1.1 EXPLORING MOTIVATION – questions for you to answer


We will begin with a look at the changes you want to make, so it will be good for you to give some thought to this before we start.

I suggest you make a list of examples of where and when you could aim to eat less. You could ask yourself: if this course is successful, in what ways would my eating be different?

Make a list as in the examples below by considering the quality, quantity and/or frequency of the food you eat, aiming to be as specific as possible.

There’s no need to make these lists complete or final – you can add to them from time to time and you might even change your mind about some of them. It will be helpful, though, to begin to identify as much as possible what you want to achieve and why.

And, please don’t expect to be making these changes right away. We’ll be going through quite a bit more material before we’ve covered how to do this.

Pick three examples and post them in the Comments box right at the bottom of this page. It might be helpful for you to watch the videos in this Section first, and return to this page afterwards with three things you might change.

PLEASE BE PATIENT with the Comments as they won’t be visible right away. 

This is an example of what might go in the Comments box below: “WHAT” is something about your eating you want to change. And “WHY” is how this could be a benefit to you.

WHAT: to eat smaller meals  WHY: I’ll lose weight, have more energy later on in the day
WHAT: not to eat after my evening meal  WHY: I’ll feel more in control, maybe sleep better
WHAT: not to eat so many sugary snacks at work  WHY: I’ll have more energy later on, feel better about myself.

41 thoughts on “1.1 EXPLORING MOTIVATION – questions for you to answer”

  1. 1) I want to eat less biscuits and chocolates that are lying around at work, especially in the afternoons 4-6pm These foods are commercially produced junk, don’t even taste that nice and give me no valuable nutrition, just calories that I don’t need. I will feel better about myself for having resisted.

    2) I want to stop snacking mindlessly at home in the afternoons on my days off. eg chocolate that’s in the store cupboard for baking or nuts or anything that’s spare in the fridge. I am not hungry and don’t need these foods and again they give me calories I don’t need.

    3) I want to stop binging on anything when I return from work, before dinner so that I will feel less uncomfortably full and enjoy my dinner more

    Ultimately I want to feel comfortable in my clothes again. I lost 20kg in Jan 2016 and have maintained a size 8 clothes since (by calorie counting) I feel great, healthy and full of energy and able to get any clothes I want. In the past 6 months I have started snacking again and my clothes are too tight. I want to nip it in the bud because I don’t want to have to buy new clothes ( again!)

  2. WHAT: Not to eat sweet desserts at evening meals WHY: Reduce my blood sugar, which is approaching diabetic level
    WHAT: Not eat sugary snacks or cakes between meals WHY: Reduce my blood sugar and boost self-esteem by feeling in control
    WHAT: Eat less (specifically carbs including carb-rich vegetables like peas & sweetcorn) at mealtimes WHY: Lose weight, benefit all-round health including knees (bit arthritic) and self-esteem

  3. 1. I would like to snack less so that I can enjoy my meals, feel less full which I hope would help with my IBS symptoms, and be able to go running more often
    2. I would like not to eat sugary snacks, particularly in work, just because others are. This ends up making me feel ill, lethargic, I often get a headache and a stomach ache and feel bad about myself. I’m also less likely to then exercise, which I like doing.
    3. I would like to eat less when drinking wine. I often overeat when drinking which results in feeling of guilt, poor self esteem and poor sleep

  4. 1. I want to eat meat based diet as this shown to have major health benefits as well as cause weightloss for me. Tried and tested non-weight health benefits: improved digestion, reduced joint pain and easier movement, better vision caused by even blood insulin.
    2. I want to minimize eating sugar and grains as they have negative effect on my health and my weight. Quickest results are improved digestion and reduced swelling.
    3. I want to eat smaller portions and eat mostly 2 meals a day. The benefits are improved energy levels and many health benefits.

