How to Identify Bad Habits

November 11, 2009   2 Comments

What is a habit? A habit is an acquired pattern of behavior that often occurs automatically. Okay, we are not studying for our SAT's here - but we need to start on the same page about what we are addressing.

How to Identify Bad Habits

We all have habits which serve us well. For example, brushing your teeth before you go to bed or saying "Thank You" when you leave a store.

We don't think about these things, we just do them. We have acquired these behaviors probably because we were taught them by our parents and they are important things to do.

But, what about acquired habits which don't serve us well? Like a mid-morning scone from Starbucks, or Potato Chips when you are watching TV. These are snacking habits that lead to weight gain and have no nutritional value.

They often occur automatically It is automatic to grab the chips as you walk to the TV. It is automatic to be hungry at 10:30 AM and take the elevator down to the Starbucks.

The first step toward acquiring healthy habits is to identify the unhealthy habits.

For example, when I was working in an office, I acquired a mid-afternoon cookie habit from a wonderful bakery. They had these amazing peanut butter cookies. At about 3:30 PM every day I wanted to take a nap. Instead, I went out and bought a cookie. It added about 150 calories to my day.

How did I identify the habit? I got laid off from the job. Then, at about 3:30 PM, when I was at home searching for jobs, I wanted something sweet. My body was habituated to having that cookie and only when I was away from the cubicle did I realize it.

Probably the best way to identify your unhealthy habits is to write down every food that crosses your lips for a day.

Even if you journaled for one day, you would see that sometimes you are eating because you are hungry and sometimes you are eating because it is a habit.

Can you identify any detrimental snacking habits? Please share in the comment section below.

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Such a fantastic post! So true, the challenge of resisting habitual or "temptation" snacking... I love your food diary suggestion - I keep one quite frequently, and it's a great way to evaluate big meals and little nibbles alike! The detrimental habit I have to catch myself with most frequently is psychological hunger instead of physiological hunger - if something smells really delicious, I'll often feel as though I'm truly hungry, and have to remind myself that I know I'm not really, biologically hungry, and I'd better wait until a proper mealtime or snack-time... :-)

great post! And it was so wonderful to meet you :)

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