This is the last of a series of three blog posts discussing how to choose a start point on the journey to change to additive free foods.  Three main obstacles along the initial path to change involve (1) overcoming the information overload surrounding food additives and sensitivities, (2) selecting a level of change that is right for your family and (3) actually making the first move.

I’ve discovered it is most helpful to place your focus on how you make the change and allow the complex education of food additives come to you and your family naturally as you progress through the change.  The Knowledge Centre on The Food Werewolf website Resources page is a good start point for overcoming the information overload obstacle.  Selecting a level of change is an individual choice you can make with a few simple steps and insight into what is best for your family (see my last blog for tips on choosing a level that’s right for you!).

Which takes us to the last obstacle – actually making the first move.  Where to start once you have some background knowledge and awareness of your current situation?  Most of us find fear of the unknown and new challenges to be the greatest obstacles when making the first move, so naturally, the most effective way to make the first move is to overcome the fear of change and have a solid plan in place using some simple goal setting.  Once a clear plan is in place, the simple practicalities such as cleaning out your pantry and going shopping can start being carried out.

Here is an easy 10 step process (otherwise known as goal setting ☺) to help make change less overwhelming and easier to enact – whether it’s changing your eating habits, or changing your job, the steps are the same.

Step 1: Define the problem

What do you want to change?
Sounds obvious, but it’s important to identify exactly what it is you want to change.  Be detailed (the what and the when), be realistic (and to prepare you for this, overcome that information overload and gather a little bit of knowledge about where you’re kids are at the moment – ie: the last two blogs!)

Eg: I want to change the way my children eat – stop eating foods with colourings and preservatives (the what) and only eat and drink chemical free foods for every meal and snack (the when).

Step 2: Empower yourself

Why do you want to change?
Write down the reasons you want to make the change.  This is a very powerful step, because it’s your ‘go to’ statement when you’re losing motivation.  Identify the need.  Make it big – you’re more likely to change something that has a big effect on you in a negative way.  Write down the alternative if you don’t change. Scare yourself into action!

Eg: I want to stop eating food additives to for my physical and emotional health.  If I don’t change, I can end up sick, tired and unhappy. Remember, if the change is to your children’s eating habits, communication is the key.  Talk with your family re: are you united in purpose, outcomes, and parenting? What do they want out of this? Include them from as early as possible so they’re part of the process.


Step 3: Look within – identify the obstacles

Why is change so hard?
Moving home, entering a new relationship, having a baby, starting a job – these are all well-known high stress situations.  But why?  Anything in life that involves change, includes an element of the unknown.

Usually, we are brought up to savour the familiar and be afraid of the unknown.  A quick look at any war in the world, religions, racism, etc highlights this – they’re based on fear of the unknown or anything different.

Despite trying to teach our children to have a curiosity for learning new things, we still place a lot of emphasis on familiarity, routine, and that ‘safe’ feeling associated with what’s normal and known.  So we create habits.  Good ones and bad.  And when faced with something new – a change to the safe ‘normal’ life, changing a habit (such as eating different foods) – our reaction is often one of fear.

Fear is ok – it serves a purpose.  It’s designed to protect us and is a natural reaction.  However it can also stop us from doing things that are good for us – ‘that’s too hard’, ‘I can’t do this’, ‘I don’t know where to start’, ‘what if I fail’ – Sound familiar? These are all natural reactions based on fear.

So we need to keep fear in check. 
How do we do this?  By looking within and finding out what’s stopping us from making the change.  Ask the hard questions – Why is it really bothering me?  What’s stopping me?  Identify these fears and obstacles.  Write them down.  Become aware.  Use the fear to drive your motivation to change.  Use it for good not evil!

Eg: I eat chocolate almost every night whilst watching TV – how will I ever give that up?
I don’t know how to cook healthy meals…or I’m concerned it will take longer to cook new recipes rather than my old favourites…etc, etc.

Step 4: Prepare ahead

What can you do to overcome the obstacles?
It’s one thing to know what they are, it’s quite a big step to actually work out how you’ll stop the fears from taking over.  For each obstacle you’ve written, come up with ways to overcome them.  Always good to have a ‘plan b’ as well as your first solution.

Eg: I will ask my friend to join me on a walk every night after dinner and exercise instead of eating chocolate OR I’ll have a container of home made chocolate treats or organic chocolate on hand in the pantry for nights when I need a chocolate fix. I will plan my meals for the week and try to choose quick easy meals OR I’ll make sure I’m prepared and allow extra time for reading recipes/cooking new meals.