  5. WHAT: To eat smaller meals. WHY: So that I can eat like a “normal” person who doesn’t have food issues.
    WHAT: To finish eating at 7pm and not snack through the evening. WHY: To accelerate the benefits of intermittent fasting which is good for my health and my weight.
    WHAT: To not drink so much wine. WHY: I always lose control after drinking. It makes me feel awful the next day. Its bad for my health.

  6. I want to stop eating when I’m comfortably full and to not eat to the point of feeling over stuffed. I don’t like that feeling!
    I want to eat within a 6 hour window to give my body more to reverse insulin resistance.
    I want to avoid the foods that I react to that cause joint pain and headaches, to feel better.

  7. What: I want to be in control of my eating in the afternoon when I need a break from work. Why? I want to regain integrity with my food choices

    What: I want to stop sneaking food so my family won’t see what I’m eating. Why? I want to be open, honest and accepting of my food choices.

    What: I want to reduce eating sugar and processed foods. Why? To stay off diabetes meds, not have to take Tums and have more stable energy.

  8. WHAT: I want to eat a lot less processed food (crisps, desserts, etc) WHY: I will feel less shame around my diet and I won’t have to lie about what I eat
    WHAT: I want to stop replacing my meals with processed food/unhealthy takeaways WHY: I’ll eat more nutritious food and actual meals, which means I would be healthier
    WHAT: I want to be able to resist buying so much processed food WHY: I’ll be hungrier at meal times and eat better quality food and I’ll feel better about myself.

  9. I would like
    1) To have a healthier snack at 11 am
    2) To not eat dessert simply to ‘keep my husband company’
    3) To not reward myself with e.g. hot chocolate and a cheese toastie, when immediate stress is removed.

    1. Replying to myself because I forgot the ‘Why’
      1) Healthier morning snack so that I can enjoy lunch more
      2) No stodgy desserts because they give me indigestion
      3) No ‘reward’ type eating because of the shame that follows.

  10. WHAT? To stop picking whilst preparing a meal… even if its raw carrots….and in my head that’s ‘allowed’ …however , I am stuffing it all in and gulping it down.
    WHY ? Because i want to be calm around food and to savour my meal

    WHAT? To eat the portion of food that i have served to my plate and not eat seconds.
    WHY? I sometimes feel that i am treating myself like a dustbin. That’s where the leftovers should go.

    WHAT? To eat less sugar… in fact sugar seems to ‘set me off’ on a quest for more sugar… I’m best avoiding it
    WHY? I get a food hangover the next day .

  11. # 1 #
    WHAT? Stop thinking so much about food. What do I have or what should I eat, what should I eat for a week, 10 days or a month to heal my intestine and my health in general.
    WHY? Because it stresses me, it makes me anxious, it leads me to eat more and to make worse decisions when it comes to eating. And it’s a waste of time and energy. I want to be able to focus on one meal at a time, making decisions every moment, in the present moment.
    # 2 #
    WHAT? Stop wanting to do everything perfect and stop feeling that if I don’t do a perfect diet with perfect decisions all the time, it sucks and I´m doing nothing.
    WHY? Because is no true, and it generates me frustration and chronic dissatisfaction. I want to be able to feel satisfied with what I eat or stop eating and with the decisions that I make, and stop whipping myself thinking that: “Yes, it’s okay, but I could do it better.” Nothing is ever enough with this kind of mindset.

  12. 1. WHAT: Stop clinging to certain foods (sometimes even healthy ones!), as I always seem to be obsessed with something. Right now I’m going through a cheese addiction phase, haha. WHY: Because, although I make fun of it, sometimes it really feels like an addiction and I want to experience more freedom around food

    2. WHAT: Be able to eat food I’m not particularly fond of, but I know my body needs. WHY: Because I want to be healthier.

    3. WHAT: Eat smaller portions. WHY: Because I almost always end up feeling too full after eating and it interferes with my work.

