Pop Quiz: Creating A Weight Loss Habit

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During my Weight Watchers meeting we discussed making good behaviors stick when it comes to weight loss.

This is a toughy.  My bad habits – drinking 5 sodas a day, gorging on pasta, skipping breakfast, never exercising, not enough water, no portion control – were not easy to break.

That’s not to say I don’t slip now and then. I’m human and life happens. The difference is when I fall back into a bad habit, it doesn’t feel second nature to me. It feels odd and the next thing I know I’m automatically self-correcting back to the healthy habits.

So how long did it take for me to create my own good habits. Depends on the habit. The big myth is that it takes 3 weeks for a habit to form. That’s a crock!

When it came to the soda monkey on my back, it took 2 days – and one long, nasty headache – for me to kick that bad boy to the curb.

Keeping a food journal…hell I’m doing a 3-month challenge to try to make that habit stick.

One I took to like a duck to water. The other, after 18 months, I’m still trying to get it down. The truth is it takes as long as it takes to form a habit.

A suggestion during the meeting was to focus on the small stuff. I agree with that. Weight loss is a marathon not a sprint. Creating small habits helps you build confidence to take on the ones you thought were too huge at the beginning of your weight loss journey. It’s all about baby steps.

My weight loss journey started in January 2012. I tried to eliminate grains from my diet. Ha!  I ended up eating even more pasta because I felt deprived.

Instead, I started reducing the number of times we ate pastas, breads, rice or potatoes during the week. I got creative with my veggie dishes like mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes or spaghetti squash instead of pasta.

By March 2012, when I cut grains completely from our diet, we didn’t miss it.

Another idea from the meeting – write yourself notes and place them in strategic places like your car’s rear view mirror or in the bathroom next to your toothbrush. Just places you look at everyday to help reinforce the habit.

How did I create healthy habits? I focused on what I could actually control. For example: No matter how hard I try, I can’t control my husband (don’t tell him that!). But it is up to me to say no when he suggests we order a pizza.

I can’t control him from suggesting it. But I can say no or I don’t eat the pizza. That I do control.

What healthy habits do you want to adopt?

One thought on “Pop Quiz: Creating A Weight Loss Habit

  1. Good point you make about habits. I originally selected 3 weeks, but your examples show that it’s true that different habits take different amounts of time. Logging is a total habit for me but it’s been like 3 years. When I binge I tend not to log anything, though, but get right back with it the next day. Making exercise a habit was somewhat difficult for a while, but now it just feels wrong to skip it.

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