if you've ever tried to make a change to the way that you eat you'll probably know how hard it is to make that new habit stick especially with busy working lives and families and even sometimes just getting through those hard days where you don't want to do your new habit and you fall back into your old.
Ways we've all been there it's really common So today we're going to talk through how making some small changes is achievable and how it can help us all you may have heard of cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT but did you know that it can actually be applied to the way we eat and help us to be healthier so today I'm joined by lead.
Dietitian NE Hennessy I'm going to be talking a little bit more about how CBT can actually help with reaching your healthy eating goals which might be quite new to a lot of people because we tend to ass associate it more with um mental health conditions but I I think the first thing I'd like to say is that I think it's really important when.
People are trying to make a change that they're they're not too ambitious they make it achievable and they do it in a way that is being kind to themselves yeah we really try and encourage people to be kind to themselves and to not make big changes too quickly we normally look to one to two changes um each visit and small things that they can achieve so.
They can look at it from a success point of view um if you find you start off slowly and you have some success in the first couple of weeks you're more likely to continue um further on into making and keeping those changes okay so it's all about making small achievable changes that you can build on rather than big.
Ambitious changes that you've already setting yourself up to fail let's explain a little bit more about what CBT is so cognitive behavioral therapy it's a a type of thinking therapy um as you said earlier it's mainly used in mental health um but we do use it in clinical practice to help um people change um eating.
Behaviors um it's really helpful um when you're looking at barriers to change and getting people to be open to different suggestions um it's really important that you're be spoke to the individual and you make it work around their diet and lifestyle so is it somewhat like sort of almost retraining the brain in a way that it's becomes easy to continue.
This healthier habit it it is but it's also that positive reinforcement so it's encouraging people to um continue with changes or if they have a blip in um their pathway which we all do don't we y it's very normal that they don't give up altogether and uh finish the bar chocolate or the packet of crisps that they enjoy a small amount of something.
And have everything in a balance if they they do have fall off um a small bit of their plan that they're going straight back in at the next Meal Time rather than saying I'll start again on Monday is CBT for everybody or would you say there are some people who can benefit from using this technique more than others so CBT definitely isn't for.
Everyone um a lot of people do find it helpful the main people that find it less helpful are those with severe mental health problems or someone with a severe learning disability um it does doesn't mean that they won't use elements of it but they find it a bit more challenging to work with Okay so it does requires some element of sort of.
Flexible thinking yeah yeah um also for some people they find it really difficult if they're very self-critical as well yeah um and a lot of us can be critical but it's looking at the extremes um if you're very obsessive about things you might struggle a little bit with CBT cuz there's a certain amount of um releasing the control um.
That you're having and I think that critical thinking is a really important thing because I think for all of us that we do tend to be self-critical don't we and if we have set ourselves a goal such as never eating chocolate again which is too ambitious and then we have a small peace we can feel like well that's it I'm thrown in the towel I'm a failure.
And we can use really negative selft talk which which doesn't help so CBT partly about changing those thoughts then in order to change our emotions and our behaviors yeah it's looking at retraining and it's looking at how we View our actions and it's helping people to say actually having that small bit of chocolate did you enjoy it was it worth.
It and for a lot of people it's yes so it's saying well it's fine to have a small amount but don't eat the big 500 gram bar of chocolate and it's everything a moderation um and it may be that actually getting rid of the chocolate isn't right for you yeah the chocolate's your most favorite thing in the whole world maybe work on the crisps.
Or whatever else it is that you're not that fuss about mhm okay and are there any other top tips that you can share with us apart from CBT um that can really help people to make these changes and stick with them for me I think the key thing is being organized um if you're organized and are well planned so having a wall planner in your kitchen.
That plans out the week so it keeps you on track um you're less likely to um change your mind and go back to Old Habits um also using your freezer so bulk cooking is a really key thing um having a backup plan so if you're not able to have your ideal breakfast in the morning say homemade porridge oats that you would have um an oat B based muffin.
Maybe in the freezer or you might have a cereal bar and a piece of fruit so you're still staying on track but you've not done exactly what you wanted first thing it's almost preempting that you will fail from time to time and well we shouldn't even use the word fail really but sometimes it's just not always possible to stick to the plan and having.
Thought about that and prepared for that life is busy everyone's got a lot going on and nothing ever happens according to plan all of the time so it's having these coping mechanisms in place and that's where CBT is really good at helping you to explore your options and explore your thoughts and how you feel about the food you're eating and how.
You're living your life so a small number of smaller changes that are achievable and also having a bit of a backup plan for when it doesn't work exactly sounds good great thank you na