The Cure-All for Breaking Unhealthy Habits

Taking a toy away from a baby is sure to produce tears, but give a baby another exciting toy and, before you know it, the first toy is forgotten.

We are nothing more than big babies – and we do NOT like things taken away from us. Whether it’s food, money, simple luxuries and even people, we tend to hold on with a death grip. And, the moment we think one of them is going to be taken away, we hold on even tighter, and even begin to cry before it’s gone.

However, replace one of your favorite things a new favorite thing, hobby or friend, and you won’t even realize that something you once valued is replaced and not even missed.

Learn from the Master

Most parents know all the tricks when it comes to taking something away from a child. When a child is caught holding something that could be harmful, a parent knows how to take that object away with minimal resistance. They either have to quickly snag it and entertain them to take their mind off of what they just took away, or they have to replace that object with something equally exciting.

The same happens with food. Every mother knows you don’t go anywhere without a pacifier. As a baby, the pacifier is a true baby pacifier. As a toddler, it’s normally a toy, blanket or baby doll. As a child, it could be a video game, barbie doll or action figure.

Nothing has changed. We are just bigger babies, with bigger toys and stronger wills – and we’ll throw a tantrum in a minute, as soon as we think we’re about to be stripped of something we really like.

Habits are nothing more than things we do that we like. We like to sleep in, we like to eat junk, we like our sweet comforts – even if they are bad for us. The problem is, we forget the age-old trick of the need to replace something bad for something good. We need a pacifier.

We can’t expect to be completely satisfied if we are constantly taking stuff away without replacing it with something just as good. I see this a lot with dieting. Someone will stop eating junk-food cold-turkey and not eat anything at all, or expect something lame like celery sticks to pacify them. Come on people! No wonder you fail! You need a better pacifier.

Going without, or eating something as boring as a celery stick, is no replacement for french fries. However, find a snack you actually enjoy that maybe more calories than celery, but fewer calories than french fries, and you have yourself a happy dieter.

The trick is to replace a bad habit with a really, really good habit you enjoy. This will require some trial and error, and like anything, it will take an adjustment period. Think about it. Half the vegetables we eat right now, we probably would have never tried (or kept trying) as a kid if mommy didn’t make us. Not only do we mature, our tastes change.

We have to try new foods and new exercises until we find the ones we like. If we don’t, then our diet or exercise will be temporary. But, when we find stuff that works, then our new healthy lifestyle will be forever – and we won’t even miss our old ways.

Stop That – Start This!

Stop That: Drinking fully leaded coffee
Start This: Drinking half regular and half de-caf coffee, or regular tea (which has 1/2 the caffeine as coffee)

Stop That: Meeting a friend for coffee
Start This: Meet a friend for a walk or run

Stop That: Drinking wine at night
Start This: Sip on flavored decaffeinated hot tea with natural relaxers in it like Chamomile

Stop That: Eating processed cereal
Start This: Eat high-fiber whole grain cereal or hot cereal (oatmeal) with fresh fruit

Stop That: Snacking on Doritos and flavored chips
Start This: Pop, or air pop, homemade popcorn with light oil and flavored Nacho Cheese popcorn salt

Stop That: Meeting friends out for dinner
Start This: Meet friends during the day at the beach, lake, or park for fun and R&R in the sun

Stop That: Eating ice cream after dinner
Start This: Eat a Publix low-sugar fudgesicle, low-cal ice cream treat or protein shake

Stop That: Using food as stress-reliever (which leaves you feeling even crappier)
Start This: Use exercise as a stress-reliever (which leaves you feeling better)

Stop That: Sleeping in on Saturdays
Start This: Run or walk during the time you normally sleep. You won’t miss the sleep or the time – and you’ll have more energy.

Stop That: Eating high carb side dishes at night
Start This: Eat more dark green veggies. You can eat more and lose more!

Stop That: Relying on salt to boost taste
Start This: Use more seasonings, lime juice, hot sauce and fresh herbs

Stop That: Drinking sodas
Start This: Drink more water, fresh brewed iced tea and/or seltzer waters

These are just a few ways to turn you bad habits into good ones. There are so many more!
What bad habit have you replaced with a good healthy habit?

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About Bonnie Pfiester

Fitness Columnist and Lifestyle Coach, Resident Trainer for Designer Whey, Fitness Advisor for FitStudio, powered by Sears, FitFluential Ambassador and Owner of Max Fitness Club, home of BCx Boot Camp in Vero Beach, Florida.

Posted on September 18, 2012, in Diet & Nutrition Tips, PFIT TIPS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I have compromised a lot over the years to be what I am now at almost 55 & it all has been worth it!!! 🙂

  2. I have been into fitness all my life. I just had a tummy tuck four days ago. I really need to heal so I canget back into my zumba and hard workout and learn to eat better. so how do I count my calories

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