What Habits are Holding You Back from Your Weight Loss Goals?

Why does it feel so hard to make necessary changes in our lives to meet our goals? Change is uncomfortable and can feel overwhelming and sometimes impossible. No wonder people get stuck in the cycle of start, then stop, then think about stopping next week when working toward their health and fitness goals.  We all have habits that have become so perfunctory in our everyday life that our subconscious mind will fight tooth and nail against all logic and desire to change in order to keep things exactly the way they are. Despite our health goals, if we don’t devote serious energy into changing the long-standing habits that are responsible for where we are, then we will always have the potential to “fall off the wellness wagon” and regress.

What are habits?

Quite simply, habits are a cycle made up of a cue, a routine, and a reward that our subconscious minds have learned to expect over time. The longer out habit cycle has been in existence, the deeper the grooves are rooted in our brains. Despite a common misconception, habits can never be completely erased from our minds if a familiar cue is presented. Once the habit is formed, the only way to “break” it is to either eliminate the cue or change how we respond to the stimulus. Sounds easy enough, right?

Changing a habit is no walk in the park. as I’m sure you have witnessed.  Nut, if you have a goal of becoming a healthier version of yourself, the willingness to change, the willpower to see that change through, and the ability to give yourself grace throughout your imperfect journey, you can and WILL make it happen!

For me, not snacking in the evenings was a habit that was derailing my health goals.  Typically, I would go all day being what I felt was “perfect” with my nutrition.  Then, 4pm would hit and I wanted to eat everything around me that did not align with my goals.  I would start grazing on foods I was making my three sons for dinner, which did not always fit my vision of nutrition for myself.  As I started to unpack the reasons for my snacking habit, I realized that a big cue for me was hunger due to not eating enough calories or frequently enough during the day. The routine was then unhealthy snacking in the evenings, and the reward was feeling satiated and content.

How to break the habit cycle

When I became aware of the cue that were causing me to snack, I felt absolutely determined that I could change. The obvious change was to remove the cue by consuming more healthy, protein rich foods during the day, but that was not always possible. So, I developed new routines for this habit loop, which which included making a hot cup of bone broth at 4pm to sip on while I prepared meals, or I started the dinner making process with chopping fresh veggies, such as cucumbers and celery to munch on while I worked.  If the “cue” stayed the same, so did the “reward,” but my new “routine” took my weight loss to a whole new level.

Through identification of the negative habit loops in my journey, elimination of the cues whenever possible, and the development of several healthy replacement routines, I began being pushed closer to my goals rather than stalling out or being pushed farther away. Once I learned how to break my habits down that were no longer serving me into the habit loop, I was able to initiate lasting change.


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