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How You Can Form Good Eating Habits (despite the bad eating habits that still linger)

Posted Mar 28 2011 8:46am

Do you make a habit of bad eating behavior? Yes, you heard right—you making bad eating behavior a habit.

Bad eating habits, as you well know, are hard to break. Once a habit always a habit is too harsh. But you get the idea.

What if—you wanted to form a new habit, one designed to help you lose unwanted weight? What if you did it each day with only a miss here and there? The emphasis is on consistent personal motivation here. Now one more ingredient: the cue. Think what would be a good cue for you. Something outside yourself at first.

Let’s say a good cue is breakfast. You want to make it a habit to eat dieting food for breakfast. So you set this up to happen, day after day, breakfast after breakfast. Here’s what’s sure to happen. You will eventually establish good diet food as a habit for breakfast. In the process of forming this habit you will notice that you get to points along the way where you don’t have to work so hard at it anymore. The sticking to a diet breakfast thing happens more automatically. You more automatically reach for the good diet food and not the fattening food or so much food. You hardly think about the new “moves” you’re making. When you’re running on automatic or almost at automatic, for that’s the name of the game, you’ve got a habit. Now it’s a good eating habit.

What about misses? What if you miss a day or two here and there? Will you still be able to form the habit of good eating behavior (at breakfast)? Yup. Recent research shows that missing a day every once in a while made only a small difference in the time it took to form the habit. But in the long run failing to do it habitually here and there did not make any difference in how strongly the habit was formed.

Okay. We’ve got some important variables here. Are you ready? Because this is about you. Variable #1: Your motivation. Variable #2: Your consistency. Variable #3: Your reaction to missing a day here and there. Variable #4: Dealing effectively with any interference.

There you have it in a nutshell. Too simpleminded? Try it and see?


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