Updated: Apr 28, 2020
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💥💥 For the next two weeks, I am sharing one #healthyhabit to practice and keep ourselves accountable to being our best selves every day during self-isolation due to COVID-19 💥💥
If you're just joining us you can catch up and review all the previous days.
Day Seven: Set A Clean Slate Policy
DAY 9 - Focus On One Habit Change At A Time
As a #nutritioncoach, most people who seek my help intuitively know how important nutrition is for feeling, performing, and looking their best. Most also know they need to follow some #nutrition plan but have no idea where to start. Or there’s so much to correct; they try to change EVERYTHING all at once! Its overwhelming and pretty much a set up for failure. No wonder why the wheels fall off the wagon after a few days.
Our shelter in place experience is throwing all of our routines out of order. For some of us, our less than ideal nutrition habits are in full effect because like many, we use food as a coping or calming mechanism.
Then we get frustrated with ourselves for engaging in behaviors that do not support us living our best lives in mind, body and spirit. And the cycle of "dieting" or "restricting" due to shame and self-flagellation starts all over again.
We aim to white knuckle through all the things we want to change.
STOP. PLEASE. Can I let you in on a little secret? That doesn't work in the long term.
Research shows that changing a single behavior at a time, the likelihood of retaining that habit for a year or more is better than 80%. When you try to tackle two behavior habits at once, chances of success drop to less than 35% and below 5% for three. By addressing #onething or behavior at a time, you will reduce stress and be far more successful at achieving long-term change.
Do ONE THING (ONE HABIT CHANGE) at a time is what anchors my coaching practice. So to get you going, pick one thing about the way you eat where you know it will make the most significant improvement to your nutrition. Focus solely on it for two full weeks. If you can get that under your belt, then continue for one more week. If you can be consistent for 21-days, then add one more behavior to try.
The goal is to set yourself up for success, decrease your stress, and engage in a strategic and practical plan that snowballs into changed nutrition behaviors overtime.
Based on the latest research in the psychology of behavior change, ADDING something to your routine has a far greater impact and increasing the chance of success than eliminating things.
To add a behavior, ask yourself: “What’s the one thing I could do right now to feel better about my nutrition?” Chances are you know what you specifically need to do. Here’s a shortlist for you to pick from:
Eat breakfast every day
Increase your fruit and veggie intake to 5 servings per day
Eat lean protein with each meal and snack
Make smart carb choices at each meal (whole grains and vegetables)
Walk 10 minutes per day
Increase your water intake to 8 glasses per day
Now, eliminating can also be successful. So instead of thinking of deprivation or restriction, I'd encourage you to think of what a REPLACEMENT behavior can be. How about:
Getting up and clearing the table immediately after eating the dinner meal versus sitting around and grazing even if you're no longer hungry
Going for a short walk instead of indulging in a late-night snack
Swapping out your sweet tooth indulgence at 2 pm (coffee and candy for example) for a protein shake
Hopefully, you get the idea. The list, however, is literally endless and can be structured to your unique needs. Anyone struggling with consistency with their nutrition and fitness will find the suggestion strategies helpful, but if you need other ideas, please reach out!
And now for some homework, here's the full book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg courtesy of YouTube.
Ideally, you should practice this one new habit for a total of 66-days before adding on the next. But I'll cut you some slack, and ask you to start with 21 before moving on to the next.
It's an interesting experiment and having done many 66-day habit change challenges, I can tell you that you'll learn a lot about yourself.
Let me know which nutrition practice you picked to work on to make the most significant impact on your health, performance, and body night now.
Questions? Need help? Want to talk? Reach out. I'd love to connect and hear from you. Remember, we're in this together. I'm here to help.
Author: Deb Preachuk, BRS, BPE, CF-L1, Pn-1, is a Comprehensive Certified STOTT Pilates Instructor, Level 2 Foundation Training Instructor, TBMM Corrective Exercise & Posture Alignment Specialist, and the founder/owner of Pain Free Posture MN.
In addition to running PainFree Posture MN, Deb is a Fitness Coach at Orangetheory Fitness and teaches regularly at the Apple Valley, MN location.