WHY FORMING NEW HEALTHY HABITS IS SO HARD
Okkkkkk! I woke up this morning just feeling on fiyahhh. Don't ask me why we started spelling fire that way..., that's just the way it's getting spelt in my DM's these days.
And a couple weeks ago at a little singer songwriter event here in LA I kept hearing people say "your outfit is fire," "that song is fire," "this cocktail is fire." sooo now you know. lit is know fire. or fiyahhh if we're getting specific.
Clearly someone had too much coffee this morning.
My Bad Habits
Do you know how many times I tried to start a new workout regime, quit sugar FOR GOOD, or started a new diet only to go back to my old ways a week later? Hell even a day later.
I yo-yo dieted for years as you all know. Atkins, Weight Watchers, Master Cleanse (god I hated that), South Beach, The Zone, Grapefruit.
All the while having a full blown eating disorder in the background. The amount of times I tried to break my bad habits, stop binging, stop purging, stop going to taco bell, stop sitting on my ass all the time..., it would fill the same amount of pages as a Webster’s dictionary extended edition, if that is even a thing.
I always thought this next diet would be the last one and I'd live happily ever after.
Except that it didn't really go that way.
Lets Talk About Habit Forming.
If you have been trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle and change your habits for a long time but seem to keep falling back into old patterns and ways of being/doing/acting/eating ect.
THEN THIS POST IS FOR YOU!
Like really if you are gearing yourself up for a diet that starts on Monday or a New Years Resolution of no more excuses then let this be your official get out of jail free card so you do not have to continue to be in food prison.
Forming new habits and adopting a new lifestyle can be hard but I am going to explain to you why. And once you understand why you can stop beating yourself up, feeling guilty and throwing in the towel.
And by shedding new light on the situation and how our brains work you can understand why diets don't work and why slow and steady really does win the race.
In turn you will learn how to form new habits that help you achieve your goal of losing weight, ditching diets, stop binging, overeating or whatever you are dealing with. We want living a healthy lifestyle to be effortless and second nature right?
The Conscience Mind
What is a habit?
Its "a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up."
Over time as we repeatedly do something over and over again neural pathways are formed in the brain, which is why we often subconsciously exhibit a behavior without actually realizing we are doing it. The path is already set.
Have you ever come home from work opened up the fridge door, started eating whatever was in there without even consciously thinking to yourself "I am going to walk to the fridge, open it and start eating." What happens is we don't even realize we are eating until the food is halfway gone.
Or biting our nails, tapping our feet, or reaching for food when nervous/stressed/anxious?
The repetition of this task day in and day out makes it automatic and we do not need self-analysis or our conscious mind to engage in the act because the path in the brain for this behavior is formed.
No obstruction, just a green light and wide open road. At this point it happens without us thinking about it which means it takes less energy.
And our mind naturally gravitates towards doing tasks that take less energy.
It makes sense then that the behaviors that already have the red carpet laid out for them are the ones that we exhibit most often. Especially if we are tired or its later in the day. That is why it is so easy for us to keep falling back into old patterns and ways of being. Its easier for our brain to take those actions.
Have you ever noticed that you wake up and do the same thing every morning without even thinking of it? The beauty of a routine is that it doesn't take as much firing in our brain to tell us to do what we repeatedly do. It's a muscle and gets stronger over time.
This means that forming new habits takes more energy, more conscience thought. But the smaller the task the easier it is to make it a habit.
Dream Big, Start Small
If you read this blog then you know how much I preach slow and steady wins the race.
Essssssspecially when it comes to forming new healthy habits; starting small is the way to go. Instead of doing a complete overhaul of your diet/life on Monday, just start chipping away at it, piece by piece.
A huge part of the reason why diets do not work is that they have you change too many things all at once. It's just too much for us to focus on when we already have jobs to do, family to spend time with, kids to play with, boyfriends to love, pets to feed, plants to water. You get me.
Have you all of a sudden been hit with motivation to start a completely new life changing diet only to find that you are not following it at all a week later? Thats because trying to change everything all at once is too much for our brains to handle.
What if losing 30 pounds wasn't about finding superhero strength to fight food cravings or finding the next perfect diet but instead hinged on small actionable steps and tiny little habits that you can slowly incorporate into your life and have control over?
Simple habits like practicing yoga for 20 minutes a day, or starting your morning with a big glass of water or filling your plate up with 50% vegetables.
Forming new habits is hard when we try to do too many all at once. So just start small. Pick one. Master it. Then pick another small one. Master that one. And so one.
LETS TAKE ACTION
Ask yourself, what is one new thing you could do that will help get you closer to the healthy balanced life you want? Ge you closer to that large vision you have for your life?
Whatever makes sense for you, for your life and your goal.
It does not just have to be food or workout oriented.
Maybe you need to practice self love because you have so much negative self talk that drives you to emotionally over eat.
Or you need to journal or meditate for 10 minutes twice a week because you are dealing with stress by eating.
Or maybe you aim to add non-starchy, colorful vegetables into lunch and dinner?
Have you picked one small task to start?
Ok now for the next two weeks, just focus on that one thing. That one new habit you want to have as part of your lifestyle.
This is very similar to what I do with my clients, I help them change their lifestyle by holding them accountable for small actions week by week and by the time we are done working together their life looks completely different. Its basically magic. In reality what I do is take peoples larger vision for their health and their life and break it down into small actions week by week.
One step at a time.
If you are ready to ditch dieting, binging, weighing yourself and over analyzing food forever then contact me for your first complimentary coaching call.