  13. WHAT: I will eat according my choices and standards, instead of loosing control and being scared to participate in life where food is involved (each meal, holidays, special occasions, cooking home on more than 1 portion, eating out, etc)
    WHY: It will be beneficial both for my physical and mental health + plus I will respect myself more and my life overall will become better as I will allow myself to participate in all these food related activities + plus most probably I will lose weight

    WHAT: I could stop to eat when I eat small portion and if needed eat again soon if I am physically hunger, instead of eating until I physically sick to eat more
    WHY: Because I don’t want to lose my life time in binges and dieting after ones to live normally “after”. I want to live normally instead right now

    WHAT: I will feel okay around any tasty, rare, forbidden, etc food, without starting to overeat one in the moment or later
    WHY: Because it is impossible to avoid one in modern world and I don’t want to have triggers for losing control everywhere

  14. What:
    Not to snack on bread/crackers and butter every time I return home between clients (I work for myself) irrespective if it’s a meal time or not.
    It means I’m ‘grazing’ throughout the day and impacts upon my planned meals. I either don’t have my planned dinner (just more snack type food) or eat it anyway (even though I’m already full) as I’ve cooked for the family. So I’m either missing out on good nutritious home cooked food or eating it and feeling overly stuffed and remorseful.

    Reduce the amount of tea and coffee I drink and replace it with water.
    To reduce cravings for food when I’m really just thirsty. Plus ‘having a cuppa’ can bring on a craving to have a snack with it.

    Not to eat chocolate and crisps or other snack food late in the evening/night.
    It can make feel less like getting up to do my regular morning exercise classes as I’m feeling lethargic and guilty and cross with the world.

  15. WHAT: not to eat things ‘to get them out of the way’ so that I can then start to eat more healthily ‘later’ (who am I kidding?).
    WHY: this is not normal behaviour and I am tired of it. I would like more control of food instead of it seemingly controlling me.

    WHAT: not to eat so many sugar and carbohydrate rich foods.
    WHY: my health will improve, and with it my life expectancy.

    WHAT: to eat smaller meals.
    WHY: I’ll lose weight and hopefully increase my energy and motivation to do other things.

  16. WHAT: I want to eat a very low carb/keto/carnivore diet permanently
    WHY: I feel so much better physically when I eat this way and I want to fell these benefits all of the time – no heart burn, no brain fog, better energy levels, no joint pain, reduced back pain, much improved asthma symptoms, much improved sleep

    WHAT: I want to stop snacking between meals on nuts, dark chocolate and want to be able to eat these in moderation, on occasion
    WHY: I want to stop feeling out of control with food, I want to stop feeling awful about myself for eating food I don’t need, and I really want to stop obsessing and thinking about food.

    WHAT: I want to only have coke zero once or twice a week rather than a few days a week
    WHY: I want to reduce my cravings for sweet foods, I want to be able to enjoy this on occassion without obsessing about it and ‘needing’ it as a fix. I dont want to feel controlled by food/sweet things. I want to feel like I have a choice over whether I have it or not

  17. Added on….
    WHAT: I don’t want to binge eat ever again
    WHY: So I don’t feel so uncomfortable and end up vomiting from being so full. I don’t want to feel out of control anymore. I want to feel hope that I can get to a healthy weight. I want to feel good about myself and feel in control and that I have a choice rather than being controlled by urges

  18. What – eat less food
    Why – to not over burden my digestive system
    What – eat less sugar and flour
    Why – to allow my liver to heal
    What – end binging
    Why – to feel my feelings so they can move on and I have energy to do the things I love to do

  19. What # 1 (trying to make these small and doable): Drink less Chai Tea, probably my #1 addiction right now.

    Why: it’s Full of sugar and caffeine; sometimes gives me a stomach ache; contributes to joint aches/pain/inflammation and has little nutritional value (ok other than the almond milk it’s made with but I can drink almond milk w/o the huge load of sugar it contains).

    What #2: Want to eat less sugar and low quality carbs overall.

    Why: to increase my energy, health & vitality which will drastically increase my quality of life no doubt.

    What #3: Want to eat smaller portions.