Step 5: Summon your supportfirst3

What will you need to help you change?
Could be a matter of getting people on board with your plan, a block of chocolate stashed in the pantry, a friend to exercise with or a ‘go to’ book or website.  Surround yourself with loving supportive energy in all forms. Whatever is going to make those obstacles easier to overcome.  Write them down, check them off as you do them.

Eg: I will discuss the plan with my partner to join me for a walk each night after dinner.
I will buy one block of organic chocolate and put it in a special container in the pantry.
I will bookmark my favourite recipe website to find quick easy meals.

Step 6: Set the start time for change

When will you start the change process?
Make sure you allow enough time to cover the first 5 steps, especially the ‘gathering resources and support step’.  Check them off before starting! Make sure it’s a time when you are home and don’t have a hundred pressing engagements (or weddings and holidays) to distract and set you up for failure….And please note here, actually starting the process may mean doing a few more ‘planning/preparation’ type tasks before putting that yummy additive free/organic food in your kids lunchbox….But it’s still starting, so pick that date and stick to it!

Step 7: Plan the steps to change

What are the first three steps I need to take towards change?
Change is most successful when you do it in easy realistic steps over time, with the right preparation.  Think through the natural steps towards the change.  If you were moving house, you wouldn’t connect your phone up before you chose a house in which to live!  Break it down into steps and write them down. Swap them around until you’ve got the right combination that will work for you.

Eg: First I will try to substitute my snacks and breakfast products for chemical free foods.  Then I’ll move onto lunch products.  Finally I’ll move onto chemical free foods for dinner.

This is often a step that my need some help… Feel free to drop me a line if you need here.

Step 8: Visualise the positive outcome you’re planning

How will you know when you’ve achieved the change?
What does it look like?

Again, it’s important to be detailed and positive!  Visualising in your mind and writing it down on paper is a powerful way to help send the energy out there to make the change a reality. Write it down with lots of positive affirmations and lovely words about your amazing achievement and stick it on your fridge where you can see it everyday. “I deserve to eat real foods and feel good” “I have found a way to feed by body with the right energy” etc.

Step 9: Allow for being human!

What will you do if you ‘fall off the wagon’?
How do you get back on?!

Expectations are such a wonderful way to set yourself up for a good self-bashing and guilt trip!  Despite all your good planning and positivity, please remember you are human, and life sometimes gets in the way of a good plan!  Think of positive ways to deal with any hiccups along the path towards change. Be kind to you, include some nice words to yourself as you write down a list of things to do if you come unstuck.  And if it’s your kids who fall off the wagon on their path to additive free eating, the same principal applies…. Help them reflect on why they did, what they can do differently, and then let it go and move on!

NB: I’ll have plenty more tips on this soon – it’s a big one again that needs more strategies and info, so keep an eye on my website knowledge centre for more about this)

Eg: If I happen to eat something with chemicals in it, first tell myself it’s ok to be human and nobody is perfect.  Read the reasons why this change is important to me.  Go for a swim/walk/ride to clear my head.  Make sure I have emptied the fridge or pantry of all things with additives or plan ahead for my next meal out with friends so I can choose something relatively chemical free.  Start anew the next day with extra determination to make it work!

Step 10: Be kind to you!first4

Check out your progress and reward yourself along the way
Change is a fluid process – there will be times you need to reassess your goals and possibly adapt what you are doing to make it work.  Most importantly, be kind to yourself and remind yourself that change is good!  Remember how far you’ve come and send some loving energy your way!  And it’s important to note here that even if you are planning these goals for a change in your kid’s food, it’s not just the kids that need rewarding along the way, but YOU do too!  You are the one putting in the hard yards to make it work and deserve a pat on the back too ☺

Here’s a downloadable version of these steps with space for you to write your answers and make it real.  Change is good and you can make a change for the better now! I’d love to hear what your goals are – send them thorough in comments below or on Facebook!

So, once the fear of change obstacle is demolished, theres nothing stopping you from actually starting and making the change to additive free foods…. You even have a date set now!

What’s the next step?
As one lovely lady recently pointed out to me, there’s a rather large obstacle of getting the family on board so you’re not cooking 6 different meals for everyone…So before you can get out there and buy some great fresh additive free foods, perhaps you need to work on getting everyone on the same page and ready for the change.  And guess what? That’s just what I’m going to talk about next 🙂  (and later, I’m going to blog on cleaning out your pantry and shopping etc too).

Stay tuned and keep an eye on Facebook for my next blog post! In the meantime, happy goal setting and squash those obstacles with glee!

Loren x
The Food Werewolf

PS: Remember to sign up to my newsletter – it includes a rather large and pretty ebook chock full of additive free lunchbox tips and strategies…and it’s free!  So go ahead and sign up,  share and spread the word!