Friday, July 1, 2011

From Environment to Habits

This is a followup from my previous post on achieving goals.  Achieving goals can be very difficult.  This is especially true when you set yourself up to fail, as many of us do.  How many of us try to lose weight, yet keep buying Doritos as a snack?  Or try to stop drinking yet have that six-pack in the fridge?  Or try to stop smoking, buy spend our Friday nights in bars filled with cigarette smoke? 

The two most important things we can do are the first two steps in that older post:  setting up our environment and fixing our habits.  No, it's not easy to do either, but not working on these two is about as useful as shooting ourselves in the foot.  If you truly want to lose weight, ditch the snacks.  Don't have a free-for-all snackfest to get rid of them, throw them away, don't buy any more, and don't let anyone else bring any in.  Buy fruits you already like to snack on.  Or cottage cheese, yogurt, or whatnot.  There are many snacks that have a much lower calorie count and higher nutritional value than chips and candy.

Setting up your environment, aligning it to your goals, makes changing your habits much easier.  This is partially because you don't have a choice; you can't eat snacks you don't have. 

Will it be easy?  Of course not.  You will still have the cravings toward the older habits.  I did when I started losing weight this year.  I snacked on pretzels.  Granted, it was one of the better snacks, but still not good to eat as many as I was.

Changing your habits at a time, while slowly changing your environment, is a good way to do it.  I gave up on regular soda a while ago and then on all soda (with a few rare exceptions) at the beginning of the year.  Now I avoid all sugars (when possible) and try to avoid processed food. 

Did I mention I've lost 15 pounds this year?  I'm back to my college weight.  I'm aiming for 10 more pounds this year while slowly working on my muscles.  That would put me near my high school weight or so, but a bit stronger.

Trust me.  If I can do it, so can you.

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