“Focus on just one new habit every two weeks. Master this routine first. When one habit is established, look at the next improvement you can work on.“
January is traditionally a time when most people try to change their habits. Whether it’s down to New Year’s resolutions of just an urge to start fresh, the motivation to quit smoking, exercise more and start eating healthier reaches an all-time high. But why is it so hard to make these healthy habits stick? Could it be something you’re doing wrong?
The Power of Habit
Freeletics trainer, John-Francis, believes that your habits are the only thing stopping you from eating healthy and accomplishing your body composition goals. Deleting old habits and exchanging them with new, healthy and conscious patterns requires a crazy amount of discipline, right?
John explains that in the beginning, you do need a lot of discipline.
“You only need great self-discipline until an action becomes a habit. Once a new behaviour becomes a habit, it takes less discipline to maintain. Your actions will become automatic.”
The trick is not changing everything at once.
“Focus on a single habit every two weeks. A habit that largely impacts weight and well-being. Something that brings you results. A habit that complements your goals.”
Small Actions, Great Results
First of all, think about your current daily eating habits. Which one of your meals can you improve? Is it your quick and easy breakfast, that you gulp down on your way out of the house? The lunch that you buy to-go in order to make it to your next meeting on time? Or your dinner that consists of pre-packaged and processed ingredients that you throw in the oven or microwave for ten minutes?
“Figure out a way to make at least one of those meals just a little more healthy. Think of it as a game: “How can I improve this meal?” Even if it’s just a minor change – it’s still progress. Let’s say you eat something sweet with loads of carbs in the morning and you feel anxious, sluggish and tired afterwards. Try to exchange it with a high-protein breakfast with less carbs and a little more fat. See how that works. If you like to indulge in desserts after dinner, work on finding something that gives you the same feeling of reward and relief. That could be a 10 minute walk after your last meal or watching your favorite tv programme with a cup of tea.”
More is less
“Instead of substituting foods, you could also simply add. This tends to be a lot easier. When starting a new diet, don’t reduce, restrict and forbid yourself of anything unhealthy and tasty. Add something instead. Like adding vegetables to one of your meals. You can even grab a piece of fruit after your lunch or throw in more protein to your breakfast. You can rarely go wrong with that!
Nutrition is simple, but not easy.”
Two powerful habits
It is not only the food on your table that is in desperate need of improvements. Let’s also pay attention to the way you eat your food.
- Chew more – Research shows that slim people chew up to 45 times per bite.
- Eat slowly and stop when 80% full – satiety kicks in about 15-20 minutes after your first bite. So take your time.
“I had to realize that nutrition is a complex system determined by habits, personal taste, social influences and the environment. A nutritional problem can’t be solved with a short-term diet. You have to get to the root, because the problem usually lies much deeper. “
With that in mind, let’s get to work tackling those new year’s resolutions one habit at a time.