Recently I posted an article all about how to build good weight loss habits.
If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, you can do so right here!
Naturally, though, through that process you probably came up with some habits that you would like to eliminate.
Some of the things you are doing on the regular that aren’t particularly facilitating your weight loss.
For example, maybe you come home from work and head straight to the pantry/fridge without even realizing it when it’s really a bike ride that your body needs.
Alternatively, you might be in the habit of being “good” all week and staying on plan but then you “blow it” and overeat on the weekends.
Or, maybe you are cleaning up after dinner and your kid left something on their plate and you find yourself hoovering it up.
Instead, you might find yourself putting away food and find yourself eating the equivalent of almost a whole additional meal of stuff that’s left in the pots that you don’t even want.
If you find yourself harboring some habits like these that you would really like to break, read on for some tips on how to notice and stop the behaviors that are getting in the way of your weight loss.
Tip #1: Have a Plan
You may have heard me say this before, but to lose weight riding you don’t need a diet, you need a plan.
They are restrictive, and they are someone else’s plan. If you want to truly lose weight for the last time you need to create your own plan.
A plan that is full of foods that you actually like to eat. A simple plan that you create each morning that makes sense for the schedule you have that day.
All you have to do is take about five minutes in the morning and write down what you are planning to eat each day. It shouldn’t be super restrictive. In fact, especially at first, it should just be what you normally would find yourself eating.
This will help you build momentum by proving to yourself you can stick to the plan.
What I do each day is put this in my journal:
It takes me less than five minutes. I simply put what I am having for Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, and Dinner. I either include dessert in dinner, create an extra “D”, or add it to snacks.
Believe it or not, just by having a plan you are already setting yourself up for success. This is because it actually takes effort to deviate from the plan!
When we have a plan we stop all of the mental chatter about what we are going to eat that day. The decisions have already been made, and all we have to do is follow the plan.
This is a great way to stop all of that mindless eating that we are in the habit of engaging in throughout the day.
Still…it’s not always going to go perfectly, so let’s move on to tip #2!
Tip #2: NOTICE When You Go Off Your Plan or Engage in a Habit That Slows Your Progress
Once you make a plan, take notice of when you deviate from it. If you find you are eating off plan, ask yourself why. What’s going on with you that is causing you to eat things that aren’t on your plan?
When we make our plan each day it’s important to reflect on the previous day and see what worked, and what didn’t.
If you found yourself staring down the fridge in the middle of the afternoon, what was going on? Were you actually even hungry? What did you grab? Was it healthy? Was it not healthy? Was it something that you actually planned to eat?
Actually noticing when we are in the habit of going off our plan is a very essential piece of eliminating that habit. If you are in the habit of scarfing down a bunch of food while you are making dinner just because it’s there, it’s helpful to first simply notice this.
Tip #3: Brainstorm Strategies to Interrupt and Stop the Habit
Once you are aware of the habits that you would like to change, you need to come up with some solid strategies to interrupt the habit.
Essentially, you need to, at least at first, make it hard for you to continue to be in a habit that isn’t bringing you closer to your weight loss goals.
If you find yourself plowing into the fridge the second you get home from work don’t beat yourself up about it, get curious about it. Ask yourself WHY you are reaching for food.
Is it on your plan? If not, ask yourself if you are actually hungry.
A lot of times we eat because we are bored, because we don’t really realize we are eating, or because it is an easy way of avoiding our emotions.
In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about how you can break a bad habit by making it harder/unattractive to engage in the habit in the first place.
This can be as simple as taking all of the sweets off the counter and putting them away behind a closed door.
I mean you know they are there, but at least this way you won’t find yourself mindlessly eating them!
Please note that I am NOT advocating for a full house purge. I have never believed that it is a good strategy to not be able to be around the foods that you mindlessly eat.
We want to bring awareness to the foods that make us feel out of control, and find ways to mindfully incorporate them into our plan.
The more that we practice this, the easier it gets to be around those foods. We don’t feel like we have to devour the entire bag of chips because we “never allow them in the house.”
A Final Note
Generally I feel like it’s more productive to focus on developing good habits than eliminating negative ones.
In fact, many times you will get rid of old habits automatically just by focusing on better ones! The old habits become more and more appealing.
Still, sometimes there is a stubborn habit that you just keep engaging in that you really don’t want to keep. When this happens, double down on creating a plan, notice when you are tempted to deviate from the plan, and brainstorm strategies to interrupt and stop the habit.
The more that you make yourself aware of the things in your life that you want to change, the easier it is to make progress.
You’ve got this. I believe in you. With attention and practice you will be well on your way towards getting rid of habits that are slowing your weight loss.