Habits, And How To Handle Them

habitsMost of us don’t think of it this way, but having success with a weight management program really comes down to managing habits.  Specifically, removing bad ones and creating good ones.  Of course, having just read that it probably does make sense, even if you wouldn’t have put in those terms yourself.  It’s why I have a section on habits in my e-book, and it’s why it’s one of the fundamental keys to long term success.    To reinforce this, I recently got back from a vacation where I planned to relax my normal ‘rules’, which of course meant gaining a few pounds.  Now that I want to actually lose that weight, I have to change a few habits that I created while previously in ‘maintenance’ mode.  For example, while in maintenance mode, I don’t have to be as strict with starchy carbs, and I can afford to eat my favorite snack 2 times per week.  Since I now want to lose weight, I have to play with two different levers:  1) Create a calorie deficit, and 2) eat higher quality food.

To move both of those levers, I definitely have to change my twice a week snack habit.  They say that one way successfully change habits is to not omit the bad one completely, but rather, replace it with a good one.  So, this past weekend, rather than not snack at all (and deal with the frustration and deprivation that goes with it), I changed what I would normally eat, both in quality and volume.  Doing so dramatically eased the transition, and provided the added benefit of feeling really good, both mentally and physically.

The next lever was my workouts.  In maintenance mode, I can focus on strength training and do less cardio.  To help burn fat this week, I changed to a circuit weight training, where I could keep my heart rate up during strength training for added calorie burn.  I also increased my cardio time.  My total workouts were now burning over 400, rather than just north of 200 in maintenance mode.  Again, simply making changes to a habit, not making huge omissions or additions you can’t live with.

When you assess the habits that are acting as roadblocks for your ultimate weight management goals, consider this your new rule, it’s easier to replace a bad habit with a good when than to omit the bad habit altogether.

For more of an in-depth read on the topic, check out this article I came across earlier today.

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