Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Food Tude II: The Associative Phase

So you've come through the cognitive phase of building and learning positive food tude, but it's not quite at the point where you just do it out of habit. What is this limbo zone?

Welcome to the associative phase! During this phase you are probably finding that while you don't have to think out every tiny little bit of every action, you still find yourself having to put a little thought into it. It is called the associative phase, because instead of actively thinking about each action (like weighing out ingredients, and constant calorie counting) you are thinking more of how the actions apply to the greater picture, thus associating the components of the skill - being portion size, healthy eating, and total calories - with the overall goal, in this case, weight loss.

This is the phase where I currently find myself. For me, this phase means I don't need to look up recipes anymore because I know the ingredients and the process, and also that I don't need to necessarily plan my meals out. I still need to count my calories but I can do it on the go a bit better, and I can choose what to have based on where my calories are at for the day - and I'm comfortable doing it. I think about my choices more in the context of how this will effect my weeks results, more than how many calories this meal will leave me for the rest of the day.
But do I trust myself in a food court yet? Not entirely. Do I still need to remind myself to stick to the right portion size, and to ask myself whether or not I am hungry in my gut, or hungry in my head? Of course.

The associative phase is when you are at your most vulnerable. It can be easy to get your teenager hat on, assume you know everything, and make mistakes. It is make it and graduate to the next level, or break it and go back to square one, and if you do break, you have nobody to blame but yourself. The cognitive phase taught you to say no to temptations, count your calories, think about everything you are putting in your mouth and to get comfortable with the idea of dieting, so do you know what that means? You should know better by now! Any mistakes you make are on you. If you've made it to that phase, you can say no, and you can make the right choices, so you need to keep going.

This is the longest phase, the phase where you are most vulnerable to relapse, the phase where you have to prove to yourself you can do this, and to be serious with yourself that you want this.

But keep going! It will be so worth it, because when you get to stage 3, you are homeward bound!

To be continued!



  1. I use an app to keep tab on my calories. And I'm still weighing out food. Not quite used to what a smaller portion size looks like yet.

  2. My Fitness Pal is a great app for tracking your calories if you don't already have it and yeah I still weigh out things for new recipes! Sometimes I look at a serving and I'm like...that's seriously it? Are you kidding me? But then I eat it and am pleasantly surprised at how full I am afterwards! And some of the 12WBT portions are actually really big and I'm like...surely that's too much...Serving size seems to be very dependant on the kind of meal it is for me, but I wish there was some kind of machine or something, like a magical container you just fill with food and BAM right serving size! I'll keep dreaming lol You'll get there, just keep plodding along and persist!