Diets often help individuals lose weight quickly. But if healthy patterns and habits aren’t established, the weight usually creeps back and then some. In fact, research shows that following a diet, 80% of individuals gain back the weight lost within 2-5 years.
So, why does this happen? Many diets frequently focus on a set type or amount of food you can consume. You may only be allowed to eat shakes for weeks on end. Or perhaps you’re restricted to a certain caloric amount or point system. In other words, they aren’t particularly set on changing your behaviours. It’s normally a temporary mindset shift. For example, you may think you’ll only need to drink those shakes for 6 weeks, then you’re fine to eat what you please and go back to eating whatever you like – without any lifestyle change.
The problem comes down to the lack of habit or behavioural change, which is so important when adapting a healthy lifestyle. There should further be an emphasis on eating the right nutrients that your body needs, as opposed to only losing weight. This means having your own individualized meal plan including what foods work best for you and your body – and make you feel good. When focusing on health, the weight will frequently follow suit. But let’s take a closer look at the habit cycle. How can you change yours?
Bad habits are hard to break. And if you don’t understand how habits continue to remain habits, you may struggle to rid yourself of your bad habits once and for all.
The four stages of a habit involve a cue, craving, response, and reward. For instance, a cue might be that you feel lonely or sad. The craving is that you need something to feel better. You respond by reaching for comfort food, such as chips or chocolate. It serves as a reward and you feel better.
To break these habits, you have to remove part of the cycle. For example, you could make a conscious decision to no longer bring junk food into your home. You don’t buy it and the temptation is removed. You could also replace these cravings or responses with something else. Next time you feel sad, go to the gym instead. It’ll release endorphins making you feel better. Or you could dig up a healthy recipe and make a new and healthy meal for yourself. Find something that works for you.
And give yourself some time! Don’t guilt-trip yourself if you mess up. Experts claim that it takes over 21 days to break a habit. Be patient.
It’s difficult to reprogram your way of thinking. Habits and your nutritional foundation are formed from an early age. Again, it will take time to flip the switch.
However, educating yourself on nutrients and what truly is healthy and what isn’t is a great place to start. Lay that foundation. Learn about what your body truly needs. And listen to your body as you make those necessary changes.
If you have a family, teach your kids from an early age what’s healthy and what’s not. It’ll make it easier for them as they grow up to make healthier decisions as adults.
Movement is also an important aspect to a healthy lifestyle. It shouldn’t be ignored. With so much research indicating its importance in preventing disease and improving health, it’s critical for you to lead your best life.
Want to learn more about nutrition? Contact Athlete’s Choice Massage today. Find out how our nutrition coach can help you discover a whole new approach to eating. It’s easier than you think!