Change Your Habits: The Key for Weight Loss
“Tell me Lizbeth, how come you’re inconsistent about your weight loss program? How come you miss so many sessions? And are you still not eating breakfast?”
Lizbeth grimaced but defended herself, “I’ve been so busy lately that I don’t have the time for anything other than work and my family.”
I stayed contemplating the situation.
Every time that I see a client messing up and not following through in their weight loss or work out program, I think about my own struggles in life. When I remember about my own mistakes and successes, I empathize with them; I know that negative habits are hard to change. I have clients with different habits. Some have slowly dropped some of their negative habits, but other clients seem almost unable to do this. Over my several decades in life, I have noticed that people who are successful in any aspect of their lives are usually so because of their personal and daily habits. Habits are what shape the human being. We can define a person by his or her habits. It’s not easy to get rid of negative habits, but once people set a goal of changing negative habits for life, it becomes easier day by day.
As Lizbeth and I talked about her assessment and habits, I heard that she has some negative habits that undercut her weight loss efforts, such as watching television. Many people have such negative habits and they are a representation of such habits. As Carlos Cuauhtémoc Sanchez, psychologist and author, explains, “People are a reflection of their own habits. To get to know a person, all we need is a detail list of the individual habits.” In other words, people are how they live. They can choice between two types of habits: negative habits and positive habits. Something that people need to understand clearly is that all habits have consequences, whether they like it or not. Easy to conclude, negative habits bring negative results. In contrast, positive habits bring positive results.
To be able to succeed in weight loss and what I mean with succeed, I mean losing the weight and keeping it off forever, one needs to change negative habits. For example, from being a sedentary person and making poor food choices, to being an active person and eating healthily. As known, indeed, this process is not easy to follow, which is why many people relapse and give up new habits they are trying to acquire. Nonetheless, there are many tools that can be used to change your negative habits.
First, you need to be ready to change and not make excuses to yourself. You make yourself sacrifice short term desires for long term needs. For example, you may feel hungry and unmotivated some days. You feel like having an ice cream, or watching television, but you know you need to exercise.
Second, you are going to need repetition: We often forget the lessons that life teaches us. Many people get heart attacks or they are diagnosed with chronic diseases and they feel like changing right on the moment. However, when the pain is gone and people forget about the tragedy, they also forget about their plan of changing when they were depressed. Therefore, a constant reminder, or information, is needed to keep you in track.
Third, you need practice: It requires time and effort for the brain to understand that a new habit is being taught. As an example, if the individual is used to eating junk food and not exercising every night after work, it will require time for the brain to give up that behavior since the brain is conditioned to such behavior. Even though research shows that it requires 21 days to change habits, it may take longer depending on the time that the habit has been practice.
Last, set goals for yourself, both short and long term goals: It is important to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This will help you touch, smell, see, and almost taste your desired goals. Short term goals will lead you to the long term goals. For instance, to stop eating ice cream during the night, you could measure how much ice cream you eat and then set a goal of eating less every week. Eating one quarter less could translate into a considerable calorie reduction in a week. After one week, you could cut back further or substitute healthier sweet things, like grapes or cantaloupe. If you continue to do this, you could achieve the long term goal of stopping eating ice cream at night within one or two months, which in turn will help you with your long term weight loss goals.
Lizbeth is still struggling with her weight loss proposition. She wants to lose weight, feel better and have a better appearance, but like many people she wants a “magic pill or diet” to do it for her. She is not ready to change her life and is not going to get what she wants if she is not willing to work for it. According to professional psychologists, people do not change until they feel like changing from the bottom of their hearts. Only people who are ready to sacrifice time and put effort towards their goals are ready to change and will achieve those goals. In addition, people will never obtain positive results in their lives without persistent and consistent actions. Change your negative habits bu positive habits. The results are amazing. Your weight loss program will be easier than you think!!
“The miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance under the prompting of a brave, determined spirit.”
— Mark Twain
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