Understanding the root cause of your habits to make sustainable changes
Everyone knows what their bad habits are, especially when it comes to your diet. But when was the last time to stopped to ask why they exist?
My bad habit is sugar, I can’t get enough of it, especially chocolate and I don’t mean the rich dark chocolate that’s full of cacao goodness, I mean the sugary, sweet Cadbury’s marvellous creations with popping candy (don’t judge, we all have our vices!!).
Lately I’ve felt like it has been getting a bit out of control, I was starting to feel the sugar crashes more than the highs and overall just a bit lack lustre. So, I decided to practise what I preach and do our Cleanse & Restore meal plan in a bid to shake the sugar habit. But actually it did something much more powerful and showed me WHY I was constantly reaching for sugar.
Before I did the Cleanse & Restore meal plan, I thought my meals were really healthy (I almost exclusively ate New Norm meals), but I also ate quite a few sugary snacks. So as far as I could see all I needed to do was shake the sugar habit.
Day 1, 2 & 3 of the Cleanse & Restore meal plan was great; three square meals, a snack of some nuts and an energy bar (no refined sugar). I felt great. I didn’t crave sugar at all and I didn’t feel the need to snack or eat anything else over and above this. Great, I thought, maybe I’m not as hooked on sugar as I thought!
Day 4 & 5 was were where it all went wrong, and I realised that this was actually a fairly typical day for me. I was running around all over the place; packing orders or delivering meal plans in morning, coffee shop hopping or co-working somewhere in the afternoon and then we’re online with Deliveroo in the evening so I’m always in the kitchen cooking until 9pm. Breakfast, I’m like clockwork, I can’t start the day without a bowl of porridge, this is one of my really good habits. But that was the only meal I ate at a regular meal time, and I didn’t even sit down to eat it! Around 3pm (sugar o’clock) I had my usual sugar craving, I was in a coffee shop so succumbed and ordered a slice of cake, but then it occurred to me that I hadn’t actually eaten lunch…the penny dropped, I’m craving sugar because I’m skipping meals therefore have low energy. I finally ate lunch around 4pm and then had another sugar craving towards the end of my Deliveroo shift, again because I hadn’t eaten dinner and it was approaching 9pm.
This pattern forced me to think a bit deeper about my eating habits. I realised that not only was I skipping meals, but my meal times were so irregular that I didn’t even realise when I had skipped a meal. So rather than stopping and having something proper to eat I would often just top up my energy levels with some sugar on the go. Of course this just results in a sugar crash and so the cycle continues…
As a foodie, I am delighted to realise that actually I’m not eating enough! I feel much more positive about trying to create more structure and regularity around my meals than I did about trying to cut out refined sugar. And my hope is of course that by creating structure around meal times my sugar cravings will naturally be reduced to much healthier level…I mean we’re all allowed a wee treat now and then!
Before you jump to conclusions about reducing X or cutting out Y it’s worth looking not just at WHAT you’re eating it but HOW you are eating it. Making time to sit down and enjoy your meals is so important to allow your body time to digest what you’re eating but also to allow your mind time to digest what’s been going on in the day.
If you’d like to take control of your eating habits and assess why you behave the way you do when it comes to food, the Cleanse & Restore meal plan is a really great way to press re-set on your current behaviours. The structure of the plan allows you the space to assess and address the cause of these behaviours rather than simply being dogmatic about eliminating something from your diet. If your body is craving something then cutting it out without addressing the root cause of why you are craving it will only ever work short term.
To find out more about our Cleanse & Restore meal plans you can view our 3, 5 or 7 day plans here or e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org to ask any questions or recommendations for what would work best for you.