Habits.

I talk a lot about habits mainly because in the context of successful weight loss and making a lifestyle change, developing new ones to replace negative ones are key to a permanent change.

Habits are often ingrained in us from a life time, whether they are good or bad. When it comes to our eating behaviors and exercise  a firm hand often has to be taken to those habits if we want to move into more positive choices.

WHY is it so hard? That topic comes up often with people I talk with and most recently with my client.

In discussing her week and some of the difficulties she had her response was "I know what to do in my head, why do I go back and do what I know I shouldn't do?"

Oh indeed. Why do any of us ? Why are we pulled back into a poor choice when we ( intellectually) know better and have even been doing better with more positive habits, yet, in a moment, we seemingly skip right back to what we know.

Why? Because it's comfortable and familiar to us. Because it's easy, it requires no effort to bounce back to the old and familiar. And once there, it can almost be a sandpit to crawl out of again and begin our forward progress. The key thing is to crawl out and keep moving forward, not give up and allow ourselves to be sucked back into the negative habits we seek to change.

I can say that because there are times I can still do the same things.  I understand what that's like. I do get those struggles.

To change negative habits requires a willingness to commit to the journey. To own it. To allow ourselves not to make excuses to go back to old ways. Yeah, we will slip, but there must be a determination and ownership to want that change and not stay where we are.

I read this today and it's just so true. I've never thought of it quite like this, but it's true.

  Are you "interested" in a healthy lifestyle? Or "committed" to having a healthy lifestyle ?

Yeah. Just think about that for a moment.

When you're interested in doing something you only do it when it's convenient.

When you're committed to something you accept no excuses, only results. You follow your established rules and get it done.

The difference between interested and committed is a big jump to permanent success.

If you approach weight loss and your health journey in the light of when it's comfortably convenient, you can see where you will encounter constant setbacks.

You must make a commitment that takes you beyond just being "interested."

Committed means being willing to be honest with yourself, where you are and addressing what needs to be done.

It means not justifying reasons why you allow yourself to keep eating or drinking things that don't contribute or lead to your goals

It means not finding other things that are "more important" to do than purposeful exercise. Or coming up with reasons to not do it.

I'm NOT saying you're going to take it and get it immediately. You won't.

Habits take time to change. If you have a lifetime of doing the same things, they won't change over night.  It will require a consistent commitment to making it happen. That means in good days and bad days you keep going with the intention of improvement.

Those habits you've developed of going through a drive thru for fast food? or buying coke and candy at a gas station? Or eating seconds even when you aren't hungry? Or procrastinating on getting some exercise in? Or watching tv with a bag of chips or whatever treat ? Spending that hour or more in front of the tv or computer?

You've trained yourself to do those things and you can train yourself to do new things. Really.

I recently went on a road trip. It's about 4 hours of driving. I usually take a little bag with a few healthy snacks and some bottled water. As I was grabbing the water I saw a carton of blackberries that I decided to toss in too.

A couple hours down the road I was nibbling those and washing them down with water. This isn't how I used to do trips. I might make a run in to a convenience store for some chips or candy. It's been a work in progress that my thinking is different now... I made a commitment to wanting to live healthier and that has carried through in lots of areas of my life.

I just don't want to do that anymore. I feel better about myself making good choices.

This has taken time.. and a reshaping of negative habits for improved ones.... and a commitment to being the strongest and healthiest I can be.

If you get with it and stay with it each day you will make progress. Understand tough times will come and you will feel discouraged. Hang in there and stay strong.

Commit to the process, don't just be interested in it.

Published by Cathie De La Rosa