Each New Year people set new goals related to making healthy changes to their lifestyle. Whether it is to eat less, exercise more, quit smoking or just cook more meals at home, behavior change can be difficult. To make a change you need two important things:
- Knowledge: what you need to know to make the change. For example, if your goal is to stop binge eating on junk food at night, you need to know that it helps to eat regularly during the day and not skip meals, to fill up on vegetables and include protein at dinner, learn to assess true hunger and tips for portion control. It also helps to keep tempting foods out of sight and healthy foods more visible.
- A Big Why: Why is stopping nighttime binge eating important to you? What difference will it have on your life that is so important that when faced with the choice you will decide that not eating it is more important than the temporary enjoyment you will get from eating it. An example of a BIG WHY might be: the effect binge eating is having on your weight is increasing your risk for Type II diabetes and it is important to you that you stay healthy because you want to live to see your grandkids grow up.
Once you are armed with the knowledge and the BIG WHY you can then work to create a supportive environment that will make behavior change inevitable.
Creating a supportive Environment:
- Plan your meals for the week so that you know what you plan to eat and at what time.
- Set a timer to remind you to eat regularly.
- Prepare some healthy snacks so that they are convenient and easy to access.
- Put healthy foods in full sight such as oranges on the counter, cut veggie in the fridge.
- Get rid of unhealthy foods that you tend to binge on.
- Buy smaller containers.
- Use a small plate as a visual cue to help control portions.
You can’t rely on willpower alone. If you are required to use will power, ask yourself:
- Have you really made up your mind?
- Is your “Why?” Big enough?
- Have you fully committed to what you are going to do?
- Is your environment supporting your goals?
This year, set yourself up for success.
Set a SMART goal. One that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
Arm Yourself with Knowledge
Find your Big Why
Create your supportive environment
Achieve Behaviour Change
Happy New Year!!