Yes, it is a matter of habit formation. To lose weight effectively and create the flat belly you've yearned for is a matter of trading in bad habits and forming good ones. It is not as hard as it appears. Sure, I am rather certain you've tried and failed at weight loss or you wouldn't be reading this. The average diet plan tells you to give up foods you love and force yourself to eat in a way that you have never done before. It is doomed from the start to fail. Abrupt changes in your life are not sustainable. |
Trade In Your Bad Habits for Good Ones Clearly, however, some people succeed at weight loss. Their secret seems to be focusing on slow change. A slow change could have many faces. The one I think works the best is to slowly trade in your bad habits for good ones.
When looking to lose weight, it pays to remember how you gained the weight in the first place. It didn't come all at once. You didn't decide one rain-soaked afternoon in April to get fat. No, it happened in increments; slowly and without giving it a thought. Then, one day you looked in the mirror and wondered how you got this way.
Getting fat came from bad eating habits. Eating too much. Eating too much of harmful foods (or food-like stuff.) Losing that weight will come when you trade in those bad habits for new good habits. Here's the rub. You cannot drop all bad habits at once. Quite the contrary. You have to work on them one at a time until you replace them all with a set of new good habits.
The 28-Day Challenge or Breaking Bad
Let me share an example with you. When I finally decided I had had enough and it was time to lose the weight that I could no longer stand I made a decision. That decision came after a period of procrastination, I called it meditation, perhaps it was. The decision was quite simple. I would concentrate on giving up one bad food and replace it with a different food or behavior.
The first food I chose to give up was processed sugar. No white sugar, no brown sugar. I had to give up foods processed with high fructose corn syrup, added sugars, or anything resembling sugars that had been processed.
Oh no, I drank morning coffee with cream and sugar. What was a girl to do? I went cold turkey. I started drinking my coffee black. I hated it. It felt like a bitter pill. But after about a week I began to once again look forward to mornings and coffee freshly brewed.
By the end of the month, I decided to try coffee with cream and sugar once more. It tasted like candy. While I like candy, it was no substitute for the black coffee I was now drinking. One sip and I tossed the adulterated brew down the drain, poured a cup of black coffee and ate my breakfast.
All it took to make a change was a decision to make a change, the ability to tolerate a week or so of "why am I doing this" and three weeks of getting used to the new way of consuming coffee.
And that, my friends, is the 28-Day Challenge. Give up one thing at a time. Work at it for a week, let the new habit sink in for three more weeks and by the end of the 28-days, you formed a new good habit.
How to Go About Change The simple truth is that some foods are worse than others for both weight loss and your general health. Sugar, white flour, and salt come to mind as top offenders. They are followed closely by saturated fats like margarine, shortening, and lard. (Notice that butter and other butter fats are not on this list.) Living without these top-level offenders is a necessary fact of life if you are going to affect permanent weight loss.
Then there are habits of consumption, of eating style itself. I was, for example, a grazer. I was never comfortable unless I was stuffing my face with some kind of food. I didn't eat from hunger, rather, I ate to just eat. Another habit that developed over time so it must be eliminated over time. A perfect candidate for the 28-Day Challenge.
It doesn't matter which food or behavior you choose to start with. The trick is to start. Once you get past the first seven days, the rest of the 28-days becomes easier and easier. The new behavior is getting imprinted in your brain. You'll look back and wonder why it took you so long to break your bad habits. The added bonus, you'll be losing weight along the way.
Sara Dawson is the managing partner at The Science of Permanent Weight Loss. Her personal journey going from ‘chubby’ and unhealthy to thin and healthy is one that anyone who suffers from being overweight or in poor health, or both should know. Sara encourages you to visit her Weight Loss Blog where she shares her story along with tips and ideas for healthy weight loss.
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