What is the “Why” Behind your Behaviors?

You’ve read all the books on nutrition and scoured the internet for ways to lose weight, but every time you’ve tried to lose weight, you fail. The nuts and bolts of losing weight do come down to the basics of eating whole foods, drinking water, getting in daily movement, getting adequate amounts of sleep, and reducing stress. But, there is one other factor that is often overlooked and that is the “why” behind your behaviors. Have you ever really observed your eating behaviors and was honest with yourself about why you do what you do? Not knowing why you do what you do, can be one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to losing weight. Let me share a personal experience as an example. 

Prepping for a bodybuilding show is not easy because in order to do well, you must follow your plan exactly as your coach gives it to you. There is no room for deviations if you want to win. But one thing that I thought was really great about the process was that it helped me to identify reasons why I would reach for food or want a glass of wine. Since I was not willing to deviate from my plan, it made me look at the real reason why I wanted to eat or drink something that was off my plan. What I found out about myself was that some of it simply came down to habit. Like it is a Friday night and every Friday night I have a glass of wine. But most of the reasons why I looked to food or drink was to cope with an emotion I was feeling:

  • Stressed from a long day at work, a glass of wine will fix that. 
  • I am feeling tired, having something sweet will make me feel better. 
  • I am sick of doing the same thing day after day after day, two glasses of wine will give me a break.

The more I learned about why I did what I did when it came to food and drink, the better I was at finding healthy ways to cope with my emotions. Also, knowing what my food and drink triggers were was helpful because, for example, if I went to have that glass of wine, I could stop myself by saying “You actually do not want a glass of wine, you are just tired”.  

I would strongly encourage you to be honest with yourself and take a look at your behaviors around food and drink. At first, just be an observer of your life and hold no judgment about your behaviors. If you can, write in your journal what you observe. The more you observe, the more patterns you will start to notice. Once you identify a pattern, then you are able to find ways to address it. I know this may not be an easy process because it may bring up old feelings or  traumas that you have tried to bury, but if losing weight and becoming healthy is a priority to you, then finding out why you do what you do is vital to helping you succeed in reaching your weight loss goal. 

Remember you cannot change what you are not aware of.