If you keep choosing cheese curls over biceps curls, your home could have a lot to do with it.
“Your habits are more tied to your environment than you know,” psychologist Jeremy Dean, the author of “Making Habits, Breaking Habits,” said.
Eat enough chips on the couch, for instance, and you’ll automatically associate couch time with chip time. Our routines are so influenced by environmental cues that research shows it’s easier to change our habits in a novel setting.
“We see major shifts in behavior when people move to a new house,” Dean said. But you don’t have to relocate to start anew; you just need to become aware of the subtle cues that say “cake!” and replace them with healthy alternatives.
“The typical person makes about 200 food-related decisions a day, but she believes she makes 25 to 30. And it’s those 175 that you’re not aware of that can push you to eat more,” Brian Wansink, the director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab and the author of the upcoming book “Slim by Design,” said.
Here’s how to help your home help you get (or stay) slender.
It’s a widely quoted statistic: 95 percent of people regain lost weight. Such a statistic makes you wonder if you should even bother with the workouts and the healthy eating. Before you turn your treadmill into a sanctuary for unfolded laundry and hang-dry only clothing, you should know a few facts about why people regain weight and exactly where that astonishing statistic originated.
The year is 1959 and a small study out of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders concludes that 95 percent of people regain weight within a few months to a year of losing it. The study included only 100 participants and made a catchy headline that rapidly became a centerpiece in the mythology of obesity.
In 1999, two doctors set out to determine if this discouraging fact was indeed a fact. Dr. Wena Ring and Dr. James O. Hill conducted an analysis of the National Weight Control Registry and quickly identified more 2,000 success stories of weight loss and maintenance. This surprising information spurred them to compile more detailed data and survey the successful dieters. They found that on average, most dieters maintained a loss of 67 pounds for five years and 12 to 14 percent maintained long-term losses of more than 100 pounds – proving that the 95 percent failure rate was poorly founded.
So if success isn’t so futile, then why do so many people regain lost weight?
The wrong mindset
The number one reason people regain weight is the diet mentality. The word “diet” earned its reputation as a four-letter word because it has become associated with a period of deprivation and what some would classify as torture. For many, “diet” means a set span of time during which you must exercise superhuman willpower to resist delicious temptation and overwhelming pains of hunger at the end of which you can finally reward yourself with junk food favorites.
Very few individuals perceive the concept that healthy eating is not finite – it’s a lifelong commitment. Fad diets don’t work, because you can’t sustain that way of eating forever. Choose a healthy eating plan that incorporates whole, nutritionally balanced foods
I have worked with Amanda for years, and I have been thrilled by her determination, strength, and success. You will be encouraged as you read her story. The after photo was just now taken (7/16/13 at 5 pm).
Amanda M: “My weight has been an issue for me since my late teens. I started gaining in high school and by graduation was considered overweight. Over the years the pounds just kept adding up due to inactivity and excessive overeating and drinking. I’ve had success losing weight a couple times, both times by tracking calorie intake, but I was on a “diet” and as soon as I lost weight I’d return to my old eating habits and the weight would come back.
My lifestyle was mostly sitting, eating and drinking. I rarely got physical activity and when I did every joint in my body would ache. I was to the point where I would grunt and groan just putting on my underwear in the morning. I couldn’t find any clothes that fit and the embarrassment over my appearance had curbed my social activities and affected my marriage. I knew I had to do something but always had an excuse not to start. It was so easy and comfortable to just eat, drink and be merry and I didn’t want to give up that lifestyle.
Finally, at 37 years old, 5’8” and 224lbs, I saw an announcement at work that they would be starting a Weight Watchers group. We’d be able to attend the meetings at work with people we are comfortable and familiar with. I went to my first meeting and was instantly hooked on the program. It really does work. The Weight Watchers app for my iPhone made it so easy to track my food and activity and made me realize what smart food choices were and what foods to avoid.
I started slowly by experimenting with different foods and substitutions for the things I normally would enjoy. Now I’d much rather reach for some watermelon instead of cake or extra green beans instead of mashed potatoes and gravy. I still eat the foods I love, like steak and shrimp, but I watch my portions, load up on protein, fruits and veggies and season with herbs and spices instead of butter and oil.
