A habit is something we do repeatedly that gets delegated to our primitive brain so we don’t have to think about it. The problem is we label habits as good or bad and then make it mean something about us.
One habit I used to have is eating at night when watching TV. I would eat popcorn and mindlessly keep putting more and more in my mouth until the entire bowl was gone. Then I would wonder how it went so fast. I would not even be aware how much I was eating. Same thing if we go into the pantry and polish off whatever is left of chips, cookies, etc.
So how do we change this habit?
1. Create awareness of what you are doing. Be curious about why? It may be as simple as it’s something I do when I watch TV. Or you could be mindlessly eating in the pantry after a stressful day to avoid feeling negative emotion.
2. Forbid negative self talk. You can’t change what you aren’t aware of. Our brains want everything to stay the same.
3. Think of other things you could do like drinking water or herbal tea instead.
4. Be willing to allow boredom or negative emotion without answering the urge to eat. It will not kill you.
5. Brush your teeth after dinner – This is really what worked for me because I am reluctant to eat or drink anything but water after that. More than anything, it was a reminder to me to be mindful and to be OK with just watching TV without having popcorn.
6. Just like habits take time and repetition to become a habit; it takes time and repetition to reverse a habit.
Imagine if you could change this 1 habit, what else you could do? You could change another habit, like eliminate snacking or drinking more water or reducing sugar. Before you know it you could be losing weight and becoming a healthier person without it being hard.
Stop the mind chatter that losing weight is too hard and you haven’t been able to do it consistently. Maybe we have been going about it the wrong way. Maybe if we build on changing our habits 1 habit at a time, we can slowly and consistently lose weight and keep it off.
What habit are you willing to change?