Fighting a habit is essentially going against biology since the brain finds the route that requires the least amount of effort or resistance, which can feel strange. Habits can be adjusted. They became a part of you because they improved your life or assisted you in overcoming a challenge. People frequently want to change habits that make painful sensations easier in the time but have detrimental effects later.
Because people seek pleasure and avoid suffering, these are also the habits that are hardest to stop.
Therefore, it's no wonder that we establish routines that enable us to accomplish this. The internal tension arises from the fact that we also have brains that can anticipate future effects. Your brain determined that if you were going to keep doing something repeatedly and it was still helping you, you might as well set it up to do so automatically.
Automatic processes consume less energy than conscious, intentional ones. In fact, your brain actually prefers them – as the “autopilot” is switched on. This is precisely why changing habits can be so challenging.
Your brain is unconcerned by your decision to stop enjoying a habit.
Going against the natural current.
Your brain is not designed to handle change. As we all know, change is usually difficult to maintain, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to be done. When you break a habit, you are telling your brain that you don't want it to work the way it was designed to. You are basically saying to yourself, “I want to go against the flow of my natural ways.”
In our previous article, How-To Ditch Old Health Habits – Fitness Edition, we talked about breaking old habits through fitness, now it’s time to cover how to crack the bad health habit code through nutrition.
Just like starting out on the path of introducing a fitness regime into your life and how it’s highly recommended to take things slow, the same is true with changing your nutritional habits. Anytime we introduce a new habit into our lives, especially one that is vastly different than our current habit, in this case bad nutritional habits, your body will go through a period of ‘shock’. Not in the traditional sense, but more so in cravings. The shock to your system will greatly differ from person to person, as not everyone eats the same – obviously. Those that were previously consuming a diet high in calories, fat, and sugar, will definitely feel a high craving curve to break through than someone that previously consumed much less.
Addressing Your Triggers.
Every habit has a trigger at the outset. A script is created when your brain determines that an activity was worthwhile and you begin to repeat it.
For example, pizza – we all love it; actually, what’s not to love. Whether you desire pizza or not, you will order it if it's a Saturday night – simply because it’s what you always do.
Another example, even if you don't always feel like it, you go out with your coworkers for drinks at the neighborhood bar once work is done. Why? Because it’s what you always do.
And the cherry on top – dessert. How many of us have ordered that dessert at a restaurant, even though we are already stuffed from a full meal? It’s fair to say a very high percentage of us.
Point here is, to address the triggers in your life that can easily be changed when we actually spotlight them and make a conscious effort in shifting from the “usual” to breaking through and remaining in control of making healthy food decisions.
Repetition is key here. One day of healthy food choices, turns into 2 days, that turn into 4 days, that turn into a week, that turn into a month – you get my drift.
Don’t focus on the end goal, whatever that means to you, stay focused on the day ahead of you.
Instead of consuming a heavy, high calorie dinner, look to choose a lighter calorie meal that incorporates a range of nutritional value. Begin by remaining disciplined to this, three days a week. As your body begins to get use to this new habit, the old bad eating habits won’t be triggering you as much as they once did.
It’s important to note, that progress takes time. You need to remain diligent on your new path of nutrition. You can start with breakfast, lunch or dinner – whatever suits you and your lifestyle. Key is to just start. Get used to the new-new – trust me, your health will thank you for it.
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