Ever notice how unhealthy habits feed themselves.
They cause the exact feelings that we’re trying to avoid.
For example, you feel anxious, so you eat.
Because you eat, you feel anxious.
Worrying about your weight, you feel anxious, which causes you to eat to calm your nerves, which causes you to gain weight.
Soon, you’re feeling more anxious and worried, so you eat more, gain more weight, and feel even more anxious and worried.
More unhealthy habits, more anxiety, more weight, more problems.
You think resisting is the answer.
Resist eating = Problem solved.
But the more we resist, the more we want.
It’s hard to feel calm in a life filled with triggers.
We can only resist in the short-term.
In the long-term, our environment will overpower us:
- The office brownies will win.
- The drive-thru will conquer.
- The pint of Ben & Jerry’s waiting at home will triumph.
A more practical solution to changing unhealthy habits is to change our environment and reduce exposure to triggers…at least until we can get our brain on board.
It’s easier to avoid tempation than resist it.
- If the break room is too overpowering, stay out of it.
- If your favorite drive-thru is too enticing, take another route home.
- If Ben & Jerry’s is too seducing, don’t buy it.
In other words, trying to control yourself by resisting temptations will only work for so long.
Eventually, your willpower will give out, you’ll feel as anxious as ever, and you’ll react by feeding it.
Instead of mustering up more energy to resist, try adjusting your surroundings instead.
Redesign your environment to support healthier habits by reducing exposure to unhealthy habits.
In other words, feed healthier habits by starving unhealthy habits.
- Pack yourself a healthy, satisfying snack and eat it outside or in a calming space.
- Take a more scenic, peaceful route home.
- Keep a bag of your favorite frozen fruit in your freezer.
Of course, you have to keep feeding your healthier habits if you want them to stick.
You have to give your brain time to adjust and allow your new habits to become second nature.
In time, your worries and anxiety about food and your weight will fade, and you’ll have more time and energy for other healthy habits in your life.
So take time to observe your habits and ask yourself:
“What habits am I feeding?”
“How can I adjust my environment so it feeds healthier habits?”