Weight Loss: How to Build Habits That Stick
Many people struggle to develop and maintain healthy habits and there can be few harder habits to master
than that of healthy eating and regular exercise. I work with individuals who want to get back (and stay) on the path towards the vision they once had for themselves as healthy individuals. When it comes to weight loss habits (or any habits) you want to establish some key concepts to consider are the following:
Environment over motivation
Motivation is a fickle thing that can fluctuate greatly over time and it's incredibly difficult to control. If high motivation is required for us to make the changes to our lives and maintain healthy habits, then we are likely to struggle to consistently perform those healthy actions. Our environment is different. We have much more control over the physical environment we live in or spend time in. It is also a powerful mechanism for building better habits and maintaining them. Being deliberate about how we arrange our environment can therefore keep us on track long after our motivation has deserted us.
Start small and build from there
Many new years resolutions or similar moments of inspiration that propel us into action result in a dramatic change to our day-to-day living. These feel amazing at the time and we are excited about the future. We see this portrayed when we visit the gym in January and we struggle to find a parking bay let alone a treadmill as everyone is riding high on motivation. Come March, there is plenty of parking and your choice of treadmills available. However so many people go from a completely sedentary lifestyle to a 6 day a week gym intensive program, possibly having also invested heavily in a variety of supplementation. Unfortunately, few people take the smarter decision to introduce 1 or 2 days of light exercise a week, ingrain it into their weekly schedule, and then gradually add more exercise into their weekly activity from there.
Similarly, when people decide to embark on a new diet, they all of a sudden go from there normal sugar-rich, high carb diet, to a protein only or vegan based diet instantaneously.
Research has shown that habits that stick are made through small, incremental changes that are made over time, not from drastic, wholesale changes made overnight. From small manageable changes slowly can slowly build confidence, and from this can come big change.
Here is a great video explaining this concept in more detail:
Robbie Pearman - Counselling Psychologist
Cell: 074 588 3808
The Village Medical Centre
10-12, 7th Avenue, Parktown North