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HOW TO STOP THE SNACKING
Our nutritional discipline is certainly being put to the test in these lockdown times.
If like me, you’re working from home, you may well be finding yourself drawn towards the snack cupboard a little more frequently than usual. You might not even be that hungry, but the temptation alone can often be too much to resist.
If you've someone who has always struggled to resist the temptation of your favourite snacks, then here are 3 effective techniques that I've implemented into my own lifestyle to help build & sustain nutritional discipline.
1) DON’T BUY IT IN THE FIRST PLACE
The first suggestion I’m going to offer is a very simplistic one. Here it is: don’t buy the food that tempts you in the first place. Groundbreaking, I know. But, it’s effective.
Personally, I have a serious case of a sweet tooth. So to prevent that from getting out of hand, I have to limit my purchase of sugary goods. For the most part I simply don’t buy them, or, I opt for healthier alternatives - dark chocolate (85%+) has been a game-changer. Of course, there are times where I ease my restrictions altogether - but, I don't allow it to get out of hand.
There’s undoubtedly a psychological element at play here. When we’re aware that we have immediate access to the object of pleasure, its presence & temptation has a tendency to linger on our mind. However, once we remove that easy access to the stimulus, the temptation gradually fades until we forget about it altogether - bar a few fleeting reminders.
Several studies have demonstrated that willpower is a finite resource; the more desires/temptation an individual resists, the more likely they are to give in to future desires.
So during a long day of work for instance, you’re using willpower to resist the desire of scrolling through instagram or watching tv (ideally). Therefore, by utilising willpower during the day, you're more likely to slip up in the evening.
Studies have also shown that those who exert more self control are not more successful in achieving their goals - it’s those who plan their lives so that they don’t have to use it. The trick is to not rely on willpower as a means to success.
So, next time you go shopping simply don't pick up the foods that you know cause you problems & require willpower to resist. Instead opt for some healthier alternatives.
Obviously, this may cause a bit of tension among other members of your household, but I’m sure you can find a way around that!
2) SET BOUNDARIES (DON’T BE OVERLY RESTRICTIVE)
This is actually key for any change we’re trying to make. It’s important we set some clear boundaries for ourselves to adhere to. But, at the same time these need to be realistic & not overly restrictive.
A lot of people will make the mistake of attempting highly restrictive approaches when it comes to their diet, such as dramatically decreasing their calorie intake, or deciding to eliminate all of their favourite, less healthful foods. Whilst I can admire their intentions & initial commitment, these sort of approaches rarely lead to long-term success.
Instead, by setting firm yet not-overly restrictive boundaries for yourself, you’re much more likely to maintain adherence over time. Enjoyment is a crucial component to nutrition; if you don't enjoy your diet, what are the chances of you remaining consistent with it?
3) OUTLINE YOUR DEEPER MOTIVATIONS
Finally, and perhaps most fundamentally, clearly define your goals, establish why they matter to you, & outline the behaviours required for you to achieve them.
Having a clear understanding of our goal(s) - who we’re trying to become/what we’re trying to achieve - is key. For example, maybe you want to cut down on the number of takeaway meals you have. In this case, precisely define your objective, e.g. to only have a takeaway once per week.
Once you’ve done that, it’s crucial to give some thought as to why these goals matter to you. Why is it you want to establish nutritional discipline? Maybe it’s because you want to lose a few pounds. Dig deeper still - why do you want to lose those pounds? Perhaps it’s so you can improve your health; allowing you to enjoy a longer & higher quality of life, in turn meaning you can spend more quality time with your kids & other family members.
Taking the time to dig deep into the true reasonings behind our goals allows us to establish a more meaningful connection to them. This serves as a powerful means of refocus & motivation during the inevitable times of low drive.
Once we’ve outlined our goals & their deeper significance, the final step is to define the behaviours needed for them to be achieved. Spend some time outlining the appropriate behaviours for you to achieve nutritional discipline. Not purchasing those less healthful foods that tempt you & setting boundaries are examples of this.
STRAIGHTFORWARD - NOT EASY
Establishing nutritional discipline can seem a near impossible task at first. But, by providing yourself with a bit of structure & direction, through the understanding of your true motivations, the setting of goals, and a few behavioral adjustments, the task becomes significantly more achievable.
Of course, doing this will only provide the framework. Once this has all been set up, it comes down to you to put in the effort to follow-through.
If building & sustaining that nutritional discipline is something that you feel you need additional guidance & assistance with, then don’t hesitate to reach out to me today: either drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or message me on facebook or instagram - always happy to help.
Finally, if you just need a bit of guidance when it comes to your nutrition, be sure to download my free e-book.
Christian Lawal Personal Training.
Personal training in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & Sevenoaks.