One thing I realized pretty early on is that I’d have to cut out alcohol. I love wine. I loved a whole bottle of wine with dinner every night. I had to learn to love a glass of wine on special occasions. A day that ends in d-a-y is not a special occasion.
Once you start to pay attention to the nutritional information you see just how bad the average American diet is for you. You have to pick and choose the right time to indulge. The program I follow allows you to do that and doesn’t restrict you from enjoying those treats you crave.
After I changed my eating habits I started to see results within a few weeks and it inspired me to get active. I dusted off the old treadmill and started walking. Just walking. At first it was 30 minutes a few times a week but over the months I’ve increased the speed and incline and now spend about an hour a day working on cardio. I also mix in some strength and core training a couple times a week. It feels so good to be active. I have energy and strength I never knew I possessed and I can finally keep up with my husband and 10 year old son.
The change in the mirror is unreal. I’m amazed by how different I look and feel and my confidence is through the roof. I can’t count the number of people that have told me they didn’t even recognize me. My own mother in law didn’t know who I was when I saw her out in public the other day. It’s still hard to believe that I don’t have to shop in plus sizes anymore. I can actually go into trendy stores and the clothes fit! But wait, it gets better. I used to have so many health problems…heartburn, stomach upset, insomnia, the list goes on. Since I’ve adjusted my lifestyle all of my health issues have been resolved. I can’t remember the last time I had to take an antacid or was up tossing and turning during all night.
When people ask me “How did you do it?” I always answer “Eat right and exercise. You know everything they tell you to do.” I never say the word diet. Diet implies something you’re “on”. To maintain a large weight loss you need to find a healthy balance of calorie intake and exercise that becomes your daily routine. Setting small goals each week helped me to introduce changes gradually. These were just little goals like drinking enough water or eating vegetables with every meal. When you add these changes together they create a healthy routine. Tracking is extremely helpful to me too. Tracking makes me aware of my food and exercise choices and holds me accountable.
I’ve truly gone through a lifestyle change during this process and I will continue to track my daily food and exercise even after I reach my goal. I’ve lost 65lbs so far and have 15 more to go. It takes perseverance. But just keep at it and you can make these changes, too. It’s all up to you.
Remember, no one can do this for you. You have a choice and are in complete control. The ability to change is within each of us. One day I simply believed I could do it and I did. So can you.
by Alexander Heyne
There are a number of reasons why many of us fail to take control of our health.
Everything from time, lack of quality information, and motivation play a roll in our success or failure.
But there’s another set of lesser-known reasons why you aren’t as healthy as you’d like: the thoughts in your head.
Below I’ve profiled the top seven bad mental habits I see over and over, and how you can fix them.
#1 The belief that success is left to a special few
Some people seem to have this concept that people who end up really successful, healthy, and happy, are just the lucky few.
When you ask them how Mozart, Tiger woods, or top sports athletes are born, they’ll tell you something like “Oh it’s just their genetics, they were born that way.”
Say you have the goal of wanting to go from 50 pounds overweight, to fitness model. There are numerous dramatic stories like this on the internet.
But what if your mind is constantly telling you “Oh those people are just unique. They are the 1% who have willpower and discipline like no other human being.”
Chances are you won’t even do anything, right? You won’t get started.
Now what if I told you that I met someone who achieved the goal you want to achieve. And what if that person told me “Nope, I wasn’t born special, I just learned what I had to do, and spent 1-2 hours every day for two years doing it.”
Suddenly your mind expands and you begin to wonder: “Hmm, if an ordinary person can do it, maybe I can too.”
In fact, there have been numerous books on the subject, such as Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World Class Performers From Everyone Else and The Talent Code.
The conclusions of both books?
In the vast majority of cases, talent is created and forged every day, not born. This is as true for Mozart as it is for Tiger woods.
My point is this: it’s important to know that the people who succeed at changing their health, building a business, or improving their personal life are not special – they just take committed action.
