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As we struggle with the fact that the majority of Americans are either overweight or obese, wouldn’t it be nice to hear some straightforward advice?
We hear enough about good diets to follow -- and we try to obey the rules. But how can we rid ourselves of behaviors that defeat our weight-loss purposes?
Recently I came across two articles by experts in healthy lifestyles, and their words zero in on the simple act of breaking bad eating habits. Here are a few good pieces of advice to share:
- Rather than thinking it all boils down to willpower, focus instead on changes in routine.
Why? Because our brains can’t tell the difference between a good habit and a bad habit, only that any habit leads to reward. The trick is to replace the old bad habit with a new good one, explained Kerri Anne Hawkins, a registered dietitian and clinical instructor at the Tufts School of Medicine in Boston.
Hawkins gave the illustration of a man who routinely eats too much at dinner, perhaps because of a desire to finish everything on his plate. Simple change: a smaller plate at dinner, every time.
- Identify the cues in your daily lifestyle that are contributing to a particular bad eating habit, then decide how to change the cues for a better result. Practice the good eating habit over and over, Hawkins said, and if there is a lapse, start fresh at the next meal.
In my case, I am trying to break the bad habit of eating something sweet with my morning caffeine. The new habit: sliced apple with a dollop of peanut butter, even when that chocolate chip cookie is calling my name.
- “Confront your fears.” “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” “Announce your intentions.” “Find support.” “Break the pattern.”
These are just a few of the lively slogans that make up a graphic that accompanies a recent article by Dr. Mehmet Oz in TIME magazine. The graphic shows all the slogans encircling Oz’s well-known face, and it could well be a poster in everyone’s kitchen.