I have a question for you. Do you ever get frustrated with yourself over the things you seem to do, without thinking?
Like maybe you find yourself neck-deep in a snack bag whenever you feel upset, even if you’re normally committed to your weight loss goal.
Or maybe you drink a glass of wine or two at the end of every workday, but kind of wish you didn’t.
I have good news for you. The things you do without thinking are often LEARNED behaviours.
This means you can also UNLEARN them!
But how do you do this?!
Well, it has to do with how and why we form habits in the first place …
Habits are simply actions you’ve repeated over and over, in response to a trigger. After a while they become automatic.
The trigger can be an emotion, a time of day, or something that happens around you.
Remember the story of Pavlov’s dogs – who salivated every time they heard the footsteps of the person who fed them? Because even before they saw food, they knew they were about to be fed?
Now I’m not saying we’re exactly like Pavlov’s dogs … but it is a cool story to illustrate how it works.
Basically, when you repeat an action over and over again, your brain creates a link between the trigger and the action and then strengthens it over time.
TECHNICALLY, what the brain is doing is creating a pathway inside itself that automates what you do next.
Then, it rewards itself with a shot of feel-good hormones.
So, in our snack food example, what’s the trigger? It’s feeling upset.
Maybe at some point in the past, you tried to distract yourself from feeling sad or lonely by eating sweet or salty foods.
Well … eventually your brain linked the trigger and the action.
Your brain LOVES habits because it gets a hit of feel-good juice every time it uses the pathways it creates.
So while you’re heading for the snack cupboard or the wine fridge, your brain is basically running on auto-pilot.
Meanwhile, you’re busy thinking about how mean your boss is, all the things you need to do, how bad your day was, or wondering what you’re going to wear tomorrow.
What is your brain NOT doing? Being PRESENT in the moment.
And that’s the key to short-circuiting the loop!
When you notice yourself on autopilot and engaging in a habit you want to quit, it’s time to BE PRESENT.
Ask yourself … WHY am I reaching for chips? Or wine? Or whatever?
This interruption forces your brain to be MINDFUL, PRESENT, and ENGAGED.
So next time you are reaching for junk food or the wine bottle you really don’t want or need, stop and ask yourself WHY.
Then replace the action with something you DO want to become a habit.
Go for a walk. Do a breathing exercise. Make a healthy choice.
What habits are YOU trying to break? What habits are you trying to create for yourself? Tell me all about it below!
If you need help with your healthy habits … schedule a Weight Loss Breakthrough call and let’s talk!
Remember, I’m always here to support your success and help you reach your goals!
(Makes 6 servings)
- 1 lb (450 grams) asparagus
- ½ cup (120 ml) balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4-5 large carrots, cut into matchsticks
Prepare the asparagus: Trim the tough ends and cut the remaining stalks into two-inch (5 cm) pieces. Blanch the asparagus by placing it in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Drain and cover asparagus with icy water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.
Make the marinade: Combine the vinegar, oil, maple syrup, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large heavy-duty zip-top plastic food storage bag, and shake it up to blend. Taste and just seasonings (adding more maple syrup, salt, or etc.)
Add the asparagus, and make sure it’s well coated. Place in the fridge for 2-3 hours to marinate.
Add the carrots and let marinade another 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. Serve and enjoy!