    Why: So in addition to just flat out being and feeling healthier, I can play more pickleball, bike more & stop having all these injuries because I’m overweight and not eating to support my health.

    1. Replying to myself b/c I got out of order and hadn’t watched the video on motivation. Now I get it. So allow me to rephrase:

      What#1: Reduce sugar and low quality carbs intake. Why: so I can stop being obsessed with these and reduce my chance of diabetes as well.
      What#2: Eat smaller portions/meals. Why: I’ll have more energy, feel better, be healthier.
      What#3: Stop eating the foods that contribute to inflammation (for me) or at least eat them rarely instead so often. Why: So I can cure or at least reduce the unhealthy symptoms/diseases/effects of these detrimental foods. THEN I’ll feel better, have more energy, live longer with a higher quality of life!

  20. 1 – I want to stop eating when I am not hungry, but eating because I am stressed, frustrated or bored. Why? I will not be eating to stuff an emotion and will eat better food.

    2 – I want to stop eating unhealthy foods. Why? Gluten and ice cream and most carbs wreak havoc on my body. Bloated, achy and my skin breaks out.

    3 – I want to eat foods that are beneficial to me. Why? I only have one body and I need to care for it.

  21. 1. Stop or drastically cut down on snacking / grazing. Why? It feels like I’m right out of control and enslaved, which is what I am in actuality.

    2. Cut back on portion sizes/meal sizes. Why? It’s unnecessary to eat such large meals & is clearly just my addiction, and doesn’t give me a chance to recognise any natural hunger that may otherwise come.

    3. Drastically cut back on the rubbish foods eg sweets, ice cream, I often eat (on top of my otherwise healthy tho too-large choices). Why? Because so bad for all my health, including embarrassing ‘tummy’ problems.

  22. 1. What: to eat smaller, balanced portions that generally follow a LCHF theory.
    Why: to feel in control of my food choices, have more energy and not feel like I am constantly on a “diet” and obsessing about the food I eat and the effect that food will have on my weight loss or gain.

    2. What: to more consistently manage my Addictive Desire for “More” food after dinner, and/or to have dark chocolate/nuts as my nightly “dessert” just because the kids are having their dessert.
    Why: to end my day feeling proud and to have personal integrity about my choices. Eating more than my body needs sets me up for that cycle of shame, self-hatred and deprivation thinking which is a really painful way to live.

    3. What: to let go of my diet mentality around food, such as thinking along the lines of “what can I get away with?”
    Why: Any thinking along these lines zaps my precious mental energy. I’m tired of being consumed by these thoughts and want a richer, fuller life beyond thinking about food, how to control my food, what to eat, what not to eat, how to lose weight, hating my body, etc.

  23. This is all of them that came to mind, but I’d like to work on 1, 3 and 4 initially as I feel that these will be easiest to implement and are ones which would give me immediate positive feedback.

    1. WHAT: to eat at planned times. WHY? to feel in control of my food consumption, to not get so hungry that I later eat whatever is to hand
    2. WHAT: not eat high sugar or high-carb foods late at night. WHY: because I had waking up with ‘sugar sweats’
    3. WHAT: not eat after 9pm. WHY: to sleep better, I actually enjoy going to bed feeling slightly hungry
    4. WHAT: limit caffeine to 2 cups before 2pm. WHY: to attempt to sleep better, I may need to adjust times/amounts if this doesn’t work
    5. WHAT: to eat suggested portion sizes. WHY: because the amounts are recommended for a reason, because I can’t trust my judgement of what a portion looks like, and because it will stop me feeling so uncomfortably full
    6. WHAT: not to eat anything high in sugar unless it is a dessert that forms part of a main meal. WHY: to prevent a blood sugar crash later on, so I don’t get sugar sweats
    7. WHAT: to eat at a table. WHY? because I get reflux if I eat standing up, it will improve my digestion and reduce bloating if I’m sitting down, and if I’m sitting at a table, I’m more aware of my food.

