So the other day, my friend and I were having lunch, and we were talking about how difficult it is to change habits. She was telling me that she needs to drink a Coke every day. I then recalled my aunt’s bad habit, which is to drink Pepsi all day long. It really is interesting to know that people have habits that they know are bad for them, yet they continue to harm themselves. We could get into discussions of smoking and alcohol, but I am referring to small daily food habits. When I was a teenager, I needed a candy bar every day at lunch time. Now that I think of it, I crave and indulge in my chocolate habit almost every night. I have gone from candy bars as a kid to Hershey’s Kisses after dinner. Is that a bad habit?
So, how do we break habits? Change one small thing a day. Rather than a Pepsi with dinner, have an iced tea, or my favorite an Arnold Palmer. Maybe rather than coffee with breakfast, try green tea. Yogurt rather than ice cream. Have you tried dates? Oh man! They are super sweet. There was a time when I actually was able to eat a few dates rather than chocolate Hershey’s Kisses. It is true folks, it can be done.
Habits are psychological. If you reward yourself with something, once you recognize that you have made a small change, this is a way to change a habit. Let’s say you begin eating healthier for a week. At the end of the week you can reward yourself with a Coke, or chocolate, or even a slice of pizza. I actually recommend this. It helps with changing bad food habits. One other way to help break a food habit is to go slow. Only change one thing at a time. Maybe “cold turkey” doesn’t work for everyone. Change your breakfast from cereal to a healthy meal replacement shake, like Herbalife (that is what I do), or even a hardboiled egg and strawberries. Eat an earlier dinner. Cook chicken, rather than eat at KFC. Eat a protein bar, rather than a candy bar. When you are hungry and you need to make the decision to eat, choose the healthier option. Choose a salad with a protein in it, rather than the burger.. when you go to the restaurant. Choose the food that is NOT fried. Oh, also, writing things down helps break habits. Write your commitment down. Put it on a “post it note” and hang it in the bathroom or on the fridge. Write down that you will eat some potato chips on Wednesday, knowing that you are very healthy on Monday and Tuesday. These are just some ideas about how to break habits.
I also heard that it takes 2 weeks to break a habit. If you can manage to change one thing for 2 weeks, then you should be good! Habit broken! I think 30 days is better. If you can do it, or without it, for 30 days, you are golden!!
Now, go try to break a bad food habit!