History of Habits

Eating habits result from a learned behavior that is practiced over and over again. These are often difficult to break because they have been repeated for years. Some examples of eating habits include drinking coffee every morning, having dessert after a meal, or having a dish of ice cream every night before you go to sleep.

People form habits from their infant years through childhood as they are taught by their parents, caregivers, and role models. You know, just like the family of four at the theater. The ones that march in one by one, each carrying a big buster bucket of buttered popcorn, 40-ounce soda, and candy, and are first in line for free refills. This becomes their norm. The types of foods, where these foods are eaten, snack choices, and exercise patterns are all habits formed early in life. Good habits are as easy to create as bad ones are, but if parents reinforce unhealthy habits—usually meaning that they practice these habits themselves—it is likely that these habits will be passed on to younger generations as well. Parents also serve as their children’s role models to help them get on the path toward their own independent lifestyles. If good patterns are not taught early, they are difficult to pick up later. So if your parents taught you bad habits you might as well just blame them and forget about it! No—I’m just kidding you. Be proactive and use this valuable information to make positive choices.

Examining the Way You Live

First, begin by evaluating your lifestyle and food-style trends. Put a check mark in the appropriate column.

Now, look at your check marks. If you really are on top of your lifestyle, you will have checked off all answers in the “always” column. This is your aim. Here, this would mean you have a very healthy lifestyle and very good habits. If you have several marked off in the “always” column and several in the “occasionally” column, you’re on your way to a better lifestyle. If, by chance, you marked any answers in the “never” column, you need to make some changes. I’m here to help you do just that.

Commit to Change—You Can

There is a reason that you are here right now in this moment in time and we are connected. It’s human nature to put off things we do not like to do—like studying for an exam, finishing a home improvement project, or starting to watch our weight. Rather than looking for an excuse, embrace this opportunity to make a positive change once and for all in your lifetime.

Setting Goals

Committing to change requires some serious goal setting. You have to have a strong purpose that drives you. Let’s say your primary goal is to lose twenty pounds. And—heck!—why not try to keep it off? This can be your long-term goal. But how do you get to that goal post with the fewest fumbles? You have to change your eating habits, exercise, shop for new fruits and vegetables, adjust your attitude, and lots of other good stuff. I won’t overwhelm you right now. We can do it in baby steps. The point is—set goals!

Long-Term and Short-Term Goals

Success of any type is built on establishing long-term and short-term goals—goals that are realistic and challenging. Long-term goals help you imagine where you want to be a year from now. Short-term goals set your plans for the upcoming week or month. These are more realistic goals that are easily attainable. If you make these short-term goals weekly, one each week, you can bring on over fifty changes in one year. Or, if you prefer, try one each month and incorporate twelve in a year. And I’m talking about small changes. These short-term changes help you meet and accomplish the long-term goals.

Long-term goals should not be impossible to meet, but should be challenging like these:

  • I want to get in good enough shape to run a marathon.
  • I want to go on a two-day, 100-mile bike race.
  • I want to wear a size ten by next summer.
  • I want to win the lottery! (Hey—it could happen!)

Short-terms goals should be those that can be met without a great deal of effort. These short-term accomplishments help reinforce that changes can be made while motivating you to continue striving for success, like these:

  • I will walk for fifteen minutes each day.
  • I will reduce after dinner snacks to smaller, healthier choices.
  • I will eat breakfast at least three mornings each week.
  • I will put out a fruit basket each day with different varieties of fruit to try.
  • I will cut down the amount of soft drinks I drink to one each day.
  • I will buy a lottery ticket rather than a doughnut.

Your Own Personal Goals

Now it is time for you to set some initial goals for yourself. Having personal goals is exciting! Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish in the next year?
  • What do I want to accomplish in the next month to help meet this goal?
  • What do I want to accomplish in the next week to help meet this goal?
  • What do I want to accomplish today?

With your personal goals in place, let’s get started. You have identified the need to lose some weight; your engine is revved up. You’ve set some initial goals for yourself, and you are ready for success. Forget failure! Let’s rock and roll!

Please realize that I am here to help you make long-term lifestyle changes—changes that can last a lifetime. Keep in mind that attempts to lose weight should not be temporary. “Dieting” is not a temporary state. Losing and maintaining a healthy weight is something you should want to do for you, not for your mother, not for your spouse, and not for your best friend. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s also okay to appreciate the second glances that are sure to come your way when friends and strangers see the new you. Just be sure that you do it for yourself first. This is a lifelong commitment that takes education, determination, and a desire to be as healthy as you can be—for you!

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