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Changing Habits

Charlyn Fargo on

Healthy eating, working out daily, losing weight -- it's all in the habits, the tiny little habits that add up over time to be big habits.

James Clear, author of "Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results," defines a habit as a routine or behavior that is performed regularly -- and in many cases, automatically. Changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you're willing to stick with them over time, he writes.

Clear isn't talking specifically about healthy eating habits, but good habits overall. When it comes to eating and working out, this approach can help to achieve remarkable results.

As we assess our own habits when it comes to eating or exercising, here are tips for breaking some bad habits and creating good habits:

No. 1: Reduce exposure. If you don't want to keep sabotaging your diet with dessert, don't bring the chocolate chip cookies and ice cream home. Instead, pack your cart with fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Prep meals and snacks ahead so there isn't the temptation to grab fast food.

No. 2: Make it unattractive. Put a picture of yourself at the weight you were happiest at on the refrigerator. Add your steps and goals to get there.

 

No. 3: Make it difficult. Increase the number of steps between you and unhealthy eating. And conversely, make it easier to eat healthier. Have a scale on the kitchen counter to weigh portions. Make it easier to go to the gym or work out at home.

No. 4: Make it unsatisfying. Working out with a friend increases accountability. Letting a friend know you're trying to lose weight can help motivate you.

No. 5: Make it obvious. Keep the cut-up fruit and vegetables in the front of the refrigerator. Make a big salad that you can portion and take to work.

No. 6: Make it easy. Invest in purchases that can help you lock in the right behaviors. Consider a bento box to take your lunch. Buy an ice pack or two to keep lunches cold. Can you invest in a treadmill at home to take the excuses out of going to the gym or walking in inclement weather?

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