I’m full of bad habits. I like to have a snack late at night. I like to drink soda. OK, that may technically be an addiction now. I like to sit on my rear and watch interesting documentaries and knit ALL DAY LONG! The results is a body that is sedentary and more fat than lean.
I want to change those habits.
Traditional dieting’s paradigm is one of restriction: don’t eat fat or sugar or white foods or gluten or whatever. I just never did well with restriction. There is something deep in my psyche that completely freaks out at the idea of restriction. It’s why Weight Watchers couldn’t work for me – even tho when I actually followed the program it produced results. That kind of thing is not sustainable for me.
One of the best practices I read about in Foodist is about replacing bad habits with good habits merely by starting good habits. It sounds pretty simple, and it is. The bonus, I never have to think about restricting myself!
One of my goals is to cut my soda habit. Until fairly recently, I could have easily put back 2L of diet Pepsi every single day. Gross right? It kind of sounds like “smoke a pack of cigarettes a day”, doesn’t it? I’ve been drinking this shit for years, too. It’s not an easy habit to break. So, I didn’t try to break it. Instead, I made two new habits:
- If I drink soda, it MUST be full sugar soda. No diet pop allowed anymore. Bonus points if I can get throwback or Mexican sodas that have actual sugar and not HFCS.
- Drink water every day.
I haven’t had soda in the house for about 3 days. I haven’t had any soda at all for 2 days. I’ve been drinking more water everyday and loving it. In fact, I’m starting to crave cold water. In the morning I have a big jar of tea with one tsp of sugar or honey (I’m currently out of honey, but I prefer it when I have it in the house). I’m not feeling deprived at all and I didn’t have to exercise any willpower to accomplish these early victories.
I have other habits I’m working on, too.
I want to get in the habit of brushing my teeth before bed. I don’t know why I never did this consistently. I’m a religious morning teeth brusher. My kids both brush before bed. Now I do, too.
I want to keep a cleaner home. I hate cleaning, tho I love the effect of a tidy home. I own the FlyLady book, I have the UFYH app and I periodically binge watch shows like Hoarders and Consumed to scare myself into cleaning.
I want to read more. I have stacks and stacks of amazing books to read but I just don’t shut off my computer and read often enough. I’m working on that.
I want to know where I’m at with my weight. I bought the Aria Fitbit scale and finally set it up. Now I get up, go to the bathroom and weigh myself EVERY SINGLE MORNING. So far, the numbers are going down. I know how fast they go down, or how slow, and I can take immediate steps to influence that number. If they go up, I can re-examine what was going on the previous day and make some adjustments. Having those numbers, though, is a very powerful tool.
There are more. Just declaring that I want to build a new habit isn’t quite enough, though. I use a nice little tool called Lift and it’s brilliant! There’s an app for iOS or you can just use it off the webpage and in it you define what habits you want to create and then you track how often you do each thing. There are weekly reports that help you examine how well you do overall and there are little achievement notices when you do stuff regularly.
My habits on Lift are:
- Brush Teeth At Night
- Clean Home
- Cook Dinner
- Drink Water
- Eat Vegetables
- Weigh Yourself
I might add more. Some of them have been very successful. Some are harder to get started or to keep up. I’m working on it, though. Eventually, I will have established a whole bunch of wonderfully healthy habits and they’ll crowd out the unhealthy ones.
What kind of habits would you like to start? What about stop?