Here’s Why Habitual Behavior Makes It Difficult to Lose Weight
Posted Oct 30 2012 5:00am
How do I stop eating so much
and eating all the wrong foods when I do it without thinking?
Now you might say tsk tsk,
you should be ashamed of yourself. Who are you fooling? What do you mean “without
But that’s just it; it really
happens this way—without even thinking. After all it’s a habit, and that’s part
of the description of a habit. It can happen without you even thinking about
it. Before you know it, you’ve done it. In fact, you might be thinking about
something else entirely when you’re doing something by force of habit.
So what’s that say for
changing a habit? How do you go about changing a habit that you’re not aware
you’re doing, and you do it before you know it? Let’s go outside the realm of
food for an example. Say you’ve been keeping napkins in the right-hand drawer
in your kitchen. But yesterday you rearranged your kitchen and it made more
sense to you to put the napkins in the left-hand drawer, about 4 or 5 feet from
where they were before. For the next week or so, every time you need to put out
napkins you go right, sometimes
even opening the old napkin drawer before you realize you’ve moved the napkins. After
some muttering under your breath, you decide that the next time you
will remind yourself before you automatically reach for napkins that the
napkins are now in the left-hand drawer.
In other words, the secret
to how not to be a creature of habit is to become aware of what you are doing.
You could set a goal for yourself to make sure that as part of your weight-loss
regimen, you will heighten your awareness. Since your eating habits are often at
the end of a chain of events (Someone hurts your feelings. You criticize yourself later for not saying something, and you criticize
yourself again for never saying
anything when someone hurts your feelings, and by then you’ve put yourself in a
lousy mood. Someone calls and you think you were too curt with them, and
now you feel guilty as well. Then—before you know it you’ve popped
something in your mouth), it would be good if you heightened your awareness of
the entire habit pattern, not just the food part.