How to break bad (food and other) habits

Bad food habits are so easy to develop (treating yourself to chocolate chip cookies every day at 3 o’clock, ordering takeout when you’ve worked too late to cook.) And they can be the hardest to break, because you need to eat, whether your choices are good or bad. (Plus bad food habits taste so good!) But a habit is just a behavior you engage in over and over, often mindlessly, and believe it or not most habits are not that hard to break. You just need to expend a little effort. If you have a bad food habit (or even just a bad habit) you would like to break, see the tips below.

First, identify your habit and what’s behind it. Sounds too simple, doesn’t it, but you need to understand your bad habit to break it. Are you treating yourself to cookies for an afternoon slump pick-me-up, or are you bored, tired, stressed, or maybe just hungry?  Breaking your bad food habit will become so much easier once you know what’s behind it. It’s no good developing a strategy to give yourself more energy in the afternoon if your problem is you’re starving! It might be helpful to even keep a journal or log about your bad food habit “ when does it occur, where are you (home or work or both), how long does it last, how you feel once you give in.

Come up with a strategy to break your food habit. Once you have identified what’s behind your habit, come up with several ways to break it. If you need a pick me up in the afternoon at work, try going for a walk, even just around your building if you can’t get outside. If your problem is hunger, plan out some healthier snacks that will tide you over ˜til quitting time “ baked chips and salsa, yogurt and fruit, even cheese and crackers is better than cookies. If you’re making bad food choices because you’re tired, take a look at how you can adjust your schedule to get more sleep, or just better sleep. And if it’s stress, think about some non-food habits you can adopt “ the quick walk mentioned above, a chat with a  friend, or any other stress“busting habit that doesn’t involve chocolate!

Fake it ˜til you make it. The best way to break a bad habit is to do something in its place repetitively for about three weeks “ studies have shown that’s how long it takes for a habit to develop. So commit yourself to performing your new, healthier habit (taking a walk, eating healthier snacks) for three weeks “ that’s only twenty-one days. Hopefully that will be all you need to be on your way to breaking your bad food habit.

Other tips. If you find you are engaging in your bad food habits while performing other activities (eating ice cream while watching the news, snacking on chips while checking your e-mail), stop! Focus on one activity at a time, please. And also remember to reward yourself when you break a bad habit “ treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure, or even a massage for every week you manage to keep those bad habits at bay. Before you know it you’ll have broken your bad habit, and be looking great, too!

 

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Tags: bad food habits, bad habits, breaking bad food habits, breaking bad habits, healthy habits

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