Monday, September 7, 2015

Second Thoughts: Use Your Own Habits, Good & Bad, To Lose Weight

Take advantage of your habitual behaviors to lose weight, get healthy, and be inspired to workout.
I have the habit that once I’m home, I stay home. I hate battling traffic and will avoid it at all costs. This habit works to my advantage because no matter what, I will not get in my car and go in search of food, no matter how bad the craving. That means I don’t eat junk food just to satisfy a fleeting craving. 
Even though I don’t hate to cook, I will avoid it whenever I can. It takes time. It leaves me with pots and pans I have to wash. I admit it. I’m habitually lazy. When I have a favorite cereal in the house, such as granola, I will not only eat that for breakfast, but when hunger hits anytime of day I will grab a bowl of cereal for a quick meal instead of preparing something more appropriate to reaching my goals. Granola = carbs, sugar, fat.
When I don’t have granola or some other favorite grab-and-go waiting in the cupboard, I am forced to cook oatmeal. I love oatmeal, but don’t want to wait, or in summer to eat something hot on a hot morning, or wash the pan. But when there’s no granola, etc., due to hunger and my cravings for carbs I buckle down and cook the oatmeal. No Fat, no sugar. I can’t eat what isn’t readily available to me. Oatmeal tastes good but not good enough to work for me as a quick snack food like granola does. My lazy habits work to my advantage.
Your habits may be quite different. For example I never order take out delivered to my door. Never in my life have I done this, partly because I don’t so easily part with a penny :-) —more importantly though, I worked in a restaurant for years and I know what goes on behind the scenes. I don't trust takeout, for good reason.
Yet another habit is I rarely buy snacks foods (candy/chips/cookies, etc.) at the supermarket. 80% of the time I can resist because I don’t go to the market hungry, and also because in my head I know I am sabotaging myself. It helps that I have developed the habit of going to the gym right before grocery shopping, so I’m pumped both mentally and physically to do what’s best for the goal I’ve set. I won’t help negate the great workout I just had by buying that big bag of Snickers Minis.
I realize everyone is different. At my local Safeway they have a BIG Deli department, and at 10 a.m. the other day it was off-putting to see the line of people waiting to order sandwiches and macaroni salad, all of whom were extremely overweight. The fact that no one of optimal size was waiting in that Deli line, yet plenty of optimal-weight people were there shopping, was telling of people's habits.
Figure out what habits of yours can work to your advantage, or are working against you, to keep yourself from eating. Some people, like those at the Deli, have no constraints/self-control at all, and will eat anything at any time of day when the mood strikes without a second thought. They’re the same people who at the doctor’s/insurance agent/hair-salon will grab the free snacks in the candy bowl without a second thought. 
Begin changing your eating habits by developing the habit of having second thoughts.