Tip #52

 

The Habits –Lean people lead lean lives …it’s their habits which make them lean.

The specific habits you form to lose weight are very personal, but here’s an idea to get you started:

  1. Eat whole foods — whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, non-fried protein — instead of sweets, fried foods, processed carbs. This actually entails a few habits, like grocery shopping, cooking. Or ordering healthier choices (without all the sauces) when you’re out.
  2. Exercise each day — walk, do some bodyweight exercises, run, do a short intense workout, etc.

What you do depends on what you can stick to, what level you’re at, what you have access to, etc.

What specific foods you eat depend on what you like, but I’ve found that sticking to whole foods (that aren’t fried, that don’t have sauces) makes a huge difference in weight.

How to Form the Habits

Habits are formed by tying a habit to a trigger, and repeating it a bunch of times (let’s say a month if you do a daily habit) until it becomes automatic.

The problem is sticking to it long enough that it becomes automatic. And it’s difficult to do that when you’re stuck in old grooves — your old habits make creating new habits harder.

We’ll solve that in this habit plan:

  1. Pick one habit to replace an old habit. Start with just one habit for now, to make it more likely that it’ll stick. Let’s say you want to eat more vegetables. Instead of snacking on chips or sweets in the afternoon, snack on carrots/broccoli and hummus (for example). Or if you normally check email when you wake up, instead go for a walk or do 5 minutes of bodyweight exercises.
  2. Keep the habit small. We tend to be ambitious and do a lot at first. Then we crash and do nothing. Don’t fall for this trap, and instead do a small habit (5 minutes a day) until it becomes ingrained. Later you can add to the habit (walk or run for longer, for example). But in the beginning, keep it small if you want it to stick.
  3. Focus on the enjoyment. If the habit feels like a sacrifice, you won’t do it for long. So instead of thinking, “I have to do this” think, “I get to do this.” And enjoy the process. Then, the habit itself becomes the reward.
  4. Have some accountability. Commit to doing the habit to a small group of people you care about. It can be your family/friends on Facebook, your following on Twitter, your crew at school. Log your habit daily, share them, stay accountable to them. For extra fun, commit to doing something really embarrassing if you don’t stick to the habit each week.

That’s the plan. It’ll help you stick to a small habit for long enough for it to become a part of your lifestyle.

Then repeat. Do it again in 3-4 weeks with another habit, then another.

For example, you might start with more fruits, then create the habit of walking each day, then drink water instead of soda, then add some pushups and bodyweight squats, then eat a salad with your lunch and dinner, then change your breakfast to steel-cut oats with nuts, cinnamon, berries and flaxseeds, then add some weights to your workout, then eat whole grains instead of that gooey pasta and white rice you’ve been eating.

Bam. Habits created, weight lost, life changed. I’ll be waiting for a picture of a leaner you in a few months.

 

— Jaime Brenkus Health Tip 52