Well, eating the right things when you're used to eating the wrong things is NOT an easy task. For a week I've eaten nothing but fresh fruit and vegetables, and a meal shake or two a day. My weight as of today is 271 and I am very excited that this hard work is already paying off. In fact, the more weight I lose, the easier it gets to resist the bad eating habits that led me down this path.
There are times, however, when it's difficult to remember the benefits when memories of soft buttery noodles or loaded baked potatoes teasingly taunt on my taste buds. What can I do to stay strong in those weak moments? What will help me resist the temptation? And more importantly, how long does it take to break a bad habit? If I see the light at the end of the tunnel it's easier to trudge on, but if it seems never ending... it's definitely more difficult. So I'm on a quest to find out, just when will this get any easier? When will eating correctly be second nature? When will I have dropped my bad eating habits by the wayside and formed new, better, healthier eating habits?
I checked Psychology Today's website and read all about how hard it it to change a bad habit (and he used bad eating and poor exercise as examples)... ugh! NOT HELPING! (Although, it WAS humorous.) So I checked out Ask.com and found answers that ranged from 3 months to a year. I can do 3 months I think... however, I don't think I can keep this up for a year! I checked out Yahoo Answers and found one reply that said it can take one night and that it's just mind over matter (or mind over body)... well... my MIND says I want to lose weight and be healthy, and it REALLY does matter to me, but hot melting mushroom cheeseburgers are pretty powerful to ignore, especially when I'm crunching on raw vege sticks and broccoli that seems to be biting me back with every chew. (Sigh).
I did find a really helpful article on the Wiki How site, "How to Break a Habit". It didn't give a time table (much like Psychology Today's website), but the helpful advice is worth sharing. So, if you have a hard habit to break, feel free to listen to the video and read on. (I did not write the information below, I pasted it as it was too good to only share a few highlights. My notes/personal thoughts follow.)
- Believe in yourself. Telling yourself you can't do something is a bad cognitive habit that needs breaking!
- Take on one habit at a time, two at most. Any more than that, and you'll feel overwhelmed.
- Remember to reward and congratulate yourself when you do well.
- Substance abuse, eating disorders, self-mutilation and other self-destructive patterns aren't habits - they're addictions and illnesses. Seek professional help to combat them.
- Consult a mental health professional (psychologist, psychiatrist or a counselor) if you find that you can't control the habit yourself.
Sources and Citations
Take on one habit at a time, two at most. Any more than that, and you'll feel overwhelmed. - Hmmm... So, "Bad Eating Habits" and "Lack of Sufficient Exercise" are the two I am working on at the moment. My "Pack Rat" tendencies and occasional "Loose Budget" controls are also on the table, but one or two bad habits at a time, right? (Shrug)
Remember to reward and congratulate yourself when you do well. So, if I used to reward myself with chocolate (Godiva's Double Chocolate Raspberry Truffles, to be exact), what do I do now? Well, remind myself of the weight loss success at each step (every pound I lose may sound very small and insignificant by itself, but it's a whole brick of butter!), remind myself of the health benefits, and remind myself of my family and loved ones that I need to stay around and stay healthy for.
And after all this, I wonder, what are my chances for success at this whole "Healthy Lifestyle" thing? How do I improve my chances? I'll discuss that next time! Eight Things Remarkably Successful People Do