“Picky Eater” was my title. It was what I hid behind. It made it easy for me to say, “No thanks, I don’t eat that. I’m probably the pickiest eater you’ll ever meet.” It gave me a way to justify my eating habits, even if I couldn’t explain it. It was a title I hated and loved at the same time. It seemed impossible to shake, but I knew I wanted to overcome it. When I was ready, I started calling myself a “Recovering Picky Eater.” That was the start of my process.
Any transformation is a process. It’s not impossible unless you say it is. How important is this transformation for you? 1-10? For me, it was off the charts. It was always my biggest priority, the thing I wished for on birthday candles. After making the transformation I wanted to make, I broke it down step-by-step to help others. For me, my transition was going from eating solely off the kid’s menu to eating almost anything off the real menu. After making this transformation, I am happier than ever. Your happiness is the most important thing in your life. Do what you need to do to give yourself that.
1. Daydream about what you want by imagining what it will look and feel like once you get there. I did a lot of thinking and visualizing what my life would be like once I made the changes I was set out to make. I imagined the foods I would eat and how I would be feeling when I was eating it. I imagined how social situations would change for me – all for the better. I daydreamed of the things that would be enhanced in my life once I made changes in what I ate.
2. Give yourself time and room to make a change. I knew that I wasn’t ready to eat a salad that day, but also knew that sometime in the future, I would be ready. I was able to remove the anxiety and pressure of changing before I was really ready to try new foods. I used this time to reflect and build a relationship with myself. I set a timeframe so that I had x amount of days/weeks/months until I’d start actually making changes. It was so important to give myself that time to grow and accept that a change was coming.
3. Develop self-trust. By writing and reflecting, I strengthened my relationship with myself to the point that I didn’t want to let myself down. I would set goals (not food related at first) and do everything I could to stick to them. Whether it was a workout, getting to bed by a certain time, saving money, or something else, I used this time to build a sense of trust in myself. It made it much easier for me to know that I was going to accomplish goals that I set for myself.
4. Don’t think about it too much. I trusted that everything would work out just as it needed to for me. I kept it all in the positive. I considered myself a “Recovering Picky Eater” because that’s what I wanted to be. I stayed present and did not let the anxiety creep in.
5. Take the first step by yourself. I did not tell anyone that I was about to try a whole bunch of new foods, because then there was going to be a whole bunch of pressure on me. I did it all for myself and by myself. I knew that because I now had built up a strong sense of self-confidence (confidence that I was able to make changes) I could do it. When I went to try the first food, it was just me and the food, and it no longer seemed half as scary. I had a strong foundation of self-love and knew that this was something I really wanted.
6. Continue to push your comfort zone. After the first few new foods, it became easier than I could have ever imagined. I saw that I wasn’t getting sick from the foods, and that I actually really enjoyed most of them. I continued to push my comfort zone to keep pushing past my fears. Any time there was a pang of fear, the sense of overcoming it afterward was so rewarding. I started to love that feeling and pretty quickly, the fear was disappearing. It all came with repetition.
7. Reflect on your positive changes. I continued to write and reflect to keep my relationship with myself strong. I was proud of myself, and that was an amazing feeling. I shared it with others, but since I did it for myself, I mostly shared it with myself. I found a sense of achievement and reflected on how far I had come. I felt like if I could overcome my picky eating habits, I could overcome anything.
I believe that these steps can be used for any transformation. I know they worked for me. All changes are similar. They’re scary and overwhelming. We often try to avoid change, but once we are determined to set goals to overcome something, we have the ability in us. Change is possible if you want it badly enough. If you think you could benefit from my help, here I am!