You have just spent over a week accumulating a lot of data on how your diet affects your energy and mood – now let’s use it.
1. Identify potential pitfalls in your dietary intake using the emoticon food diary that you just created. Or, if you are more of an intuitive, bigger picture person, just think about the foods that you crave and perhaps feel guilty about.
2. Find a food that you are willing to eliminate for 2 weeks. If you are at a loss for what to pick first, go with that food or food group that you feel extra guilty about. Meaning that even before you ingest it you have negative associations. Remember, you should be proud and happy with your food choices! Guilt is a sign of a problem food. Cravings can also be a bad sign if the craving changes your mood by leading to a short lived or negative mood change. If you are still not sure what to choose, cutting something involving refined sugar, dairy or over-processed grains is generally a good universal first step to learning to feel your food. Pick one and commit to not eating that food or food group in even the tiniest amount, for two solid weeks.
3. Expect this to be hard. Real dietary changes do not happen overnight! My own personal food revolution has taken 6 years. The first week will be the hardest. During the second week cravings might be an issue. Then, I promise it’s uphill from there! After 1-2 months those cravings should significantly subside or disappear altogether simply because the feeling of health and happiness overwhelms the roller coaster of short lived satisfaction.
I expect that you’ll cheat and test yourself. Try your hardest not to cheat in the first two weeks, so that way you can clean out enough to feel what happens when you do. Now, when you cheat and eat a “detractor” (a food that reduces your overall sense of health and happiness), you should be able to have a better sense of how that food affecting you. If it is a true detractor, it will suck you down, maybe make you a little grumpy whereas before you were feeling great, maybe upset your stomach, maybe lead to feelings of guilt and regret. This is a good thing to experience, because you’ll be discouraged to go there again. It might take multiple burns to really drill it home (my personal journey took months of watching myself get sick from certain food groups before I could really commit to eliminating them), but in the end, I believe you can pull through and make the changes that your body demands, because I know you want to be healthy. So, give it a go and let’s see what your food is really doing to and for you.