Changing the Hardest of Habits
Have you ever thought that there are some eating habits you could NEVER change? Is this belief standing in the way of you losing weight?
Do you always feel the need for something sweet after a meal? You haven't even finished your dinner and all of a sudden you're already thinking about what you're having for dessert?
Or is it that wine in the evening while you're making dinner? It's as if they happen on automatic, like you don't even think about them and they just happen. It’s easy to question how these habits could ever possibly be changed, especially if you feel like you don’t fully control them.
Plus, there is the added problem that THEY MAKE YOU FEEL SO GOOD.
Except that quite often, they are a major barrier to you losing weight.
Those two wines for example, are the equivalent to a small meal in calories. This alone is a problem for those trying to lose weight but in addition, if you have enough of it, it starts to deplete your B vitamins, potentially affecting your liver's ability to do the other jobs that it has to do.....like deal with fat and sugar. Can you see how it all adds up?
These habits also serve to reinforce our thoughts about CHANGE. We believe that we can't change them so we don't bother. But with weight loss, nothing changes long term if these things aren't addressed.
So can we change these habits? Yes, I believe so.
But it takes awareness + time. Sometimes this means enlisting the support of a professional trained in psychology or counselling who can help you identify the 'whys' and the 'whats'. Sometimes it just needs practice, the right support and the BELIEF that you can change.
Charles Duhigg wrote a book in 2012 called 'The Power of Habit' - I highly recommend it for anyone interested in this stuff. This book profoundly changed my approach to how I support clients to change their eating habits. Building on my previous study in social sciences, I set on a path to understand how best to support my clients by helping them to permanently change their habits around food.
He found that most habits are 'hard wired' and can't necessarily be eradicated. But what we CAN do is change the automated response that we have to those habits. For example - you probably can't change that you want to relax with a wine while you're making dinner BUT you can change HOW you relax and what tools you use to do it.
Identify the habit first, the thought pattern, and the thing you do when you get that thought.
Duhigg found that once you are really aware of what you are seeking through the doing of that habit, it is then that you can introduce something else to take its place. Take the wine scenario - once you know that you are seeking RELAXATION, in those times when you want that wine to help you relax, you can start to practice another habit that still provides the same thing but is not wine. Maybe that is listening to a podcast while you are making dinner. Or having a fizzy mineral water with a squeeze of lime and berries in it. Or a quick stretch before dinner time. Whatever suits you. And then it is a matter of practicing. Practice practice practice.
You can start this process by booking in for an initial consult with me or for a more in depth approach have a look at my new weight loss program. I look at what you are eating + why. And then how this all ties together to stop you from meeting your goals. Together we work through at your pace to discover a personalised way of eating + set of habits that help you reach your goals and change for good the hardest of habits.