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  • Ben Yates

Changing habits - One step at a time

Updated: Mar 9

If you're reading this then chances are eating healthily and managing your weight feels like a constant battle.


How many times have you promised yourself that this is the last time you'll ever need to diet?


You set off all guns blazing, full of motivation and willpower to succeed.


Only to find yourself slipping back into old routines and habits after a few weeks or months, and regaining the weight that you so enthusiastically lost.


You may blame your willpower, your environment, your social circles, events, the weather, the dog... who knows, but chances are the blame will be apportioned somewhere.


Yet, many studies are now starting to discover that weight regain doesn't happen to a few, it's actually the norm.


And, believe it or not, your lack of willpower isn't responsible.


For a diet to become successful and by successful, I mean that your weight management becomes a stress-free, enjoyable automatic process


- Your new behaviours must become habitual.


Read that again ^^


- The new behaviours you put in place must start automatically and subconsciously for them to be effective in helping you to lose weight.


Understanding the power that your habits have over your results is key to creating lasting change.


The power of habits


Up to 95% of the things we think, say and do fall into the habit category.


Take a minute to imagine what your world would be like with habits.


Just deciding whether to get out of bed in the morning, if you should wear clothes, brush your teeth, have breakfast and which route to take to work would leave you mentally drained.


And that's before you even step outside the house.


The truth is, much of what you do is on autopilot.


Behaviours learnt over years of doing, watching, learning and repeating bury themselves deep into your subconscious so when you find yourself in a familiar situation, a familiar action is needed.


The fact is, habits make life easier.


Now that might be a good thing or not.


Chances are that when you're dieting and you habitually eat cake in front of Netflix every evening, probably not a great thing.


A habit allows us to focus our very limited mental energy and willpower on where it is most needed throughout the day.


A habit means that you have already decided that something is beneficial to you and it no longer requires a decision.


Those we admire for having such strong willpower simply have good habits.


Jane at your weightloss group isn't eyeing up that second piece of cake whilst having her own internal version of decision-making World War 3.


Jane has gotten into the habit of stopping when she has eaten enough & now it has become her automatic behaviour.


What's the reward?

Habitual behaviour has three components:


The cue or trigger, the behaviour itself and the reward.