How to stop fighting yourself around food
Have you ever wondered why you don’t have a huge issue with willpower around things like fruit but you do around things like cupcakes?
This is second pillar in the Eat Love Live Formula - Tame your Tiger. We are going to look at the elements that make up our willpower and give you the tools to power them to achieve your goal of reaching your ideal weight.
Step one, we are going to meet our Tiger*.
What is that food that you just can’t resist?
Can you imagine it for me? Think of how it looks, how it smells, how it tastes when you bite into it. It could be cakes, biscuits, cheese, chocolate, wine - whatever a food is that you find hard to say no to.
It will be really hard for you to leave that food alone, something you sometimes don’t even savour but devour. That's when you know your Tiger is present. That part of you that makes sure you survive and thrive.
When that moment happens, stop for a minute and say “hi” to that other bit of your will, that bit that you need to acknowledge if you want to control it.
Your Tiger is drawn to high-fat, high-sugar foods because they provide excellent and immediate calories.
We’ve only had an abundance of food and diets for a small amount of our history on this planet, compared with what our ancestors had to do to get those foods. So when you see them, you leap for them because our ancestors would have needed to eat calorie-rich foods, whenever they could be found, to lay down fat stores for the winter and survive.
So that primitive need, your Tiger, has the same reaction. You may start salivating in expectation and it is very difficult, when that happens, to quench that with anything apart from the food you are thinking about.
So stop beating yourself up with a stick about what you think is being weak, a lack of willpower, because it isn’t.*
Just a word on Tigers - mine IS a Tiger, your visualisation of this amazing part of you that protects you and will get you through anything, might be different and that’s fine.
So, first things first, you’ve said “Hello”.
Step 2 - The second thing is that you have to give them something else to do.
Tiger Taming takes time, and until then the tactic is to busy him with something else.
You might leave the room - that's normally the simplest option. Put a distance between yourself and the object of your Tiger’s desire.
Do something active - watching the TV isn’t enough, you want to get back into your body, you could walk, run, garden, do the cleaning even.
Or try something creative because it takes focus, write, draw, reorganize a cupboard. Whatever you need to do.
If you are salivating, wash out those taste buds with something like peppermint tea. Works a treat.
Step 3: The third thing you will do is “celebrate the win”.
When you have gone off and done something else, I want you to celebrate. Not weight loss, not pounds off, but the behaviours that will help you.
You’ve recognised what is happening and been able to turn that around – that’s what I want you to celebrate. Move from having an OWW mindset, “I’ve got no willpower, I can’t do this”, to having a WOW mindset, “Yes I did it, my Tiger is calm, he’s still asleep, I’m using behaviours that will help me achieve my goal”.
So those are three quick tips to help you Tame your Tiger right now. I’m interested in who your Tiger is, if you can recognise them, if you’ve experienced them before. For me it was my first fight in the school playground. I only ever had one, I lost! but I remember it vividly.
My Tiger is present when I’m defending my child or my family and you can definitely feel him around food if you stop and take a moment. There are lots of books on this topic if you are interested, the Chimp Paradox is one of my favourites. Google the Triune Brain or T type brain if you are curious and would like to know more.
Whatever you do though, please stop thinking it is simply a matter of your lack of willpower. Your will is so much more incredible and all you have to do is find out a little more about it.
PS: Grab my free download with Tiger Taming built in - the 28 day ELL journal - kick start your weight loss one week at a time - click here!