Have you ever wondered why you blame yourself for all those failed diets, fallen attempts to start a meditation practice, and unfulfilled desires to begin a journaling regimen? If you want to achieve true mindful eating, you must overcome the common excuses that lead to this tendency.
Over the years I’ve come to a few conclusions.
My first conclusion? Things like meditation, mindful eating, journaling, physical activity and paying attention to what, how much and when you eat all play a role in your health. Not anything new or earth shattering, I know, but a valid point to make anyway.
My second conclusion is that restrictive diets, tracking calories, keeping food diaries, intense meditation, and inflexible workout routines all have one thing in common: They make you think you’re “bad” at them. Oh, and they don’t work long term.
And when you’ve drawn both of these conclusions, you begin to feel hopeless about achieving the health you’re looking for.
(Spoiler alert: unless you’ve found intuitive eating!)
Does any of this sound familiar?
- You say you can’t do meditation because you’re too busy.
- You argue against journaling because you don’t know what to write and where to begin and you don’t have time…emotions are hard to deal with and it’s easier to ignore these feelings than it is to face them head on.
- And you think you “suck at diets” because you always break the rules (aka you can’t say no to temptation).
And it gets worse. You hide behind all of this as the cause for every pound gained, every workout skipped, and every off limit food eaten.
The culprit you’re dealing with here is not you. You’re not a failure. You have not failed anything. The problem is these systems are designed to fail. And society teaches you to find someone or something to blame for everything that goes wrong. And this blame is not just a game you play.
It’s a game stopper.
Blame creates inaction (1). So it’s crucial to learn how to stop the blaming. To do that you must take ownership of your actions. This will turn your desires for mindfulness in your eating, success in your meditation, and consistency with your journaling or whatever change you’re trying to make into your new reality.
What if I said there was a simple solution to overcome these common excuses?
I said I’ve come to a few conclusions but have only shared two so far. The third conclusion I’ve come to is that using a more intuitive approach to all of this removes the need for blame altogether.
Digging deeper into these blame beliefs will show you where that blame really belongs (or if it belongs) and your intuition will show you how to move past all of it. Here are a few examples.
“I’m too busy” is a common excuse
I know, me too! But that doesn’t stop me. Or rather I don’t allow that to stop me. Or I should say that most of the time I don’t allow being busy to stop me from figuring out how to make time for things that matter to me.
It’s all in the priorities. Your actions demonstrate your priorities. No need for blame or guilt here.
The first step here involves knowing what you want.
What do you prioritize for your life? Have you thought about that before? I mean really thought about it. Not just pulled up some popular ideas of what the rest of the world thinks your priorities should be. I don’t want you to google health goals or copy cat the same goals that tik tokker said got her to lose a hundred pounds. I’m talking sit down with yourself and figure out what you want out of life. What you want for your family.
The second step is all about knowing yourself.
You gotta know how you tick, what sparks you, and what kills your moods. You must understand how your brain works and get your systems and surroundings set up to support you. For this, I recommend the book “Order From Chaos” by Jaclyn Paul. It’s a book written for people with ADHD (hello, ADHDer here), but honestly, she’s got such great information in there about truly creating spaces that work with your personality that I think everyone should read it.
And once you’ve done all that, you’ll want to start the intuitive eating process. Why? Because intuitive eating frees you from the rigid world of diet rules and simply allows life to happen. It grants your brain permission to let go of all the diet clutter keeping you wound up in worry.
When you eat and live life more intuitively, you learn to listen and act upon your body’s needs, and in time you do this without much thought. Meal planning becomes a breeze and mealtimes evolve into something you peacefully enjoy. Because there are no worries over following or breaking any rules.
And there are no more obsessive food thoughts and pain (physical and emotional) from overeating. Not in the same sense as before anyway. Because you know how to approach these situations when they do happen…with curiosity and compassion for yourself. You deserve to be loved.
When you know what you value, and you know what works best for you, the acts of tuning in to your body about what you enjoy eating and when and how much becomes a part of you.
“I’m too emotional” often feels like a justified excuse
I get this too. Emotions send us spiraling and keep us stuck in places we can’t see our way out of. They make it hard to focus. And for some who struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health diagnosis, this very much may be a great excuse. But I want to challenge you to do what your doctors and therapists have suggested so you don’t stay in this place.
I want to challenge every to flip this thought. I challenge you to believe that mindfulness, meditation, journaling, and intuitive eating are your way out of this emotional holding pattern.
When I work with clients on emotional eating, we work through a series of questions designed to uncover what’s at the root of their emotions. You must do this work to resolve any emotionally triggered eating habits.
And this work always involves learning more about yourself. I don’t know any better way for you to learn about yourself than to spend time thinking and sorting through your thoughts and feelings. Journaling, meditating, and mindfulness approaches all offer the opportunity to do this.
So it goes back to your priorities.
My son, when he was in about the second grade, came home from school one day and asked me the question, “Would you rather live for a hundred more years and never eat another taco or eat all the tacos you want and live alone on an island the rest of your life?” I remember being a bit startled by the question (as I think many people would), but I also remember how it made me stop and think and reflect on myself and my priorities.
So, I ask of you, would you rather work through your challenges of getting started with journaling and meditation despite your emotions with the hope of resolving your emotional eating, or would you prefer to continue eating emotionally and not have to work through those struggles?
Would you rather be bound by someone else’s rules about what you can and cannot eat for the rest of your life, feeling guilt and shame when you break those rules (yes, while possibly having the thin body size you’ve been taught you’re supposed to have), or would you prefer to eat what and when and how much you want, that helps your body and mind feel well and well cared for (while possibly having a body size that may or may not be what you envisioned, but will be a healthier body because of it)?
“I don’t have enough willpower” is a common way to rationalize not getting started with mindful eating
Willpower shmillpower. This is perhaps the worst and the most common excuse to mindful eating practices I see.
I mean yes, willpower exists, but only in finite amounts and relying on it long term will fail you.
Make sure you read that correctly. The willpower will fail you. NOT the other way around.
You are not failing you. You are simply doing your best. Exhausted sources of willpower will leave you feeling like you CAN’T do something. But none of this is about can or cannot. It’s about want. It’s about choice.
You have the ability to make choices. It’s called free will. Not to be confused with willpower, free will is NOT a finite resource. It is always with you. Doing things like journaling, meditation, and even learning to eat intuitively according to your body signals and mind’s desires is always about free will. Not will power.
So when you make that mindset shift into seeing it as a choice you get to make (and not one you HAVE to make either), does it change things for you?
I know jumping on the intuitive eating wagon and leaning on your internal wisdom for guidance can be scary. Diet culture has taught you your whole life that you don’t know what’s best for you. And now you don’t trust yourself. And it has left you wondering and second guessing what’s truly YOUR voice versus what’s diet culture telling you what to think.
I get it. (Do I sound like a broken record?)
Simple but not easy
Hey…I said the solution would be simple, but I didn’t say it would be easy. Because I want you to be successful, be sure to follow my on Instagram to learn some strategies to specifically help you uncover those diet culture voices telling you you’re too busy, too emotional, too whatever or not enough of the other. It’s all lies and you deserve the truth.