The majority of Americans are overweight and our sedentary habits are only making that statistic grow. We all can comprehend that this is a negative thing, but why do people continue to make unhealthy choices? Is it a genetic defect, a lack of knowledge, environmental causes or something else. If you asked me, I believe that most people just need to start slow, gain momentum and understand their motivation to improve.
We all have habits. Take a moment and think about your day. Odds are that you wake up about the same time each day, eat the same foods, drive the same route to work, eat at and handful of restaurants for lunch, order the same things when you go, talk to the same people, hang out at the same places, etc, etc. We all do it. It is human nature. Now when it comes to losing weight, we have to examine those habits and see if they are helping or hurting our efforts to lose weight.
I have a quote in my gym that says, “Momentum goes both ways.”
I would wager that a young child could tell the difference between a healthy meal and an unhealthy one. Given the choice between and apple and french fries, its easy to know the healthier choice. Should we go for a walk or watch television? Should you get some sleep or stay up playing video games? Should you eat ice cream every night? Is sugary cereal really helping you lose weight and feel better? As we examine our days, it becomes easier to spot unhealthy habits. Its no surprise why some succeed and others struggle with their weight. Its simply a matter of habit. Habits develop momentum, become ingrained in our days and sometimes years will pass before we address them.
Did you take a couple minutes and write down your daily habits?
If not, please do. Becoming conscious of your habits is the first step in making better choices. You can do this for every area of your life, but today I want to focus on health related habits like eating, sleep, exercise, etc.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Did I get 6-8 hours of sleep?
What did I have for breakfast?
What did I have for lunch?
Did I exercise?
How is my stress level?
What I see typically happen, is that people simply react to their day. They are like a boat without a rudder and fail victim to the days events. In order to lose weight and become healthier, its important to plan beforehand and actively navigate through your days.
For starters, lets just start with a few simple habits. After reviewing your daily habits, choose one of two major things that you see that are hurting your weight loss efforts. Maybe you drink soda, eat fast food once in a while and watch television every night. How about we replace the soda with iced tea? To avoid fast food, maybe we can put some healthier snack in the car, office and at home. And instead of watching television every night, maybe we can commit to taking a walk outside, going to a gym or simply doing something active. We don’t need to eliminate every bad habit right away, but we are going to start improving. They key is to start and over time we develop momentum.
As we continue to make better choices, our confidence grows, we start to win every week and you’ll begin to feel better about yourself. Your new awareness of your habits has opened your eyes and you understand what needs to change and how. After about a month you will start to see physical and mental improvements that get you excited. This new found excitement will give you the confidence to make more changes and to try new things. The key is to stay aware of your habits, keep making an effort to improve and never forget why you are making these improvements in the first place.
Lots of people want to lose weight, but only a few make the necessary changes. I believe that the ones who succeed are driven from within. If your motivation is high enough, you will find a way to make it happen. In addition to your small daily habits, take a few minutes and ask yourself why you want to lose wight. Why is important to you and really find the root cause. From my experience, the more emotional the reason is, the more likely you are to stick with your habits, gain positive momentum and continue making choices that lead you toward your goals.
I truly hope you become aware of your habits, develop better choices, develop some momentum and are fueled by your desire to improve. Hopefully, next year, you will look back and smile at how far you’ve come.