Personal Eating Style

Happy Holidays!  It’s that time in the year when everyone is stretched thin in many different areas, but health and wellness initiatives must go on. Undoubtedly, November and December are challenging times for people who are trying to lose weight. Food and folly is everywhere. Stress levels rise. It’s almost as if we’re all under a spell until New Year’s resolutions come and break it. Not all is lost though. This time of year can be a time of deep reflection and self-assessment. Just as trees stop putting out new growth to focus on strengthening their root systems, so too must we bring our focus inward with the intention of identifying our true needs for wholeness–body, soul and spirit.

This week in our groups we discussed how our personal history with food impacts our eating behavior today. Some common family patterns discussed yesterday:

  • “Clean your plate” club which taught us early on that we can’t trust our own feelings as it relates to hunger and satiety
  • Parents over-restricting or placing child on a diet
  • Parents with disordered eating themselves
  • Working parents–child left alone to binge on sugary, high-calorie foods
  • Parents too busy and relying heavily on fast food meals

Above are some of the more common ones, but if this doesn’t describe your situation then keep reading. You cannot change your past, but if you dig deep you will begin to understand what drives your eating habits. A famous proverb reads, “to know where you are going, you have to know where you’ve come from.” We discuss this a lot, but it’s worth repeating:  weight loss isn’t just about reaching a number on the scale.  Many of the people I work with are experts at losing weight–their determination is truly admirable, but keeping the weight off requires an entirely different set of strategies. In fact, it’s almost an entirely different game. Keeping the weight off requires this deep understanding of what drives personal health choices.

What motivates you?

Motivation to change is more complex than simply wanting to do something. When a person says, “I want to lose weight,” I follow up with, “but why?” They may cite reasons such as health or to feel better, and I follow up with “why?”  I’m sure it may seem like a redundant question to the client, but I’m trying to get the person to dig a little deeper because when challenges arise, motivation must come deep from within. Losing weight requires an investment of time and energy and the rewards of changing must outweigh the cost. You must fall in love with the rewards of being healthy and vibrant, otherwise you’ll return to familiar habits, even if they are destructive.

Finally, change is a process and not an event.  The weight loss journey is rarely straightforward and a person will often make many mistakes before it actually clicks for them.  Although each person’s journey is unique, the challenges are universal. Jim Rohn: “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”


About the Author
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Weight Loss Coach specializing in lifestyle transformation