#2 Thinking that your life, and thus your success, health and relationships are all outside of your control
One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from The Alchemist and goes something along the lines of this:
The greatest lie in the world is that, at some point, your life is run by factors out of your control.
You can always change.
It’s sort of like another saying: you can’t control what happens to you in life, but you can control your response.
This is extremely apparent today, where people are losing their jobs left and right. The vast majority of people end up complaining and saying, “There was nothing I could do.” Really? Nothing?
You couldn’t have been pro-actively meeting people, or bringing new ideas to the table, or taking on larger responsibilities to make yourself more indispensible?
The same is true of your health: some people act as if they are powerless to the food industry, or can’t fight their genetics.
“Oh, heart disease and cancer run in my family.” And apparently that’s all the justification we need to go eat junk food every day.
There are two ways to look at your health.
The first sounds a lot like this: “Oh, everything causes Cancer these days! Forget it, I’m just going to eat what I want.”
The second sounds like this: “My health is a priority and I’m going to do whatever it takes to figure out how to get healthy.”
You could read hours worth of success stories, of people who successfully reversed their genetic predispositions to obesity, heart disease, or cancer.
Just look at Jack Lalanne – one of the most famous health icons of the 21st century. Lalanne’s dad died young from a heart attack, but Lalanne lived to be 96 years old – and if you saw videos of him in his 90’s, he looked to be about 75.
The more you believe that you are incapable of change, the less likely you are actually going to take the action you need to improve your life.
#3 Thinking that sticking to a diet is all a matter of willpower
This whole laziness / willpower thing has unfortunately become the default belief in the health industry.
People that are unhealthy or overweight are viewed as lacking “willpower,” and those who are healthy are viewed as having lots of it.
I think that laziness is mostly a myth. It’s not that you can’t stick to a diet because you’re lazy, it’s because you have bad habits.
Habits happen automatically. That’s why we feel powerless against them.
One of the most important things I tell clients when I work with them is that it’s not a matter of willpower – it’s a matter of turning small changes into big habits.
For any of you who have tried fighting sweet cravings, you know that willpower is a weak soldier to fight the battle.
It’s pretty much impossible, and there’s a good body of research showing that sugar cravings function a lot like drug addictions and even affect the same receptors in the brain.
Would you ever tell a drug addict to just “fight” the cravings?
No, of course not! That’s why I challenge you to not view dieting as a willpower game – you will almost inevitably lose.
Instead, imagine if you picked one bad habit – and spent 30 days re-wiring yourself. Imagine what your health and life would look like after 12 of those (one year)?
#4 Trusting some new health expert on blind faith, rather than testing out the advice
It seems like every year there’s a new M.D. proposing some huge diet solution that will help save humanity.
Right now it’s the Wheat Belly diet. Diets aside, there are obviously some really good ones, and some really bad ones. But there are very few that endure and last.
For whatever reason, the health industry is filled with people who think they’ve “cracked the code” and at which point, the know-it-all hat comes on.
A friend of mine recently lost 50 pounds doing nutrisystem – so he began preaching the gospel of nutrisystem (despite the fact that a year later, he regained 60 pounds).
People seem to forget that there is one system that really works for everyone: experimentation.
Ignore the M.D. credential on most diet books. Ignore the rave reviews. Ignore all the junk and advertising.
If Dr. Zee has a new program that’s supposed to help people with arthritis, and you’ve got arthritis, try it and see what happens long term!
If Dr. Zoo has a “revolutionary, break-through” program for combating sugar cravings, just try it out before you begin preaching the gospel.
If Dr. Zed has a newly scientifically verified program for combating allergies… just try It out and see if it works for you!
If Dr. Zoy has a program guaranteed to make you healthier – get a blood test before and after and see the proof.
Once upon a time, I used to believe that there really was one universal human diet. But after having worked with so many people, I’ve realized that people respond very differently to the exact same foods, diets, or programs.
So, start experimenting! Don’t put your faith in the latest fad, or even someone with credentials. People still have beliefs and opinions – regardless of the M.D. next to their name. Trust results.
Read the rest here: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/the-7-bad-habits-of-highly-unhealthy-people/