thing that happens when you implement a new exercise program or change your eating habits. That’s short-term thinking that ends – usually – in disappointment. (There IS one kind of short-term thinking I recommend! I talk about it here.)

Instead, what if you made the decision that you’re “in” no matter what? Then NOT losing a pound on day one, or any other day, isn’t a reason to quit or to beat yourself up. What if you focused on what you’re doing to get the result? And what if you worked on your mindset to produce the actions that will ultimately get you the results that you want? That’s where the magic happens, right?

Are the consequences of procrastination worth it? Ultimately, you need to decide. Be clear on which side effects you want: quick weight loss that comes back as fast as it went, or a lifetime of feeling free and being in control, able to maintain your ideal weight.

It is that simple.

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