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Are Habits Making You Fat?

Jun 19, 2008
For most people who are overweight, overeating is the result of habits formed over a lifetime. But the good news is, if you can take aim at those habits and see them for what they are the overeating and ensuing weight gain will end.

Humans are creatures of habit. Most of what we do in our life is because of habits we formed in our 'formative' years. That's why they call them our formative years. It's the time in our lives when we form habits and patterns to guide us through the rest of our life.

But often when the habit is being formed, the ramifications of that habit aren't felt for some time. These habits start with little changes; many times we don't even notice we've made them. They solve an immediate problem and all is well. However, it's often much later when they've become a habit we realize the problem we've created for ourselves and the situation is very difficult to resolve.

Many overweight people have any number of habits that together make what we are today. It's usually not as simple as, oh I just need to give up soda and other than that I eat a healthy diet. No usually, if we have one thing we need to change, we have several.

And if our habits have been in place for some time, we may have spiraled into such a state it may seem like the insurmountable challenge to correct the seemingly endless list of bad habits needing to be corrected. We eat food of poor nutritional value, which fails to nourish our bodies, so we're hungry and eat ever increasing amounts of food in an attempt to keep ourselves satisfied.

For instance, do you often find yourself eating in reaction to a particular feeling you have, a situation or state of mind? Many people eat if they're sad and depressed. Loneliness makes us want to eat a row of Oreos, but often being happy makes us want to do the same thing. Our emotions can trigger the need to eat.

These habits triggered by our emotions are often the most difficult for us to break because we are simply unaware they exist. Even when we do identify them, realizing we are in the emotional state that triggers eating in time to 'highjack' and resolve the habit is almost impossible.

As they say, hindsight is 20/20. After the fact, you can see the destructive patterns, but when you're in the moment, all your attention is focused on feeling better and your habitual belief is that food will make you feel better. It's not until the 'crisis' is over that you are able to look back and say, "Doh, I did it again."

Here are several suggestions to help you change your eating patterns:

-Take a week and write down what you eat each day, and any physical activity you do. I know, I know you hate to keep a log. Part of the reason we hate doing it is we hate seeing what we do. And yes, I know, you want to lose weight not keep logs. But you may be surprised how easy it is to keep. It only takes a few second to log in what you're eating, and when you begin doing so, you'll soon see the benefits.

-Quitting a habit you've had for years is extremely difficult. Replacing a habit you've had for years is relatively easy in comparison. Don't focus on stopping the old habit; focus on replacing a destructive habit with a good one.

-Remember, you've probably had these bad habits for years; it will take time to resolve them. Be patient with yourself. Chances are you'll slip up sometime on your road to recovery, but take heart; it only takes 28 days to develop a new habit.

-Focus on one habit at a time. You didn't develop all these habits at the same time, and you won't be able to fix them all at the same time. If you try, you'll be setting yourself up for failure. Determine which of your habits is the most detrimental to your health and diet success and focus on that one habit for the time it takes to replace it with a new healthy alternative. Once you've established a new habit to replace the old one, move on to the next.

No matter where you are in your quest to improve your health and diet, remember to keep your eye on the goal. It's not about the discomfort of the moment when you'd like to grab those Oreos or that slice of pizza. It's about that healthy body in great shape you'll have when you succeed. Once you replace your unhealthy habits, staying in shape and eating healthy will come naturally. You'll be one of those naturally thin people.
About the Author
For help with weight loss and diet issues, visit Top 10 Diets. B.J. Gordey is the owner of Top 10 Diets and the Editor of the Top 10 Diet's Health and Diet Tips Blog .
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