Changing your eating habits with a positive mindset

Mindfulness Practitioner and qualified Nutritionist Kirsty Grace gives her top tips on changing your mindset and habits when it comes to food! - Thrive Nutrition and Health Magazine

Mindfulness Practitioner and qualified Nutritionist Kirsty Grace gives her top tips on changing your mindset and habits when it comes to food!

The reality is, change is a task – but a completely doable one if you are prepared to let go of old habits, open to change and ready to embrace new ones and the journey of transformation.

In a current world where society and media are constantly bombarding us with images and information, it is difficult to know what is ultimately best. Many people fall into the trap of wanting to change to “be” or “look” good in the eyes of social acceptance.

Make sure that the changes that you’re looking to make are driven from inside. Make the change for yourself and nobody else and that change will last for the longer term!

Changing for these reasons is a short term motivator and one which is likely to leave you feeling miserable. The most powerful motivator for long term results is wanting to change to “Feel Good”. For the change come from inside.

Behavioural change science tells us that intrinsic motivation is the key – motivation that comes from within, that is internally driven by what is important to you. Make the change for yourself, nobody else.

Any change can be like having a garden. We may leave that garden as we go for a holiday for a short while, only to return to an overgrown lawn in need of some attendance – but before we can start the cleanup process, we firstly need to stand back and view the garden and decide which are the weeds and need digging up and which seeds we were going to plant to blossom in the future!

Start with some questions and be honest with yourself.
Do you eat in a rush, skip meals or grab whatever is to hand and convenient, rather than mindfully choosing foods which will nourish your body? Getting the answers to these simple questions will help you get a clearer picture of what exactly you wish to change, it is not an opportunity to judge yourself critically.

Be kind to yourself – you are always doing the best you know how – sometimes that just means learning new ways of managing. Here are a few tips which may assist you on your path of positive change and progression.

Balance and more balance!
Take one step at a time. Don’t expect yourself to change over night. Some habits may be easier to change than others. Whereas some may take months or even years to change!

Eat intuitivelyPay attention to how your body feels after meals. Are there foods which make you feel tired? Foods that make you feel lighter and more energised? Listening to internal clues you can begin to relate your bodily sensations to what’s making you feel good (or not), establishing useful cause-and-effect links.

You are intending to eat to feel better, not simply to look better. Remind yourself to connect your mind with your body.
AwarenessBecome aware of unhealthy cravings. Make a commitment to pausing between the craving and automatically indulging it. Where is this need coming from?

Social pressure
Avoid allowing yourself to succumb to social pressure or those “C’mon, have another piece of cake” people. make your own choices. Be comfortable with the word ‘No’.Your responsibility should always be to yourself.

Food swaps
Consider some simple food swaps, where possible. If you usually like to indulge in sugary foods – switch to fruit snacks which are packed with nutrients and still wonderfully sweet and juicy.

Your plate
When looking down at your plate, a good starting point is to divide it visually into food groups. One quarter carbohydrate, one quarter protein and the other half vegetables or fresh ingredients such as salad.

Avoid distractions
Allow yourself time to eat. Make time for a sit down meal to eat mindfully. The dinner table is also a perfect way to reconnect with your loved ones and help them to establish good eating habits too.

Eating protein and non-saturated fats for breakfast will help to balance blood sugars and sustain you until your next meal, reducing crashes and cravings which often follow post-sugary cereal bowl.

Be prepared
Preparation goes a long way. Make it easy for yourself to make those better food choices by preparing well.

Be accountable and honest with yourself – keeping a food diary is an excellent way to really see what you’ve eaten

Above all, if you fall off the wagon, re-focus and simply get back on when you feel you can. You are always doing the very best you can, and we are all human.

Feature from inside our Thrive Health Magazine Summer issue article written by: Kirsty Grace  @misskirstygrace
Kirsty Grace is Mindfulness Practitioner and holds a Diploma in Mindful Self Compassion and a MSC Certificate, Nutrition Diploma.