How to Reprogram Your Eating Habits

reprogramReprogram our eating habits.  It makes us sound like a computer, right?  But habits, beliefs and patterns of thinking can be so ingrained in our psyche, we literally become programmed to behave in a way that is detrimental to our health and mental well-being.  If you read my last two posts, 5 Questions That Get to the Root of Your Relationship with Food and How to Forgive Your Food Influencers, and implemented some of my tips, you are well on your way to unravelling your beliefs and it may have even started to influence new habits and behaviours around food.  But it’s not enough to identify the root of your relationship with food or to forgive your food influencers. There’s more.

The next step is about practice.  You will fall back into old patterns.  It happens to the best of us.  You will suddenly find yourself scarfing down a box of cookies, or if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum, maybe you haven’t eaten a thing all day.  Or perhaps, at a restaurant with your friends, you order a tiny salad even though you are starving or maybe you realize that you have eaten most of a bowl of pasta, long past your full mark, but can’t seem to put your fork down.  And it’s okay.  Here’s what you need to do:

4 Steps for Reprogramming Your Eating Habits

  1. Recognize – becoming aware of the root of your relationship with food will allow you to do this.  It may not always be before you indulge in the box of cookies, but it will happen.
  2. Forgive – forgive yourself and your food influencers again, no matter where you are in your pattern, at the beginning, mid-way or at the end.  Because you have recognized that you were in your pattern, you may be tempted to be hard on yourself.  This can happen now that you have more awareness of where it stems from.  But it’s not easy to remember it all the time. Forgive again.
  3. Treat yourself with love – treat yourself as you would treat a friend going through the same issue.  What would you tell her?  “One step at a time”, “be easy on yourself, you’ll do better next time”, “this isn’t easy”. Right?  Treat yourself with that same kind of love and compassion.
  4. Make your choice again – wherever you are in your pattern, make another choice.  Once you realize you are in your pattern, it doesn’t matter where, you can make another choice. Go back to your roots and decide what you would tell yourself instead and allow yourself to make another choice.  Put down your fork, or perhaps pick it up if you were avoiding food.  Put away the box of cookies, or choose to sit down with one and enjoy it with complete mindfulness. Just make a different choice.

You will need to practice these steps.  Reprogramming your eating habits can take time and repeated practice.  It may take many tries before you are really able to create sustainable change.  Or it may come easily to you.  Whatever it takes, know that it’s okay.  As long as you are making progress.



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