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Breaking Bad Eating Habits with Smart Planning

Posted Mar 21 2012 5:00am

If you packed on the pounds and those pounds are now a part of you, it’s for sure you’ve developed some bad eating habits. Perhaps you mindlessly get out the forbidden foods snacks while watching TV. And you also might automatically reach for some weight-gaining comfort food when you are feeling sad.

How, though, do you go about breaking habits when they are so…uh…habitual?

One thing about habits: they are usually tied to very specific situations. Mindlessly eating fattening foods as snacks in front of the TV. Reaching for comfort food when feeling sad. So that’s the way to go about changing bad habits: tie something else to that very same situation.

This is where you need specific planning for those specific situations where your behavior has become habitual.

It goes like this: Before I sit down to watch TV after a hard day, I will replace my mindless snacking by talking, to myself and to my husband about the rewards I should get as solace for working so hard today. If that doesn’t do it for me, I will have a backup plan of setting out only good diet snacks, since losing a lot of weight is my goal. And if that doesn’t work, because my very own motivation for eating fattening snacks is such a habit and so against making any change, I will have a backup plan to my backup plan to not keep any of these fattening food snacks in the house. Whew! That was a mouthful.

That’s the plan. Now how to live up to the plan?

The best way to live up to the plan is to practice it. That’s right. You do it and you do it.

First, you can go over and over it in your mind. Then you can try it out in a situation other than when you’re sitting in front of the TV after a hard day’s work. Just like the concert pianist, you should practice in private before you give the performance. And just like the concert pianist who is going to play the piece differently this time, it’s going to take lots of practice so it flows out of you as mindlessly and automatically as the old piece (read: habit) did.


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