I am a person that is very set in my routines and habits. It is the one thing about me that I really would love to change. Especially when it comes to my weight loss journey, it could make things easier.
Some research has concluded that it takes us twelve weeks to change or break a habit. Well, I am fourteen weeks into my weight loss now, and I have to admit that my new eating habits are becoming more of a routine. Still, I do think that you really need to WANT to change before the twelve-week rule applies. Anyone can keep up a new routine for twelve weeks or more, but if there hasn’t been a fundamental change inside our head, the old routines will be back as soon as we hit the first pot-hole on our journey.
Through the years I have tried many different ways of loosing weight. The group I’m in now is the one where I personally have had all my success. It just seems to fit me. As I have mentioned before, I would like to be strong enough to do it on my own, and a few years back I went on a course funded by the government, to steer people into a healthier life as an individual and without groups. The course was twelve weeks long, built on the thought that this is how long it takes to change our habits. I did lose a stone or 7 kg during those weeks, but it wasn’t enough to change my ways forever; especially since the course ended three weeks before Christmas. A few mince pies and some chocolate boxes later, in front of the Christmas tree and my old, cosy habits were back.
Having said that, there’s no point throwing the baby out with the bath water. Ever since those weeks, I have kept the book we got with the course nearby and open on a specific page. On that page, twelve different behavioural changes are listed. These are small changes we all can do, that can have big effects in the long run if we keep them up. I will list those changes here in case someone would like to have a go. On the course we had a choice to change that little habit 3, 5 or 7 days of the week.
1. Choose healthier snacks. (No more than 300 calories.)
2. Get your heart rate up. (Increase your cardiovascular activity)
3. Make time for regular meals. (Aim for a healthy meal or snack every four hours.)
4. Practise portion control. (Use a balanced meal plate at main meals.)
5. Do some resistance activity. (Incorporate weight-bearing activity in your exercise plan.)
6. Don’t skip breakfast. (Eat a healthy breakfast within an hour of getting up.)
7. Cut back the fat. (Choose low-fat options and healthy cooking methods.)
8. Make the wholegrain swap. (Choose high-fibre starchy food options.)
9. Cut down on sedentary activity. (take the car or bus less, take the stairs more and cut back screen time.)
10. Drink smart. (Aim for 6-8 glasses of water per day.)
11. Lower added sugar. (Stick to recommended limits of alcohol and limit sugary foods)
12. Get your five a day. (Aim for a portion with each meal and two snacks in-between.)
There’s no rocket science in those points and any group you go to, for a change in lifestyle and to lose weight, will recommend the same things in various ways. I just feel it is nice to see, and hopefully get it into my head, that it doesn’t always have to be such big changes to make a difference. A few small tweaks in my old habits can do a lot of good. This is why I keep this particular list handy. When I feel I’ve had a bad day or week, I look at it to remind myself that quite a few of the points are habits of mine already. I may not always stick to them, but more often than not it is how I choose to live my life these days, and that can’t be bad.
This week I’ve lost 2Ibs or 1 kg, which I’m very happy about. It makes my weekly average loss 1 pound or half a kilo. That is a calm steady pace, which I absolutely fine by me.
Have a good week and I see you in 7!