What are your rewards?

We’ve fairly recently started weaning Sophie on to some foods

(she was 7 months old the other day. Despite the sleepless nights that time has flown!).

She’s doing pretty well and seems to be a fan of broccoli most at the moment!

One thing we are being really conscious of is being really positive and encouraging as we feed her so that she knows the food she is eating is a good thing and she associate positive feelings with it.

A huge amount of our food likes and dislikes come from our parents.

For example, almost anyone who has ever said to me they don’t like vegetables and wont eat them has had fussy eater parents too

(and so a dislike for vegetables and other foods has subconsciously been passed on to them).

When you consider how many different types and tastes there are of vegetables its clear that someone who says they don’t like them all has a psychological block around them as opposed to genuinely not liking the taste

(its often the same with fish, as different types of fish taste so different).,

Psychological aspects around food are huge.

I had a call a while back with a client who was is in a bit of a bad place health wise.

She was struggling a lot and needed plenty of help, and during our chat I asked her for an example of what she’d been eating in the past couple of days.

This was the answer…

“Oh, I’ve really just eaten a lot of cake in this past week. I always eat cake when I’m having a bad time at work”

She explained that she sees cake as a reward (i.e. it’s a way of rewarding herself for putting up with the job she hates), but as we delved into things some more we realised the cake ends up making her feel terrible (and so isn’t REALLY a reward at all)

Not only that, but feeling terrible affects her productivity, which stops her from being able to find another job

<<< that, right there, is what they call a vicious circle!

The fact is (and deep down she knew this) cake is FAR from being a reward for her and is actually making things worse.

Short term maybe (for the 2 second sits in her mouth) there is some enjoyment, but the long term effects are clear.

So what we needed to do was break this cycle and to do that…

(short of jacking the job in which maybe isn’t such a bad idea if it’s making her that unhappy)

…we need to find other “rewards” that serve her much better.

To identify what those things were I had her make a list of all the things she enjoyed in life, away from food.

When she got thinking there was a huge number of things:

Walks in the country

Playing with her kids

Going for a massage

Or spa day

Colouring

Clothes shopping

And so on

The list was long, but until it was pointed out to her that these would be rewards that would serve her much better, she just wasn’t able to see it.

Do you find yourself emotional eating at all?

Do you have a bad day at work and have to polish off a bottle of wine when you get back home?

If so, it could be worth you doing this exercise of making a list of non-food items that you love doing (playing, walking, hobbies, buying yourself something, having sex, etc) and using those instead when you deserve it.

There’s so much out there that would serve you better than a rubbish food/drink based treat that lasts for just seconds.

Give it a go now. I’d love to see your list.

Speak soon,

Greg

p.s. another really important element for controlling cravings for “bad” food is making sure that you have enough good fats in your diet. Very often people either eat the wrong type of fat, or nowhere near enough fat (which affects energy levels, hormones, skin condition and much more).

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