One change at a time

There are so many diets out there, so many eating protocols yet none of these will be successful until we can fight the psychological battle we have with what we put in our mouths. This is a fact.

We need to address the issue with our minds before attempting any form of dietary intervention. If our minds aren't prepared and ready then how can we truly be ready to change the way we eat.

Most people who go on diets want the instant overnight fat loss miracle, some look to the magic of so called fat loss pills too. If these worked why are there so many people overweight and why is obesity becoming the epidemic it is? Because no diet; not even with the aid of a diet pill works. People need to get their heads around the fact that these methods (the quick fix methods) are not the forever answer. What these people need is sustainability, not a diet but a way of eating which can be maintained forever. Fad diets never last forever.

Nothing is as sustainable as the real life miracle of eating real food consistently and performing more physical activities. This doesn't necessarily mean pounding on the treadmill or lifting weights, just add more movement to your life. This is the harsh reality of weight loss and body transformation, the truth of the matter is, the longer you leave things, the harder it is going to be. But only in the beginning, for once you start seeing change, your passion and enthusiasm for more, will carry you on. 

It is part of human nature to want to choose the easy option, yet when it comes to lifestyle and diet changes the easy options have all been proven to fail in the long run. No diet works forever and until people realise this, obesity will continue to be our plague.

How many people hop from one diet to another looking for the latest diet trend only to realise that none of these diets have worked? Why are people so naïve? The only way to achieve permanent results is by adopting new dietary habits that can be maintained for the rest of your life. The way you eat, the way you move, but more crucially the way you think about what you are eating.... is this rocket science, no its not, but it is about time people started to grow up and eat like adults.

Wrong diet choice and lack of movement has been the nemesis for nearly every yo yo dieter; as well as their constant battles with their mind and willpower demons. Eating to some is a habit, we munch if we are bored, sweets and popcorn when we watch a film, a curry on a Friday washed down with alcohol, lots of this is done without us really thinking about it. It is a habit to us.

All habits are hard to break initially but they can be broken and rather than trying to change these habits with willpower alone (which makes it even harder) try replacing the old bad habit with a good new one. Something that will stimulate you more than your dominating, over powering, negative willpower demons.

 

Habits take time to change, like everything in life there isn't an easy quick fix habit changing formula, I'm sure you've battled through adversity before; which proves changes can be made. So what better way than a bad to good habit change in the quest for a healthier you. Think habit not diet. Think before you eat.

 

Change your habits then change you. Accept responsibility for the way you are and the things you've done. The truth of the matter is, you are responsible for you being unfit, unhealthy and overweight. Accept this as the reality for which it is then begin changing the bad habits which have put you where you are now with good ones and try with 100% effort to reach your full potential.

Nothing worth having comes without effort; once you start changing these habits and learn how your body responds to these small dietary changes you will begin to see how the effort you are putting in is reaping benefits.

It's when the results are being seen and the new good habits have become engrained that the bit of hard work you initially had to put in is paying off. Habits are mind forming; our auto pilot mode.

You see our mind has two components, the conscious and the subconscious, the conscious mind is the rational logical thinking part of our mind, the subconscious is responsible for our memory storage and automatic behaviours like our bodily functions; digestion, breathing, blood circulation and our reflexes and habits.

How many of us have tried to change our bad eating habits only to fall back into our old ways during times of stress or when we are feeling weak or vulnerable?  That is because the automatic response of our subconscious mind, which needs reprogramming, overrides our good intentions. Research says almost 40% of the actions we take every day are habitual; meaning we act automatically without really making any active decision, we just do it. 

Changing bad habits to good habits are usually made too difficult by us by the way we try and do it. Rather than concentrating on one habit change at a time we try and enforce multiple habit changes. Author Leo Babauta estimates that when people focus on changing a single behaviour at a time the likelihood that they will retain their new habit for a year or more is around 80%. But trying to change two or more habits at the same time the success rates drop to 20%. This proves that trying to change more than one habit at a time is a recipe for disaster. John Berardi from precision nutrition says stick to one habit change at a time until the new habit becomes an engrained behaviour. 

The problem with most individuals is we want everything all at once. We join a gym, buy new trainers, stop eating junk, train six days a week, eat chicken and brocolli at every meal. Unless you are one of the 20% of the population with the ability to juggle and change a dozen habits right from the start, then you are probably one of the 80% who get bored and pack it all in. The too many changes too soon brigade.

One small habit change at a time is the key. Start with a small change, make things clear and measurable, something you know you'll be able to do realistically every day. Just one though until you feel confident with it. Follow this for 2 weeks before adding another.

It might feel a bit slow but your bad habits are deep in your subconscious mind and have been there for years. By using the one habit at a time approach you are slowly reprogramming your subconscious, you might even wonder how such a small change could ever produce any meaningful change. It might not today, but you'll be amazed what can be accomplished in a few months, you'll be even more surprised how sustainable these practices become.

I've been using this method for a while  now, my diet has turned full circle with using the one habit change at a time approach, now I don't even realise I'm doing and eating the things I am. From 3 sugars in my coffee to none, from not liking vegetables to eating loads. Eating fruit, drinking more water, limiting my alcohol consumption, reading more.  All of these have been done progressively over time. If I can do it you too can.

Engrain the one habit change at a time approach, it really does work...