Green Light Your Eating Habit Changes With One Little Word

June 30, 2023Blog

Making permanent changes in your eating habits may be one of the most difficult things any human being can do.

I speak from experience. I’ve been successful in confronting and recovering from a compulsive overeating disorder and food addiction. Am I perfect? No. None of us are, but perfection isn’t the goal. One of the important things is how I handle that imperfection.

So how did I do it? The thing that keeps me going, especially when the going gets tough, is maintaining a positive attitude. A positive attitude is vitally important when it comes to being successful at anything difficult.

A false positive attitude

There’s a lot of misunderstanding around positivity. Staying positive isn’t about being happy and upbeat all the time. It isn’t about looking for good in every situation. Nor is it about maintaining a can-do attitude.

Failure isn’t an event

A positive attitude is simply reminding yourself that failure is simply a judgment that you’ve made about something. With a positive attitude, you learn from what happened instead of letting it derail you completely.

If you’re like me, you’ve tried multiple times to make healthy food choices and lose weight, only to slip back into your old habits and have the whole thing unravel. And like me, you probably labeled yourself a failure and blamed yourself for lacking willpower or moral fortitude. We all go through that, but it’s important to look at it as a phase. Don’t stay there.

The problem is we carry what we perceive as our failures — our mistakes, difficulties, losses, false steps, places where we’ve fallen short — around with us as instruments of torment. Instead, step back and ask yourself what can I learn from this?

Social scientist Angela Duckworth calls this kind of positive attitude “grit.” And her research shows that successful people actually “fail” more because they try more. Her research also shows that talent has little to do with success. Successful people are more likely to keep trying when things don’t work out. They learn from the experience, make adjustments and try again.

Harness the power of yet

The next time you try to make changes in your eating habits and “fall off the wagon” unleash the power of yet.

Tell yourself that you haven’t found the right solution yet. When your brain starts to spew out thoughts like, “I’ll never lose weight, I’m weak, I give up,” switch to, I haven’t got this figured out yet. I will try something else.

Think about it. Failure has a finality to it. Gone. Stuck. Finished. If instead you think I haven’t got this yet, it opens up more possibilities. It means you’re on a learning curve and everything that hasn’t worked contains a nugget of information in it to help you move forward.

You might learn that a particular practice doesn’t work for you. Or you might realize that something was working and you stopped doing it because it wasn’t fully ingrained yet or you hadn’t sorted out all the situations yet.

How did the power of yet work for me?

At one point I had given up, vowing never to try to lose weight again — that is until I found myself standing on the precipice of several health problems. First, I looked at what hadn’t worked for me, starvation, calorie counting, portion control, vigorous exercise. Then I kept reading, learning, and trying new things until I started finding solutions that did work.

It’s the positive attitude that kept me going and keeps me going now. There will always be bumps and potholes to negotiate on this road of life, so the learning and adjusting hasn’t stopped and probably never will.

I’ve been in a funk lately. People telling me to look on the bright side isn’t helpful. Remember a positive attitude doesn’t mean being happy all the time. Even in this hard place, I can remind myself that I am not stuck here forever, that I can keep trying and learning, that I have in fact learned a lot that I can try again.

A positive attitude can mean the difference between success and giving up. Remember you haven’t achieved your desired result, yet. Keep going.

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