Oops! I Ate It Again!

In our last edition, I explored habit loops and how they relate to nutritional and fitness goals. I will continue this exploration by assisting you in eliminating your first obstacle in creating any new habit: Identification. The first step in creating any new habit is identifying the problem. The following is a real world example of an all-to-common obstacle preventing most of us from reaching our fitness goals.

Hunger Pangs Are a Pain!

I have a personal habit of eating when I get home from work (Recall the definition of habit is a regular practice which is often difficult to give up.). I’m typically exhausted (excuse) and the choices I make are quick, processed foods that are both easily prepared and consumed. This is the BAD habit. See, identifying the “what” was easy. Now I need to identify the “why” so that I can begin to develop a new habit and stop this after-work nonsense. I have surmised that I eat when I get home because I am utterly famished, starving and my hunger pangs/pains (both equally interchangeable) are beyond human reasoning. In addition, I am overwhelmed with the day and it all gets released when I walk through the door. Further, my blood sugar has dropped because the last time I ate was at least 4 or 5 hours ago. When the ‘Great Storm’ of blood sugar and hunger pangs combine, it is VERY common for one to lose all sense of care in regards to tearing open the first thing that remotely sounds appealing. This is likely beginning to make a lot of sense and sound quite familiar to many of us.

This results in a few things:

  1. I crave the simple carbohydrates immediately available in processed foods;
  2. Simple carbs will make my blood sugar spike, and then take a dive;
  3. Blood sugar must be regulated for optimal health and well-being;
  4. My body will not use these calories efficiently or effectively. I may see some added “fluff” if this continues over an extended period of time.

This was a fairly easy habit to identify. My “why” is VERY apparent. However, your “why” may be harder to determine. What are you really seeking when you eat? Are you truly hungry? Are you socializing with friends? Are you bored, emotional, or trying to suppress emotions? Is reading this making you wiggle uncomfortably in your seat? Good! Want to dig deeper?

Not Your Mama's Food Diary

Try keeping a food diary that details not your food, but the reasons you are eating. If you are going to happy hour because you want to see all your friends and have a good time – then write it down. If you didn’t eat most of the day and so you are starving – then write it down. See what happens. You might be surprised. Next on our blog agenda – creating a new, healthy habit.