Bad Habit Relapses happen. What do you do about it?

I think it must be the post race blues or something.  Now that my race is long gone (one week), Bad habits are returning in droves.

Q: How to break the Bad Habit Relapse?

A: Take Action immediately.  The sooner you can re-focus your actions on good habits, the quicker the bad habit will ride into the sunset.  The longer you let a bad habit fester, the more difficult it will be to remove from your vernacular.

In case you need a reminder, last week, I finished a triathlon in 3.5 hours.  Not bad, and I still have so much to say about it.  Yet, my blogging habits have not yet recovered.  Writing is a habit just as eating and exercise.  With any habit, consistency is the key.  I’ve been nothing but an inconsistent blogger this summer.  I’ve been so focused on my own health, my own fitness, and my triathlon, that I’ve put many other projects on the side including this website: simple weight.  Off that side-track!

Return of my Killer Bad Habits

Late Night Sugar Binges

In one night, I had a bowl of ice cream and a half a bag of Twizzlers.  In another night, I had a whole bag of Sour Patch Kids and a half of bag of Twizzlers.  Now, I’m not talking the friendly snack sized items.  I’m talking more the movie sized candy bags.

Sept 6 was the first day I did any exercise since my Triathlon (Aug 29) (I weight lifted for about 20 minutes).  In addition, one thing I noticed especially earlier in the week, my appetite was just out of whack. I wanted to eat anything and and everything I could find.

My work at home productivity has nose-dived.  I guess after one exerts so much effort and so much focus, its only natural to crash a bit.

The key I think is getting back on the bicycle and re-focusing both literally and figuratively.

3 Steps to Break your habits:

  1. Identify the Bad Habit.
    example:  Eating mindlessly late at night.
  2. Describe the Habit in detail and try to look for root cause.
    example:  When do I eat mindlessly at night?  I use Sugar & Carbs to improve work productivity.  What is causing the lack of productivity?  Energy low & lack of mental focus.  Possibly Lack of plans and/or lack of goals.
  3. Take Steps to replace the Bad Habit with Good Habits.
    example:  Return to an immutable exercise schedule.  Find a race to focus on.  Do a better job of identifying projects and categorizing next actions.

How quickly can one get refocused?

I know for me, having a race really helped me focus. In fact, it focused my action so much that: My next-action task is to find my next race.

In the meantime, I’ve created an off-season workout schedule to do some base-building again.

Sunday:  Weights

Monday:  Treadmill, Bike, or Rest Day

Tuesday:  Weights

Wednesday:  Swim

Thursday:  Weights

Friday:  Treadmill, Bike, or Rest Day

Saturday:  Swim.

This week will be a little altered due to the holiday.  I lifted Weights on Monday instead of Sunday.  So, I’m going to have to adjust the week. In addition, I have to build some flexibility into my schedule due to my changing consulting/freelancer work combined with my runner wife‘s crazy work schedule.  Navigating workout times is always fun.

The single most important thing for me though is to jump back in the pool, on the bike, or pound the pavement consistently!

I’m still trying to figure out a writing schedule.  As I said before, just like my exercise needs to be an immutable force in my life, scheduling consistent writing is required.  Subject to change, I’m thinking Tuesday and Thursdays will be my publishing days for now.

How can I help you break your bad habit today?

Pick and Commit Time to Exercise, 10 minutes a day. Ground Hog Day 2009 Fitness Resolutions.

Groundhog Day is here and gone, but there is still time for you to resolve to be better.

David Seah, the first person I know to talk about Groundhog Day Resolutions explains his GDR ideas. Leo at Zen Habits talks about Groundhog day resolutions too. It is in the air!  So, is 6 more weeks of winter regardless of whether the Groundhog saw his shadow or not.  (Hint:  the First Day of spring is:  March 20.  Count the number of weeks from Feb 2, 2009 to March 20, 2009)

So, What is Simpleweight’s Ground Hog Day Resolutions?

Number one: I know I can do a better job at convincing you (and I) that we can and will achieve our fitness goals. I know it, and I will help you to know it! It is imperative!

Number two, and more importantly: Our GroundHog Day Goal is to become physically fit. That Goal is too BIG! however, we need it that way. As I wrote in my previous Groundhog day post, Begin With The End In Mind, we must become absolutely certain where we want to go. So certain, that we believe and know it is inevitable. Remove the fat talk from our consciousness and replace it with fitness talk.

Some suggestions about goals:

  • Break out a map (a piece a paper).
  • Draw a line of where you are to where you want to go.
    • If you don’t know where you are, then write down everything about where you are now.
    • If you don’t know where you want to go, then write down everything about where you want to go.
    • Then keep that in your mind.
  • Then, break this big elephant into small bites. We must start small in order to make good habits.

As we begin to create our new selves, creation and being creative is a habit we must form just as a our fitness habits must replace our fat habits. So, how do we build this creative habit? In Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, the first step she talks about is the “Rituals of Preparation”:

When you have

  • selected the environment that works for you,
  • developed the start-up ritual that impels you forward every day,
  • faced down your fears,
  • and put your distractions in the proper place,

you have cleared the first hurdle. you have begun to prepare to begin.

Tywla Tharp

Wow. That is a lot in just one paragraph. I added the list and bold for emphasis. In order to create creative habits, we must make rituals. Rituals are things we feel impelled to do consistently. For some, that means to attend church everyday or every week. For others, it means praying five times a day. For basketball players, it means shooting your free throws in the exact same form every time. If we want to create good exercise and food habits, we have to be boring at first. We have to create rituals. We have to be consistent everyday.

