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Day 6 – The Power of Habit and Forming Good Ones

I made it three in a row this morning and I think I might be onto something. First, I have not made it to the gym at 5AM even once this week, but I did go a little later and it was actually quite fine. I ran into people I know two of the three days, chatted briefly and went on with my workout. So allowing myself a little extra sleep is good for me and doesn’t derail my exercise. I can do this.

I feel like I may have another scale victory on Monday when I weigh myself. I am not one of those people who weighs themselves multiple times a day. My weight can fluctuate as much as five pounds in one day depending on several factors so I don’t do that to myself. I won’t even weigh myself more than once a week this time around. Monday morning I’ll get on the scale and report back.

Success in this area for me is so much more than the number on the scale. I’m getting back to eating a normal amount of food and not eating in the evening. I am getting better quality sleep, possibly due to the exercise and I’ve been exercising. I know it’s only been three days but that is how you begin to form a habit.

I read a book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. In it the author tells us that a habit consists of three components. First comes the cue, then the action, then the reward. The cue is telling your brain to take the action, you then take the action and you reap the reward. To put that into a real-life situation, think of this. If you are a stress eater, say you have an argument with your partner. That’s the cue. It triggers you to take the action. The action is to eat a half a jar of almond butter (or your drug of choice). The reward is you have temporarily anesthetized yourself from the argument. But then, of course, you start to feel lousy about eating all the almond butter. At this point you’re on a roll, so you figure what’s the use and go on to whatever else is in your path. The cue is, you’ve already done the damage, the action is to eat more and the reward is more numbing. It’s an endless cycle that becomes habitual. But just like you formed this habit that doesn’t serve you, you can replace it with one that does.

When we form habits, there are neural pathways in our brains that are like roads. Each time we practice the habit, the pathway gets deeper. When we start to form a new habit, another neural pathway is formed. The old one remains but if we continue to practice the new habit, eventually it will become as deeply entrenched as the old habit. However, even though we form a new habit, the old pathway can easily be followed again if we fall back into old behaviors. That’s why it is important to work on the new, healthier habits as much as possible so it’s less likely that we will fall back into old routines. It takes work but you can indeed, teach an old dog new tricks.

In case you missed my post on June 30th, I am using this 31 day challenge to hold myself accountable for walking my talk. Several years ago, I was able to take off 135 pounds and essentially save my own life. I have regained much of that weight so I am working my way back down.

If you choose to join me on this journey, I hope I am able to impart some nutritional and lifestyle wisdom. Even though I may have gone off the rails temporarily I can still share some of my first-hand experience as well as my acquired knowledge and training to help you make the right changes for your best life.

As a health coach, I work with women who are facing serious health challenges like heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes or who have been diagnosed as having a precursor to a serious health issue such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar. I help them make food and lifestyle changes so they can get healthy, live longer and enjoy a fuller, happier, more energetic life. If you would like to have a free consultation about the health challenges you have and the improvements you would like to see in your health, click here to schedule a no strings attached call.

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