If I must be a slave to habit, let me be a slave to good habits

All we have are habits. When things go wrong or you have a bad day you are far more likely to make bad choices. And there is a clear reason for this. Making decisions - the right decisions - comes at a cost. You literally have a certain amount of energy to make decisions. After it’s used up you are likely to revert back to norm. So your norm better be pretty close to the right thing. And in most cases it’s not. So if you think you’re on a “diet”, you’re not in a great state of mind. Once the pressure comes on, your diet will take a back seat until tomorrow, or worse, Monday.

So you need to work on developing the right habits.

If you’re in it for the long term you can do this one meal at a time or one time period at a time (say 7am – 11am). If you have clearly defined rules you are far more likely to stick to them. It can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 7 months to change or create a new habit. The sweet spot for most things falls at around 66 days. It may sound like a long time but good habits can stay with you for life. Most “dieters” are on unsuccessful diets forever.

A diets success is not measured by how much weight you lose on it. Rather it should be measured by what you learn that helps you to keep that weight off 12 months later. So if you eat 3 meals a day and decide to work only on one meal at a time, within 6 months you should have successfully created the right habit for all three meals. And there is usually a halo effect when you do this, meaning that any decision you make around eating out, drinking or even exercising will be a better decision.

I always recommend people start with breakfast. Eating well in the morning has a knock effect for the next meal both physiologically and psychologically. We’ve all heard the expression sugar craves sugar. Multiple studies have shown that eating carbohydrate rich foods at breakfast causes people to seek out more carbohydrates and calories at the next meal. So your breakfast will dictate both your food choices and quantity throughout the day.

As well as this carb rich meals frequently cause a peak in blood sugar followed by a drop that can leave you feeling tired and demotivated. A more balanced meal with good fats and protein will increase the production of dopamine and acetylcholine which are the two main neurotransmitters for focus and drive.This is the ideal way to help your body and brain to perform optimally and avoid energy dips during the day. 

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