The Benefits Of New Habits

old-habits-uc-san-diego

 

So I got to my fav coffee cave before a crazy storm broke loose. I love sitting and watching the clouds gather and hear the thunder rolling in.  I love watching people come running in, even with the skies emptying around them.

It definitely makes for interesting people watching.

I sipped my hot coffee watching the dark sky,  thinking about what on earth I wanted to talk to you about in this post… shocking … I know…as I’m never at a loss for words 😉

I mean, really, there are so many topics I could discuss with you.

I thought I might discuss the topic of habits with you and how important those are in your quest to lose weight and get fit.

Let’s just review the definition …

Habit: is a routine or behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously .

Habit formation is the process by which the behavior, through regular repetition, becomes automatic or habitual.

Now let’s think about that in terms of how you eat, what you eat, when you eat. Let’s think about it in terms of exercise and if you get it done.

Your life is smack full of habits.

The time you get up for work. The things you do in the exact way getting ready in the morning.  How you brush your teeth. How you take your coffee. The things you do in your day, many are habits. What you eat. What you don’t eat.

So many of the things you do in your life are driven by habits. Things you’ve done over and over until you do them mindlessly without thinking about it.

This… is where you want to get with the disciplines of exercise and eating well.

If it’s not something you’ve done then you will have to practice at doing it. It means if your “habit” is walking into a convenience store and buying chips and a coke, you’re going to have to intentionally, purposefully, restructure a new habit to replace that negative one.

And trust me, you will have to be completely intentional to make it happen.  And it will take time. But each time you make a better choice you get further along building that habit in you.

If your habit is to go through a drive thru for fast foods, you will have to intentionally keep your car driving on by.

You can remind yourself, you won’t be dead from hunger before you get home. You can remind yourself that you won’t accomplish your health goals if you feed yourself that.  You can also be proactive and maybe keep some healthy snacks in your car if you feel you need something .

This will be an action you are proactive at doing.

When it comes to exercise, again, it’s not a natural thing for you to go out and do activities that make you sweat or breath hard. Most people want to avoid it.

This is where you will have to be absolutely intentional about getting up and getting out.

Perhaps, in the beginning, you might just get yourself to the store and get some good shoes and some athletic clothes to do your thing in. For me, the very act of getting in my athletic clothes and slipping my shoes on puts me in the mental place of what I’m about to do.

Maybe, it’s looking at your week and planning it out and determining what you are going to do and when. What are your days like? What times are best for you?

Then you make a commitment to it. And you will have to be intentional. Purposeful.  No excuses.

New habits don’t happen.  Remember our definition ….

“Habit formation is the process by which the behavior, through regular repetition, becomes automatic or habitual.”

If you want to build new habits ( like exercising and eating better) you will have to practice and keep repeating until it becomes automatic for you. You won’t think about it.

You will do it. You will want to do it.

I often get asked how I do it? I’ll tell you.

It’s been several years of constant repetition that has built new habits in me.

I can’t IMAGINE not exercising now. I feel worse when I don’t, than when I do.

It has been days of making myself get geared up…get out.. and do it. It has been overcoming any goofy excuses that would distract me.  It’s knowing I’ll feel better if I do follow through, mentally and physically.

When it comes to food, I know how much better I feel, how much energy I have and how good I feel about myself when I nurture my body and feed it good food.

It makes passing on junky food or not so healthy food lots easier.  I feel more “off” now if I do eat foods I’m not used to.

It’s a good place to be.

It’s taken time. It’s taken practice. Lots of practice building new habits. But they are habits I’m glad to have now.

I wish I could tell you there’s just this “quick fix” that shapes up years of negative behaviors in you.

There isn’t.

But I’ll tell you this, if you are persistent and make intentional choices to do positive things, you WILL build new habits, and that is something that will make a huge difference in your life. Just like you’ve built negative habits, you can rebuild new positive ones.

Tell me, have you built a new habit in your life that’s good? How has that impacted you?  What habits would you like to change or improve on ? Remember, having a plan and intentionally following through puts you on the road to new habits.

 

Advertisements

Food Vs. Fitness

biscuit
Biscuits. I could eat my body weight in them 😉

Food. It was on my mind. I just wrapped up a little over an hour on my bike. That’s roughly… 12ish miles for me… lots of hills and inclines so it’s not always easy. Which really, I don’t want it to be.

Coming in and cooling down, my tummy rapidly reminded me food was a long time ago ( last night) and it’s grumblings and rumblings were a sign I needed some nutrition.

Breakfast is my usual fare…. eggs… tons of sautéed veggies…. milk….  plenty of good protein and carbs to fill me comfortably.

It has become natural now for me to reach for healthy, nutrient dense foods. I crave them.  Not only that, how can you go wrong filling up on veggies that are amazingly good for you, satisfy your hunger, and leave you feeling strong and steady ( no dip and decline of blood sugar levels)  for hours ahead and for minimal calories?

Win. Win.

it hasn’t always been like that for me. On my health and fitness journey these past few years like anything, it’s been a learning process.

Choosing healthier foods over ones that didn’t support my goals has been a learned thing.

I guess the eye opening moment for me ( and I believe anyone who is seeking to lose weight and be fit) is determining who your love affair is with ? What do you love/want more ?

Food… the taste, sensory,  and emotional connection to fill your needs ?

OR

Food with balance and moderation with the goal being healthier and leaner ?

If you keep choosing food over your goals of health and wellness you will never get there.

You and you alone must decide….before something goes in your mouth….. is it worth it ? Does it support my goals? Do I want this ( thing) over my goals?

For example……Saturday morning hubby and I had determined a breakfast date for Cracker Barrel. If you’re in the south, you know what that means. If you don’t know, well, it’s this amazing southern foods restaurant that has all kinds of tasty treats.

I had biscuits on my mind. Coffee too 😉

All was well and good until our food came out and the waitress nicely says… “oh, we ran out of biscuits but we have some coming out in a few minutes” I assured her that was fine and launched into my meal, trying to not focus on the fact the eggs were slightly chilled…. and waited for my biscuits.

Hubby gallantly offered his up but I told him I’d wait….

and I waited… and waited…. until we were almost done and I flagged her down and she said… ” Oh I’m so sorry they aren’t done yet, but would you like a muffin ?”

Seriously. No.   It’s like asking a soda drinker if they want Coke or Pepsi.

I told her no thanks and was starting to feel like a disgruntled little kid. Hubby told me to take his other one ( which was not so warm anymore) and she brings me solid, frozen butter for it.

I did make an attempt to eat at it. I just couldn’t. It was nothing like I had envisioned when I had breakfast on my mind. I didn’t wanna be a brat…but seriously… it was disappointing.

Here’s where I’m going. I’ve learned to be selective on my journey. I didn’t want a muffin. I didn’t want a cool biscuit with frozen butter.  I’m at a place in my life and journey that if I eat something and take in those calories I want it to be good. I want to enjoy and savor it!  I want it to be worthwhile. I don’t have to mindlessly shovel it in ’cause it’s there. I can say no and walk away.

I can be picky and selective.

In my journey though it is a battle to think in terms of “food” versus “health/fitness”.  It is moment by moment decisions that lead me to victory.

It works like that for most of us.

It comes down to that moment of decision and deciding…. what do we want more…. food ? or our health goals ?

I’m not saying… don’t eat… I’m saying… make it worth while.

In time practicing this will  become a new habit in you that almost becomes second nature =)

What about you ? Is it a habit to think about what you put in your mouth and determine is really “worth it” ?