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Unlocking The Weight Loss Puzzle: The Importance of Habit

Kickboxing Classes Summit NJ

The definitive keys to maintaining a healthy body weight are to exercise on a regular basis and make smart food choices. These are certainly not secrets and most people are well aware of their importance. Unfortunately, without implementing the proper habits, most folks will know what to do, but will fail to do what they know.  

Ultimately, everybody who succeeds at maintaining a healthy body weight and fitness level makes exercise and healthy eating a lifestyle. In other words, they have habits that they practice on a regular basis that lead to health and fitness. Their success is not achieved through occasional bursts of activity like crash dieting and short-term exercise programs.  It is through small daily disciplines that they succeed.  

It has been well documented that the key to success in almost any field is mounting a consistent effort in critical impact areas. For example, businesses that succeed are consistently excellent in critical impact areas such as marketing, providing an above-average product or service and managing cash flow. These businesses identify the areas that are most important to their success and become excellent at them. We must do the exact same thing if we are to achieve our weight loss and fitness goals.  

“Success Leaves Clues.” – Jim Rohn 

There is an excellent book by Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit, I highly recommend. The author has pored through research, conducted interviews and intensively studied the psychology and physiology behind our habits as human beings. As a corollary of his studies, Mr. Duhigg uncovered two habits that dramatically increase one’s chances of succeeding to lose weight and become fit. He refers to these as “keystone habits,” or habits or small changes that have a ripple effect on multiple areas of a person’s life. 

If you’ve followed my blog for any period of time, you will discover that I have discussed both topics ad nauseam. However, I feel it is useful to get a fresh perspective from someone who is grounded in academia. I find it is sometimes necessary to hear the same message from different sources before accepting its validity.  

Habit #1: Exercise   The Power of Habit:  “When people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other, unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly. Typically, people who exercise start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. It’s not completely clear why. But for many people, exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.” (p. 109)  

If you just get out and exercise once per week it can literally change your life. This conclusion is based on multiple studies in publications such as Public Health Reports and Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health. I firmly believe the habit of regular exercise is the keystone habit for healthy and fit adults.  

Habit #2: Food Journaling   The Power of Habit: “It was hard at first. The subjects forgot to carry their food journals, or would snack and not note it…Eventually, it became a habit.  Then something unexpected happened. The participant started looking at their entries and finding patterns they didn’t know existed. Some noticed they always seemed to snack at about 10 a.m., so they began keeping an apple or banana on their desks for mid-morning munchies. Others started using their journals to plan future menus, and when dinner rolled around, they ate the healthy meal they had written down, rather than junk food from the fridge…Six months into the study, people who kept daily food records had lost twice as much weight as everyone one else.” (p. 120-121)  

Much like the exercise habit, study after study concludes that food journaling is a keystone habit that leads to weight loss success. I believe that even if this habit is discontinued after 6 to 12 months, most successful participants have developed the habit of keeping a mental food journal as they go through their daily lives, which leads to continued success.  

1+1 = 3  

If you truly want to get fit and maintain a healthy body weight start exercising just once per week and start carrying a food journal right away. Starting both keystone habits at once will provide a  powerful synergistic effect that you will pay almost immediate dividends. Plus, you will be light years ahead of anyone who is “spinning their wheels” on a crash diet or exercise program.

Kickboxing Summit NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one person at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

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March 28, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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