Have you ever found yourself saying any of the following?
“I know I need to eat healthier, but I just can’t stop eating sugar.”
“Being healthy is way too hard.”
“I’ll never be one of those people that just wants to eat kale all day.”
I’m laughing at the last one because that sounds like something I’ve probably said before. The good news is… you DON’T have to be someone who eats kale all day. In fact, I would advise you not to just eat kale all day because there’s simply not enough calories or fuel in kale to sustain your body. But, that’s another story.
Healing your period doesn’t mean you have to break all of your current habits. It means becoming aware of your body’s wisdom and understanding yourself on a much deeper level so you can make informed, healthy decisions.
By the way, you can’t actually extinguish a bad habit, you can only change or develop a new one in its place. The process of changing a habit takes time, which is why I work with my clients for weeks at a time so I can support them through the process and help hold them accountable.
So, let’s say you want to stop eating so much sugar at night because you know that eating sugar may be contributing to your PMS symptoms. Here’s the step-by-step process you would take to change that behavior:
Step #1: Identify the routine
This would be eating the sugar
Step #2: Identify the reward
The next time you feel the urge to snack on cookies or ice cream, change your routine. Instead of opening up the bag of cookies, try taking an evening walk, a warm bath or having a healthier snack. What you choose isn’t important, the idea is to test a few different ways to figure out what craving is driving the routine. Are you actually hungry? Tired? Or is the sugar bringing you pleasure that you may have not experienced all day?
Step #3: Isolate the cue
Next time you feel the urge to eat the sugar, take note of the following:
Where are you? What time is it? What’s your emotional state? What action proceeded the urge to eat sugar? Did you just get home from work or just eat dinner?
Once you do this a few times, a pattern will emerge, and it will become clear what the cue is, and it will often be a combination of factors, not just one.
Step #4: Make a plan
Perhaps you discovered you eat sugar after dinner every night because you feel lonely and stressed. Now that you know the cue, routine, and reward, you can make a new plan for action. Maybe the plan you choose is calling a girlfriend or creating a ‘spa’ night for yourself each night complete with a warm bath by candlelight. The goal is to choose a routine that will still offer the reward you are seeking, but in a healthier way.
Once you begin following these four steps for the habits you want to change and truly honoring your body, you’ll start noticing changes in your menstrual cycle that will amaze you. I see it every day with my clients. You have the power girlfriend, don’t lose sight of that.
I want to hear from you! What bad habit do you want to transform?! Tell me in the comments below. Xo