Welcome to Day 6 of the Love Your Food Series. We hope you’ve been enjoying it so far, but if you have some catching up to do, please be sure to catch up on Days 1-5 here.
Changing the way you see certain foods probably seems like a great idea, but its not always easy to do. If it was, there would be no such thing as a hard-to-love food (Brussels sprouts anyone?) because with a simple shift in our thought process, it would become beloved in our eyes.
So how can this change really take place? Is it even possible? I believe it is. For some, we learn to love food through repetitive exposure. Or we persistently try a variety of cooking methods and recipes until we find a way to make the food tolerable. Sometimes its simply through the force of shear will that we eventually learn to love a food.
This shear will may be better described as instructional self-talk; Think of it as a running thought commentary where you guide yourself through difficult situations. And what could be more difficult than changing the way you think about some of the foods you eat? Its almost like giving your food thought process a complete makeover and in my opinion, this is definitely a difficult task to achieve. If you achieve it though, it may become easier to truly love some of those foods you have been avoiding or weren’t sure what to do with. At the very least, it may help you become a little more open minded, and that’s a great place to start when change is required.
According to a review of more than two dozen studies published in the journal Perspectives of Psychological Science, this sort of self-talk is most beneficial in a cycle of thought and action. Set a goal, make a plan, and then get down to business! But remember, be more intentional about your thoughts – let them guide you. Say your whys, your hows, your whens, your wheres and your whys. And the more you say it, the more likely you will follow through.
After you’ve gotten accustomed to talking yourself through the cycle, you may find that you’ve developed important cues for yourself that can work as powerful signals as time passes on. These signals, in turn, may help you effectively change the way you eat for a lifetime because you’ve retrained your brain to signal you at the sight of good-for-you foods.
If the self-talk doesn’t seem to help too much the first time around, don’t be afraid to rewrite your thoughts. Think of it sort of like a personal GPS system; its useful in that it can give you directions to where you need to go, but sometimes it doesn’t see everything coming and we don’t always apply the thought as intended. Like that Office episode where Michael ends up driving in a lake because his GPS tells him that he’s suppose turn? Your plan may not see every variable coming or be as clear as it should be. In those instances, you may have to rewrite your script after you reflect on the situation and the action at hand.
Day 6 Homework: Think about one food or food group you don’t give much love to. Set a goal for yourself to incorporate more of these sorts of foods into your day. Think through why this food is so loveable and then develop a script that you can follow as you work at incorporating more of that food into your day. What sort of things do you need to point out to yourself about that food? What is it that makes it hard-to-love in the first place? How are you going to try and love it a bit more? We’d love to hear about your experience using this technique. Feel free to email it to us or share it on our Facebook page. Good luck!