  24. 1) WHAT- I want to stop thinking about food. It’s the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing I think of at night. Saying that, I don’t think lockdown has helped because shopping for food and cooking are the only things I have to focus on each day! Each day I wake up and make 4 decisions, What am I having for breakfast? What am I having for lunch? What am I having for tea? and Where am I going for my walk.
    1) WHY – Because it’s stressful and thinking about food so much just makes me feel hungry. It’s obsessional and not normal. It’s like a straitjacket and it needs to go.

    2) WHAT -I want to reduce the amount of food I eat at buffet style settings ie parties, picnics, eat as much as you want Chinese restaurants etc
    2) WHY – At the moment I can control my eating most of the time but when I see a table full of savoury food I want it all. I eat fast which doesn’t help because as soon as my plate is empty I want to fill it up. Maybe the reason for this is because I usually deprive myself of this type of food and when I’m in a situation where it’s there infront of me I go berserk. Also because I see it as rubbish food and perseive it as ‘Im ruining my diet’, I think sod it I’m just going to eat and eat and eat. I also feel shitty about myself in these situation because I think I look like a pig forever at the trough and people in the room are judging me for acting differently to them.

    3) What – I want to be able to eat healthily each day but I also want to have one treat per day such as one small bar of chocolate or one small bag of crisps. I want to do this without feeling naughty, guilty, out of control etc. I am a member of Slimming World at the moment and although I don’t hold with all their advice I have lost 2½ stone. I want to lose more weight but know that this will only happen if I am in a caloric deficit, therefore eating a small bar of chocolate or a small bag of crisps will negatively affect this and slow down my weight loss. Arrgh!


  25. I want to eat less during the day because my body doesn’t need all the food intake that I’m giving it.
    I want to eat less sugar and flower because I would have non stomach ache anymore.
    I want to eat less flower because I would be less bloated.
    I want to eat less at meals that would reduce my stomach ache after meals.
    I want to eat less to reduce my acidity reflux.

  26. I want to do less snacking during the afternoon of food that I don’t need to eat, so that I can have less regret at the end of every day.
    I want to eat less when my family come to my home to eat, as due to being busy organising and preparing food I tend to forget my intentions. I want to do this to feel more in control and to feel better about myself and how I’m living.
    I want to eat less (snacking) to maintain my health going into my 60’s.

  27. 1. What- to eat every 3-4 hours balanced meals or snacks. Why- to determine if this will give me steady energy.

    2. What- to eat half or 1/3 less at meal times. Why- to determine how much food I actually need to function.

    3. What- to no longer obsess over food and weight. Why- to feel free and in control around food.

  28. 1 What? I want to eat less food overall.
    Why? Because doing so is an act of kindness to my body. It will improve my digestion, my insulin resistance that I suspect is building up, my hormone balance. It will probably result in my losing weight which will bring a range of health and wellbeing benefits too.

    2 What? I want to not eat while I am cooking dinner.
    Why? Because I want to sit down and enjoy the meal I am making once it is ready and not to feel uncomfortable and full before it even begins! I ruin my appetite when I do this.

    3 What? I want to avoid overeating at our family evening meals.
    Why? To feel more comfortable after meals, sleep better, be more engaged with family at the table rather than fixated on the food itself, and to set a good example to my young children for what normal eating looks like.

  29. WHAT: Stop eating late at night. WHY: I will sleep better at night. 
    WHAT: Stop eating as many refined carbohydrates. WHY: This will make my acid reflux better.
    WHAT: Eat better quality meals. WHY: I’ll have more energy and probably lose weight too. 

  30. What: eat less at most of the meals, especially in the evening
    Why: I often eat more than I need, feel too full afterwords

  31. What: Not to mindlessly comfort eat when I’m over tired but still have to work..
    Why: I will feel better and more in control.
    What: Not to snack in between meals.
    Why: I enjoy my meals more if I don’t and feel more in control.
    What: Not to snack after my evening meal.
    Why: I have greater self esteem, more of a feeling that I’m in control.

