6 Steps to Ending Bad Eating Habits
By Kathryn Martyn, M.NLP
A client wrote, "Help me! I thought I was finally getting a handle on my weight
issue but the sugar is killing me. I had an awful day. I won't even tell you
what I ate today because it is just so unbelievable. All I will say is that 90%
of my food today consisted of sugar! I really, really need some help getting
past these cravings. I am no doubt a sugar addict. If I could get past this
there is no doubt that I will reach my goal."
If you see a little of yourself in this message, you're not alone. Many describe
themselves as sugar addicts. They believe if it were only for that one thing,
then they could reach their weight loss goals. If you believe only one thing
stands in your way of losing weight, consider this: What if that one thing (an
addiction to sugar for instance) were gone? Do you really believe, "If I could
get past this, there is no doubt that I will reach my goal," or is it an easy
excuse to stay stuck?
If I told you I could show you a way to stop craving sugar, would you want me to
show you how?
Think about that for a moment. Close your eyes and really think it through.
You've said if only you didn't crave sugar, then you could lose weight, but is
that really true for you? Ask yourself these questions:
Would you eat differently, and if so how?
What else would change, and what would stay the same?
What would you lose?
What would you gain?
Until you know what you want, know you can achieve it, and know what else will
change (i.e. how your life may be different), you can't discover any obstacles
that first must be considered. For instance, you may want to stop eating
anything after 7 PM yet your husband doesn't come home from work until 8 and he
wants you to join him for dinner. That's an obstacle.
If you've got a habit of watching your favorite TV show with a bowl of ice
cream, then breaking that habit is another obstacle.
If you don't work out ways to overcome your obstacles perhaps through discussion
and compromise with your husband or habit breaking exercises for your ice cream
habit, there's bound to be a problem. Just saying you're not going to do
something any more rarely works. Instead determine what might stand in the way
of achieving your goals, find a way around them, and you're much more likely to
actually achieve those goals once and for all.
The statement, "if this one thing were handled, then everything else would fall
into place" is an "If Then" statement and gets people into trouble. They want a
fairy godmother to make it all better. A strong belief that one single thing
such as, "eating sugar is my problem," sets you up to fail, especially if you
really like eating sugary foods.
Getting a handle on your cravings is not an all-or-nothing proposition. You must
leave room for occasional deviations. It's not the occasional side trip that
causes weight trouble; it's the road we usually travel.
In NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) a good starting point is the exercise
called Establishing a Well Formed Outcome. "Well formed" means it meets all
criteria of a well thought-out end result.
NLP: How to Create a Well Formed Outcome & Get What You Want
Here are the steps to creating a well formed outcome:
1) State what you want (not what you do not want). "I want to weigh 135 pounds."
2) Determine whether you can achieve it (do you believe it is possible?).
3) What resources do you have and what do you need (time, money, gear, clothes,
equipment, coaching, whatever).
4) Check whether anyone else is involved and any potential obstacles that may
come up regarding others. Think of everyone involved in your day-to-day life.
5) Picture yourself "as if" you've obtained what you say you want and see if
that picture fits. Do you like what you see?
6) Put together a plan of action for the achievement of your outcome.
While it may seem like a lot of effort simply to decide what you really want,
going through these steps at the beginning helps you find potential obstacles
which previously stopped you from moving forward. For example, if you decide
you want to join a gym and start exercising every day but you've forgotten you
don't even own a car and just lost your job, that exercise plan might not work
out right now. If you did join a gym, you'd end up not going and then you'd
think you'd failed, yet it was the plan that failed, not you. You didn't think
A better plan in this instance may be doing exercises at home, or within walking
distance (or simply walking for exercise). Later, when you do have
transportation, you can rethink the plan and perhaps join a gym then. There are
It's better to look at what you want from every angle, then put together a plan
you know can and will work. Then when you know what you want, you'll also know
you can make it happen and begin by taking that first step toward making it a
"Achieving a Well Formed Outcome" is one of the sessions in the Ending Emotional
Eating 8-Week Workshop. You can also find more information on this popular and
well known NLP process by searching for "NLP Well Formed Outcome" in your
favorite search engine.
About the Author
Kathryn Martyn, Master NLP & EFT Practitioner, Weight Loss Coach, Author
"Changing Beliefs, Your First Step to Permanent Weight Loss," teaches how to
use EFT for weight loss. Get The Daily Bites at
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