When you decide to lose weight by eating healthy; until you establish the new habits to support the lighter body you want, you’ll have to stay alert to the way you were eating and what you were thinking when you created an overweight body.
In other words, you have to stop the habits that got you to this place where you want to lose weight, and establish new habits that’ll get you that healthy body you want.
A habit becomes a habit when you think and do something over and over (about 21 days) until it’s automatic. Once it’s a habit, good or bad, you no longer have to think about the action in order to do it.
When you are establishing a new habit, you have to be mindful of the thought that created the old habit in order to be successful at changing.
I had to strip my kitchen of the stuff that was making me fat
I was 65, when I lost 35 pounds, so don’t give me any guff that you’re too old to lose weight. I knew I’d be trying to talk myself into my old ways of thinking (and subsequently eating) every time I opened the cupboard or the refrigerator, so if I wanted to eliminate that constant self-bickering, I had to strip my kitchen of the stuff that was making me fat. (For me, carbs were the culprits.) I dumped all the sugar, flour, rice, pasta, ice cream, corn and any processed foods like bread and cereal. That way I removed the possibility of those arguments and reduced the chance to talk myself into eating something to one place, the grocery store!
You can’t eat it if you don’t buy it
I realized the main habit I had to establish was to stick to a grocery list. I wrote in my book, The Mouth Trap: the butt stops here! that I had what I called the parking lot talk with myself, every time I bought groceries. I’d sit in the car before I’d go in and give myself a lecture. Something like,
“Okay, I’ve got my list and I’m going to stick with it. I know there’ll be a hundred temptations, but if I remember what I really want, (to lose 35 pounds) I’ll stick to my list. And if I stick to my list, I’ll get to watch a movie tonight as a reward.”
It wasn’t easy at first because I kept bumping into the in-your-face lure of advertising for cookies, candy, cakes, cereals and such in the super markets. But as the habit of staying away from carbs at the market set in, it got easier and easier.
Ambush the action and put back
whatever you’re tempted to put in your cart
Being mindful of an old habit in order to bring in a new one is tricky because the very meaning of a habit is that it’s automatic and you don’t have to think about it. In the beginning you’ll discover you’re doing a lot of catching yourself in the act. When you do, it’s important to ambush the action and put back whatever you were tempted to put in your cart.
Self-discipline is remembering what you really want and as you establish wonderful habits in line with your intentions, you’ll find you don’t have to ambush your actions or talk yourself out of something you decided you wanted at the moment, but you really don’t want.
I’d like to give you a free chapter to The Mouth Trap: the butt stops here! It’s called A Big Fat Lie and I share the latest scientific research on a low-carb lifestyle.