  32. 1) What? I want to stop thinking about food so much. It’s always on my mind. What to eat or not to eat.
    Why? Because it causes moods swings constantly and increases my anxiety. This makes me binge on sugary foods to deal with the feelings.
    2) What? I want to reduce sugary and processed food.
    Why? Because I believe it is causing inflammation in my body which is making me I’ll.
    3) What? I want to reduce the number of times I overeat after my evening meal – late night snacks.
    Why? Because I always regret it and it leads to indigestion and consequently a bad night’s sleep.

  33. What: to stop eating when I’m bored or between meals.
    Why: because I end up eating too much of something that isn’t all that healthy and then I’ll go on eating even more. And I want to feel more in control of myself.
    WHAT: to stop going back for more during meals
    WHY: again, I’d feel more in control of my self and I wouldn’t go to bed feeling over-full and I could sleep better.
    WHAT: to stop eating everything under the sun when I’m at a buffet
    WHY: because I end up eating too much and feeling bloated and disappointed in myself.

  34. 1. What: I want to change my shopping habits and stop buying large bags of food, large packets, BOGOF deals.
    Why?: once I open a packet I feel compelled, driven to finish the lot- to “get rid of the evidence”. This is now deeply ironic because my wife died in Nov 2019 and I have lived on my own since then. I don’t need to hide evidence. But it’s still a very strong compulsion which I am ashamed of.
    2. What: I want to stop snacking mindlessly when I’m watching TV, on the computer, feel stressed, driving-any time really.
    Why?: I feel more effects of my heaviness. I want to move better, walk further, feel more energetic. Not feel so self conscious about my body which I feel quite separate from a lot of the time.
    3. What?: I resent the space this way of thinking and acting takes up in my mind.
    Why?: I have to rebuild my life in my changed circumstances.. I’m now in a place where I would like to feel more in control of my impulsive thought processes so that I can become more healthy as I want to garden, do my ceramics, travel, walk.

  35. WHAT: Stop eating crackers or whatever from the pantry after dinner. WHY: No acid reflux all night and sleep better.
    WHAT: Cook and plate the kids’ food without having any. WHY: Because then my food intake becomes more intentional. It will eliminate mindless eating.
    WHAT: Go out to Disney or wherever and not feel triggered by other people eating and drinking indulgent foods/know solidly I have a choice to buy and eat everything they are. WHY: So I can feel free and not care about what others are doing.

  36. 1. WHAT: Not to snack compulsively or mindlessly between meals (including after dinner) WHY: This is making me fatter, feel more unhealthy and more sleepy – stopping will mean i will be slimmer, sharper mentally, and healthier
    2. WHAT: To stop eating mindlessly WHY: Eating mindlessly leads to overeating and not even enjoying the majority of what I do eat

  37. What: reduce my eating after 6pm Why: allow more recovery when I am sleeping (quicker HR drop, more deep sleep).
    What: have only one protein bar per day and allow time between that and meals Why: Feel more peaceful about my choices and feel the feelings that come up that result in my wanting to go back for more
    What: Have more clear liquids and water during the day, fewer caffeine drinks Why: More peaceful, more centered
    What: Have only half of tikka masala rather then entire container Why: Feel better, less full, less intensity

  38. What: To not snack on food just because I see it. Why: to have more of a sense of control
    What: To not eat main evening meal to the point of discomfort. Why: I will feel better about myself, and feel less discomfort
    What: To limit snacking in the evenings. Why: I won’t feel uncomfortable at night and the next morning

  39. WHAT: To eat smaller meals. WHY: I’ll lose weight around my chin and cheeks, around legs and butt, and waist.
    WHAT: not to eat after my evening meal . WHY: I wont feel bloated in the morning, and I won’t feel shame or disappointment.

    WHAT: To eat much fewer sugary/savoury snacky food. WHY: I’ll have better skin, and feel good about myself.

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