How to deal with healthy-eating set-backs

How to deal with healthy-eating set-backs

A client of mine recently shared with me about a set-back she had with eating in the middle of the night.

She and I had worked on techniques that were allowing her to improve this behavior that had become so habituated that she went through the motions whether or not she even wanted to eat.

She was starting to see the success that she was working on for so long and celebrated that she hadn’t woken up to eat in the middle of the night for weeks. It was like a miracle!

But, then it happened.

She had a really rough few days, wasn’t feeling well and had to pull some late nights working.

Out of nowhere, the behavior started to creep back in.

She feared this, of course, and used it as an example to prove how she can never find any long term success.

Here’s the thing though.

Set-backs will always happen. They are nothing to fear when you are playing the long-game with a healthy lifestyle.

Many of us know that horrible feeling of backsliding into older eating behaviors.

It’s usually when someone completely gives up or wants to take extreme measures like putting in food rules again or starting a restrictive diet.

My approach to this is different however, and IMHO makes all the difference between people who find long term success versus those who stay on the weight cycling and dieting merry-go-round.

Let me save you the element of surprise right here right now and say this.

You will always have set-backs. It’s magical thinking to believe that once you start to make changes that they are forever and always.

No, it always takes patience, persistence and practice to perfect newer, more fragile health behaviors to stick around for the long haul.

And here’s the other difference.

You’ve got to let go and release guilt, shame and your fear about old behaviors creeping back in from time to time.

Set-backs will happen when you are:

✅Overly distracted

✅Overly stressed

✅Not feeling well physically

✅Made a lot of decisions during the day

✅Feeling vulnerable or life circumstances have changed (a move, a divorce, a loss, a change of job, etc)

Your job is not to judge the behavior that has returned but to get curious about why it has returned.

Let go of the disappointment, shame or worry that it has returned.

Ask questions about it.

❓Why are you back?

❓What do I need to learn right now?

❓What do I need to do more of right now for self-care?

❓What do I need to let go of?

Most importantly, let yourself start where you are, give yourself permission to continue the behavior while you work on other self-care and self-soothing techniques.

Lastly, and especially if you’re working with a coach.

Show up no matter what.

Even if you’ve had the worst week ever and fear you’ll never get your momentum back again or that you even have the will or drive to get it back….show up.

Pick yourself, dust yourself off and start where you are.

This is exactly what this client and I worked on when night-binging came back to bite her.

We gave the behavior permission to arise (not to squelch or resist it) and permission to eat if need be.

That permission was the very thing that allowed her to get back on her path.

I’m opening a few coaching spots for May.

Could YOU use that kind of mind-set shift and that kind of radical permission?

Let’s chat.

Yes! I’m ready for coaching

Mind-Body Nutrition, Behavior Change, Empowered EatingJenny BerkApril 26, 2022behavioral change, healthy eating, healthy livingComment

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