Do you ritually tuck into potato crisps or another fatty snack while watching the TV?
Breaking bad eating habits
The pocket Oxford dictionary has a number of definitions for the word habit, but I settled on this one as I felt it fitted well with this week’s article: “A practice that is hard to give up”.
We develop habits for a reason. They assist us in our daily lives. They are things we do routinely, like getting up at a certain time every morning, brushing our teeth, combing our hair. They simplify our lives, as we don’t need to put as much effort and/or concentration into these tasks, and in return this makes our daily lives more manageable.
Good and bad habits
Habits are not all bad, but when it comes to losing weight, or indeed maintaining your weight, it is usually the bad ones that are holding you back. Just as the good habits give structure to our lives, the bad habits can be negative and destructive.
If you like to eat when you are bored, this will soon develop into a behavioural habit. You are teaching your mind to eat whenever it is bored. So ask yourself, when do you eat when you are not hungry? When your stressed? When you need comfort? When your watching a movie? Do you automatically reach for a beer when you come home from work? Do you always have a biscuit with your cuppa? By becoming aware of the habits that we are creating on a daily basis, we can start to overcome them, or prevent them from taking hold in the first place.
How to break a habit
Experts claim that it takes 20 to 30 days to break a habit. The challenge is to keep away from the negative habit for the 30 days. If at any time you fail to do this, then you need to start back at day one. While we are living busy lives, however, it is easy to forget and slip back unwittingly – or to knowingly cave in.
One thing I have found very useful when eliminating a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit. To start, make two lists – one of your bad habits and one of your good, and then work on eliminating a bad habit by replacing it with a good habit. An example of this would be when I replaced the six of the cups of coffee I was drinking during the day with six glasses of water.
Another idea when you are trying to eliminate a bad habit is to have reminders to help keep you focused during the day. For example place a rubber band around your wrist and use it as a reminder. Whenever you see or feel the band it will remind you of what you are trying to achieve.
Good luck and remember, your habits are yours, and you can control them. You can do it.
Veronica Mannion runs EasySlimFitness classes in Westport, Castlebar, Claremorris and Ballina (www.easyslimfitness.com). She can be contacted at 087 2308946 or firstname.lastname@example.org.