How Easy is it to Break Your Bad Habits
Do you have any bad habits? Are you aware of your bad habits? Would you like to break them? Have you tried before and failed? Would you like to create a new healthier habit instead?
It is amazing how many of us have bad habits and struggle to break them. I know, I used to have such a bad habit of always having a bar (or 2 or more) of chocolate 🍫 or cookies 🍪 with every cup of tea that I drank. What I didn't realise at the time was, that due to the fact I was drinking on average 5 cups a day, I was also eating at least 500-600 calories a day before I considered anything else that I ate! 😱 I never thought of it before as it was just my daily routine, but it was an awful one. The scary thing was that as I was getting no nutritional value from the bars of chocolate and I was putting my body into a sugar rollercoaster. Hence my weight gain and feeling so unwell and unfit. 🤧🤒👎
When I was starting my health journey, a person said to me - "give me 28 days and I will change your life forever." My immediate thought was "yeah right!!" In my head there was no way that I could give up my chocolate bar with my cup of tea, a glass of wine and all the carbs that I ate. I really was a Carb Queen. But I was willing to give anything a try as I felt so awful.
I thought it would be very difficult as I had such bad habits but at the end of the 28 days I was feeling pretty good. So how did I do it? What I found I had to do, was to replace a bad habit with a new healthier habit. When you only take away, you will always feel as though you are missing out on something, however when you introduce something new and better to replace it, you feel so much better.
What happens when you break a bad habit?You often hear about people that give up smoking ending up putting on lots weight. They normally say that it was the stopping smoking that caused the weight gain but it doesn’t really tend to be. One of the reasons that this weight gain happens can be due to the fact that they need to find something to do with their hands - they replace cigarettes with food. So for every cigarette they would have smoked, they will have something to eat instead. If you take into account that the average smoker will smoke between 10-20 cigarettes a day, this is a lot of extra food intake.
Now with the invention of e-cigs and vapes, people that are giving up smoking are not turning to food as much. I do not agree with these products, on health grounds, I don’t feel that there is enough research on these products with reference to long term damage to the body. If you watch someone that is using one of these e-cigs, they tend to continually have one in there hand, and I would be that they are actually using it more than they ever smoked!! They have replaced one habit with another - it is not the greatest replacement but you can see how it works.
The key is to replace the bad habit with something that is beneficial.
The first Saturday on my health programme back in 2013 was very interesting. The hardest time that I found in the first 28 days was the very first Saturday night. You see, when I was doing my weight loss programme, I was doing it during the winter months. Our Saturday night routine was to cook a lovely family dinner and enjoy a bottle of wine with it. Then once we had tidied up, we would sit in front of the fire and finish off the bottle of wine.
On that very first Saturday I had no problems with doing without the wine during our meal, but when we were sitting in front of the fire - well that was totally different!!! I was sitting for a while and my husband was asking me what was wrong. I said I wanted a glass of wine. His response was - have one! In my head, I really didn't want a glass of wine, but it "was" my Saturday night routine!! I said no, but knew that I had to do something different or I would be looking for one very soon.
What I did, was make myself a fruit salad! I sat all evening nibbling at it. An hour later my husband asked me if I still wanted a glass of wine and I told him no! What changed? You see it wasn't the glass of wine that I wanted, but something to do with my hands. Once they were occupied with the fruit salad I no longer felt the need for the wine. I totally enjoyed my Saturday, watching X-Factor and the "craving" was gone. I went through nearly 3 months of not drinking any wine and really didn't miss it.
Nowadays, I no longer have the habit of drinking a bottle of wine on a Saturday night. Most Saturday's we don't, but sometimes we do, but it is no longer a habit. More than often, my husband will ask me if I want a glass of wine and my answer is no!! Nearly 6 years after doing my weight loss programme and I haven't let that old bad habit creep in!
Why has the bad habit not crept back in?
I would say that the main reason for it not coming back into my routine, is due to the fact that I did without if for over 28 days, I found a replacement AND I felt so good with my new healthy lifestyle that I didn't want to go back to my old unhealthy habits that left me feeling so awful! RESULT!! I got over the first 21 day hurdle and never looked back.
How can you break your bad habits?
Firstly, one of the most important things that you need to do is to recognise that you have a bad habit that needs to change. That is one of the biggest things! Once you recognise it, then you need to really decide that you want to change it. If you have food issues, this is where I can come in with the SMASH Programmes. I have a proven system that will help to support your body whilst it is going through the "withdrawal" process. I will also give you tips and solutions that will ease the process too.
Secondly, you need to track what you are doing. What you track, you succeed at! Give yourself 28 days to break your bad habit. Only focus on 28 days, don't think of anything further than that, otherwise you will get overwhelmed by the whole process.
Thirdly, replace the old bad habit with something that is going to be beneficial to you. Really think about what you would like to do, achieve or be going forward. Then make a decision based on that. When I was replacing my bar of chocolate with each of my cups of tea, I created a new healthier chocolate treat. It is a chocolate protein bar and it is so yummy. We now have these in our fridge all the time and due to the fact that I have them, it means that I don’t go back to my old bad habit of something really unhealthy with my cuppa. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the recipe and I will send it over to you.
So, if you are thinking about starting a new healthier routine, and need some help with creating new habits, give me a shout. I can help you with ideas of things that you can do instead of your bad habit.
Yours in Health and Happiness