If you are overweight and seem to be unable to lose weight despite your best efforts, it may be time to review your habits. Moreover, the famous American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed it very clearly: “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an action and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny”. So if you establish bad habits in your life, you set for yourself a doomed purpose. So what are the top 5 bad habits you need to change to lose weight?
When it comes to food, we all have strong habits, some are healthy and beneficial – eating breakfast – and others little less – leave no crumb on the plate. Although some of these habits are developed since childhood, it is never too late to change them.
To make sudden and radical changes such as eating cabbage soup all day can help you lose weight instantly, but it is not beneficial to your health nor is long-term effective. What you need to do is gradually improve your habits by adopting the 3R approach: Reflect, Replace and Reinforce.
- Consider all your eating habits, whether good or bad, as well as those that trigger your cravings
- Replace your bad habits by other healthier ones
- Strengthen your new healthy eating habits
Reflect, Replace and Reinforce: a process to improve your eating habits
- Create a list of your eating habits for the next few days; keep a journal in which you specify in detail what you eat and – what time of the day – to help you identify your habits. You might find, for example, that you always need something sweet to alleviate the shortage of energy in mid-afternoon. It is also important to note how you feel when you decide to eat, especially if you’re not hungry. Were you stressed? Tired? Edgy?
- Emphasize the habit on your list that could be the cause of your overeating. To help you, here are the habits that generally promote weight gain:
- Eating too fast
- Always finish your plate
- Eating when you’re not hungry
- Eating while standing (without paying attention to the amount or the rate at which you eat)
- Always take a dessert
- Skipping meals (or just breakfast)
- Think about the bad habits that you have highlighted. Make sure you have identified all the triggers that lead you to these habits. Identify the ones you want to improve first. Recognize your strengths; they will encourage you to make more changes in the right direction.
- Create a list of clues on this in your journal to be more aware of the triggers that lead you to eat, besides hunger, obviously. Be specific as possible in describing how you feel in those moments. Generally, it is an environment or a specific emotional state that drives you to eat without hunger. Here are some examples:
- You open the kitchen cabinet and see your favorite biscuit
- Staying home to watch TV
- Before or after a stressful situation at work
- After a long working day without knowing what to eat for dinner
- Regularly a candy box is in front of you
- See a plate of donuts at the morning staff meeting
- Make a detour to your favorite drive-through each morning
- Feeling tired or bored and think that your spirit will rise with delicacies
Here are five bad habits that sabotage your weight loss project
- Too much TV: Are you aware of the number of hours you spend glued to your big screen? You come home from work and flop down for hours in front of the television that has become almost automatic. Fast food and junk food commercials are one of the factors that work against your desire to lose weight, and even the healthiest people and the most reasonable ones are succumbing. In addition, many of us have the annoying habit of snacking while watching our favorite TV series without worrying about the quantity (or quality) we ingest.
- Skipping breakfast: skipping of the main meal is directly related to obesity. Avoiding eating anything in the morning makes you more inclined to nibble anything that comes into your hands. Take a healthy and light breakfast that will give you enough energy to carry out your morning tasks while helping you burn more calories.
- Three giant meals: several studies claim that you’re more likely to lose weight by eating 6 small meals a day rather than overeating 2 or 3 times during the day. Six small meals spread throughout the day well help you regulate the sugar levels in the blood and better manage your small munchies. It is essential to ensure that the total meals meet the caloric needs of your body.
- Not sleeping enough: if you have the bad habit of staying up late at night and waking up early in the morning without enough sleep, you push your body to store more fat. Studies have shown the correlation between weight gain and lack of sleep. Be productive or play sports and you will get tired enough to have a good quality sleep.
- Eating fast food: it’s the least wise decision. If you go through a drive-through to get lunch or dinner you are going in the wrong direction. Instead, try to prepare healthy meals in advance and take them with you.
Once you have determined your habits that promote weight gain, you can consider the approach to be taken to change them. The key is to know that you can’t change all at once. Give yourself enough time to do it gradually and deprive yourself from the disappointments and frustrations. For example you can choose a bad habit and devote 21 days to replace it, before moving to the next and so on. Losing weight is a long term project that has to be managed without stress or guilt.
References: webmd.com, blackgirlsguidetoweightloss.com, popsugar.com