More than 40% of the actions you take in a day aren't decisions, they're habits. If we can alter your autopilot mode, we can destroy your bad habits and finally get you lean!
A habit can be described as;
a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up
You will spend approximately 40% of your day in autopilot
Your morning routine is probably very similar most days. From the way you brush your teeth, to the way you get your hair ready
Your drive to work will be habitual (I mean how much can you remember about your drive to work this morning?)
Even small things like the way you instinctively put your hand over your mouth when you cough or sneeze
But they can be anything. I recently read a story about a primary school teacher who left her job to work in a corporate firm. She found herself instinctively asking her colleagues if they'd washed their hands after going to the loo like she did with her her 3 year olds!
These are all behaviors we perform every single day
Just like the way you're breathing while reading this. You're not consciously thinking about it right?
Our brain subconsciously repeats certain tasks and behavior patterns throughout the day
So how can our habits lead to weight gain and make it so hard to stick to a healthier lifestyle?
The Habit Loop
The habit loop is something I picked up from an incredible book called "Atomic Habits"
The author James Clear explains that there are 4 stages of a habit
Let me try and get inside your head for a moment and predict how these 4 steps are causing you to gain weight
It's 7:30 pm and you're at home in front of the TV watching a movie (cue). There's no point watching a movie without snacks right? (Craving), so you walk to the kitchen cupboard, grab the crisps and biscuits (response) and binge out on the sofa (reward)
Perhaps you've just taken your children to swimming club (cue) . You're packed up and heading out the door when your children spot the vending machine (craving), so as a treat you buy them both some chocolate and something small for yourself (response). Now you're driving home with a bag of malteasers on your lap (reward)
Maybe you're at your desk working and notice the clock strike 10:30 am which means it's time for a coffee break (cue), you head to the break room and make yourself a cup of tea. It would be rude to have a cuppa without a couple of biscuits right? (craving) so you grab a handful of digestives (response), sit down, put your feet up and enjoy your biccys with your break (reward)
Do any of these sound familiar? Do you see how those cues can cripple your fat loss results?
Can you now see why you keep getting cravings when you're watching TV, or on your lunch break!
Your body now associates you sitting down watching TV as a binge eating hot-spot and it wants its reward!
Now, you're likely not a client of mine, so I don't know your lifestyle or cues, so this next parts down to you
Note Down Your Cues
Your next task is to review your day-to-day life and spot where your "slip-ups" are
What I want you to do is grab a notebook or a piece of paper and either put it in your handbag or keep it with your mobile and keys at all times
I want you to write down everything you eat in a column on the left. You don't even have to worry about portion sizes at this point in the game if you don't want to
So mine this morning would read;
5x Eggs (+)
3x Rindless bacon rashers (+)
Next to the foods name I want you to write if this behavior is positive or negative (which you can write as + or -)
Maybe this afternoon I walk into town and stroll past a bakery (cue), spot my favorite pastry in the window (craving) walk in and buy one (response & reward)
I would write;
2x Chelsea buns (-)
Once my days complete I can look back at my food log and spot where and what my cues are
By acknowledging where I'm going wrong I'm not only becoming more accountable for my actions but I'm also less likely to fall into any "traps"
If I can highlight my cues, I can find ways around them
Now I'm not saying you need to stop watching TV, taking your kids to swimming club or having a 10:30 coffee break
But spot these cues and find a way around them
You could swap your crisps and biscuits for healthier alternatives, or focus on stopping altogether
That might sound ridiculous, me telling you to just stop, but if you spot your cues, you're one up on your bad habits
You can spot that this is usually where you diet takes a turn for the worst and focus on remaining strong
If you really want results then use that willpower I know you have
It takes as little as 21 days to destroy a bad habit
So stay strong and you will become healthier and leaner!
I have people ask me all the time about their willpower to not eat crappy foods
Late night binging is a huge problem area for most, but now you've read this article I want you to understand that your cravings are from habits that you have created
If you created them, you can destroy them
Understand that these cravings are natural at the moment but they won't be there forever if you do something about it
In 21 days, you can not only destroy the bad habits, the cravings, the binge eating and the weight gain, but you can also strengthen your willpower
So spot your cues, make a plan to eliminate them and start becoming healthier, leaner and more confident as of right now
Grab a piece of paper and begin.
P.s - If you need help creating healthy habits and spotting your lifestyle sticking points. Book yourself in for a free 15-minute coaching session with myself. I can help make you a sustainable plan and help unravel any confusion. BOOK HERE