Excuses, Excuses. The Art of Talking Yourself Out of Eating On Plan

Are you the Queen of talking yourself out of something? Into something? Always seem to have the perfect excuse to throw your plan out the window so you’ll stop disappointing yourself when it doesn’t work out?

One of the challenges when making a shift in your health is realizing that life isn’t going to stop. There’s always going to be parties, travel, events, dinners and friends and impromptu happy hours. Learning how to work around them AND work them into your life is part of the shift and growth. Because, who wants to live without them? That would be no fun.

It’s so darn easy to find an excuse when we want to talk ourselves out of doing something.

“I had a hard day”, “It’s a free dinner so I may as well”, “I just ate cake for dinner so I guess I’ll have wine now.”, “I have 3 events to go to this month- I’ll never be able to stay on track”, “Why would this work? Nothing ever has lasted before”, “I’m too tired for this”, “My partner doesn’t support me and the way I want to eat”, “Someone brought donuts to work so I would be rude if I didn’t eat one…or two”, “I have a lot going on this month so I may as well start next month…or January 1st.”

Your brain can unlearn habitual behaviour over time, with planning and practice.

There’s a part of our brain, the habitual side, that just wants to keep things easy, wants you to do things to keep you alive, and doesn’t want any trouble. This part of your brain is the chatterbox that will go through the old ‘files’ and pull out an excuse that had worked in the past. “Well, I had a long day so I’m just going to stop at the drive through for a burger and fries on my way home. I deserve it.” Your brain thinks this is an easier solution than you driving home, pulling out ingredients from the fridge and cooking a meal. Besides, your brain sees this as comfort food and wants to reward you for your hard work today.

Your brain will resist change unless you supervise it. I recently listened to a podcast by Rachel Hart where she compares these excuses to a Rolodex. All the justifications and excuses come up for us when we attempt to deny ourselves what we crave. Your brain will keep spinning the Rolodex of excuses until one makes sense to you.

Remember this when you are trying to make a health shift and better choices – Just because our brain wants something doesn’t mean we have to answer. We still have control over picking up the forkful of food, or cookie, and shoveling it into our mouth. Your brain can unlearn habitual behaviour over time, with planning and practice.

I work with clients not only around meal plans but also around mindset shifts that are necessary when you want to live a healthier life. When you write out a weekly and daily plan for yourself and keep notes on your associations between emotions and cravings, you get to know what’s happening in your body. Are these just thoughts from your habitual brain? Because you know deep down inside that a burger and fries is not the best option. Document which excuses in your Rolodex get you every time, then make a plan for how you will intervene next time.

You are in charge of your brain and behaviour, of your reaction and the action you take next. Put yourself back in the driver’s seat and arm yourself for each and every excuse that the habitual brain will throw at you.

Want to get to know more about making a mind-body shift? Book your free discovery call today with Jen Casey, Holistic Nutritionist.


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