Monday, May 20, 2013

Weight Loss Tips - How Habits Affect Your Diet Plans

To apply my weight loss tips and rules successfully you need to be motivated to make a change. The rules can't just take care of themselves; you do need to be prepared to put in a little effort. But in each of the 10 specially designed quick weight loss plans on my blog I've made it really simple for you to apply the rules highly effectively. All you have to do is introduce the rules one at a time. You'll be losing weight and boosting your health while taking small, effective steps to achieving that weight loss and keeping it off.

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This approach - setting a specific habit to groove, telling you why each rule will be beneficial, and offering you a support system to help reinforce the new behavior - has been shown to be one of the most successful approaches. So when you start any of the weight loss programs you can feel confident you are following a tried-and-tested method designed for you to succeed.

Understanding Habits

Before we begin, we need to understand a little about habits: what they are, how they are formed and how we learn new behaviors. This involves looking at how our brains work.

Weight Loss Habits

Like it or not we all have habits, little things we do on a regular basis. In terms of our health and weight, some of these may be positive and others not so positive. If you're going to make an impact on your weight loss and improve your health, there are some new habits you'll need to develop and groove and others you may need to ditch.

What Is A Habit?

A habit is a series of automatic behaviors in response to a specific cue. This may sound a bit of a mouthful but in real terms a habit is behavior we have got used to doing as part of our regular life. For example:At 8 a.m. you walk to your car and drive yourself to work. You stop at the coffee shop on the way to the office and automatically order a particular drink and something to eat; perhaps it's a venti latte and pain au chocolate. You always stop at the same newsagents to buy your paper and something to snack on. You automatically say 'Yes' to the doughnuts that get passed around the office at 11 a.m. A hunger pang in the afternoon makes you grab that chocolate bar or bag of crisps. It's a colleague's birthday and the first response is to arrange a box of chocolates. You have had a bad day at work so you devour the whole tub of ice cream after dinner without drawing breath.

We each have our own little habits - some of the above examples may be applicable to you while others may not but a habit becomes so familiar it's almost like tunnel vision. We just don't seem to see or think beyond our existing actions. Behavioral scientists explain that habitual acts are an immediate response to a variety of specific cues to which we are constantly exposed. These cues can be either external or internal. External cues can be:Walking past a vending machine, prompting you to crave chocolate. Meeting your best friend who you always have tots of wine and nibbles with. Going to your favorite Chinese or Indian restaurant where you know you always order excessively. Seeing the kids eat their afternoon tea.

Internal cues are things like hunger and pain. They tend to be true physiological messages from our bodies or reactions to our own feelings such as stress, anger, depression, joy or sorrow. Whether the cue is internal or external, we can respond without purposeful thinking or reflection, and often without any sense of awareness. So much so that before we know it we've done it again and again, grooving the habit so it gets stronger and stronger.

The challenge comes when we want to lose weight or decide to get healthier. What we fundamentally need to do is change some of our most familiar habits. Continuing with exactly the same set of habits you have already grooved will probably hinder your weight loss efforts, slow down your progress and lead to frustration. So to lose weight it's important to ditch some habits and groove some new ones.

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