Homework exercise:

  • Decide what time of day you are going to exercise every day for the next week.
  • Decide how much time you plan to exercise.
  • Decide what type of exercises.
  • Decide where you are going to exercise.
  • Decide why are you exercising.
  • Write this time and what you plan to do on 7 different 3 x 5 index cards.
  • Put the index cards next to your alarm or on your mirror or somewhere you will have to see them!
  • Set your phone alarm, set your watch alarm, set your clock alarm, set your computer alarm, and set your spouse alarm. Do whatever you have to do to meet this goal for the next 7 days! Each Day, pick up your card, go to the appropriate place and exercise!

Homework Hints:

Make this exercise time a ritual that is so rigid and so small, that it’s almost impossible for you to fail. Failure will not be possible. Guess, what we will do the following week. Increase the time and keep increasing it until we get to a net-caloric effect, but for now, we start small. We have to.

Mental thoughts: people who are not committed to exercise will ask themselves, how can I fit exercise into my day tomorrow. People who are committed ask themselves, how can I plan my day around my exercise time. Are you committed? Do you really want to become physical fit and achieve your ideal body? If so, change the questions you ask yourself.

Resist the urge to start exercising 60 minutes everyday. You are changing habits. People gradually become out of shape and sedentary. When we come out of the womb, we’re not super fat overweight babies. As we grow, most children are naturally active and moving around. We gradually learn to become sedentary, so we have to gradually learn to become active. If we do it too quick, we generally see people fail and over-whelmed. We know failure is not an option. So, start slow.

Homework Recommendations:

For those of you who need recommendations, because you don’t know where to start.

  • When to exercise?: First Thing you do when you get out of bed is to exercise (you might need to use the restroom, take a drink of water, and put your exercise clothes on and then exercise!)
  • How long? 10 minutes.
  • What Exercises? Anything. Do Jumping Jacks for ten minutes, Do stretching. Do Yoga, Run in place. I don’t care as long as it is something physical and you are pushing your body beyond what it normally can do. The goal is really to make the exercise a habit. If you need more stringent recommendations, I think you’ll see the most benefits from High Intensity Strength Training (we’re not talking heavy weight lifting, we’re talking weights that make you tired when you get to repetitions 7, 8, or 9.) Possible Exercise plans: The pattern that Jorge Cruise uses in the 8 minute workout is an excellent starter plan. Also, the Fitness Ladder Exercises from the Hacker’s Diet is another excellent quick starter workout. Remember pick something you love. So, if you love being outside, then go for a 10 minute walk.

I was reminded today, that big websites started out small. The first Amazon was nothing in comparison to what it is today. The first city began with a one room meeting place and then evolved into skyscrapers. Our Fitness habits will start small, we’ll build a strong foundation of habits that we’ll layer on top of. We’ll add biometric habits, eating habits, and more exercise habits all of which will make up the Slow Weigh to long term weight management and weight loss.

Dream Big, Start Small, and Continually take action! What’s your Ground Hog Day Resolutions?

Your Fitness Bicycle Follows Your Habitual Inner Eye.

As my last post implied about restaurants, I was on vacation for a bit.

Upon returning from vacation, my writing time, my family time, my work productivity, my exercise habits, and my simpleweight development time have been competing for attention as demonstrated by my recent drop off in simpleweight posts. It’s amazing when one’s commitments begin to compete how people react.

  • Some people buckle down, pick one thing and get right to it.
  • Other people multi-task, and do little things from every piece.
  • Other people become overwhelmed by the forest of projects that the tasks that are trees get lost and ultimately procrastination sets in.
  • Other people trim their obligations.
  • We all follow our Inner Eye trained by our Habits.

Since humans are creatures of habits, regardless of your response, all of us tend to slip in to old habits.  I know I have.  My eating quantity is up, my exercise is down, and my emotional state is directly related to that.  While reading the web as I love to do, I noticed this:

When the schedule gets squeezed, exercise and diet are the last things to cut from my daily routine.  –some commenter on some blog somewhere.

That’s a great mind-set.  Health and Fitness should be one of your top priorities.  I know I can help improve it.  In fact, I believe when you improve your diet and exercise, the rest of the commitments tend to fall in place.  It’s a balance between your passions, your fitness, and your spiritualism/science.  When one is of out whack, the rest of them follow suit.

Here’s a good analogy:  While driving a car or riding a bicycle, if you look to the right, you will start to move towards the direction you are looking.  It’s a balance.  The same came be said for our fitness habits.

If you let one of your habits veer off course, the rest of your habits will follow.  The reverse can be said.

For example, I noticed if I start exercising, I feel good, and then without thinking I start to become conscious of my eating habits.

Another example, a friend of mine and I went to a baseball game.  I ate a hot dog, and he ate a salad.  — Huh? A salad at a ball game?  Well, the backstory is the friend is highly motivated to eat healthy and exercise.  In no uncertain terms, his doctor said exercise and eat healthy.  Wow, what motivation.

Now, my friend asks, instead of how am I going to fit that run in,  how am I going to fit in everything around my running time.  The exercise time is non-negotiable.  By changing your self-questions, one changes their habits and ultimately creates the healthy balance.

Where is your inner eye looking?  How has that impacted your fitness habits?

Eating Healthy, 30 minutes Walking, and 60 minutes Quiet Thinking fixes Health Problems

Just another reason to eat healthy and exercise.

As reported by Will Dunham from Reuters, Dean Ornish conducted some studies on men with prostate cancer who elected against surgery for remediation.  To try to combat the low grade cancer: the men in the study:

  • Ate Healthy,
  • Exercised 30 minutes a day, and
  • Meditated | Prayed | Thought for 60 minutes a day.

Guess what happened?  In three months time, they lost weight as expected, but even more encouraging is they actually changed Genes.  The healthy lifestyle activated some disease fighting genes and deactivated some unhealthy genes.  WOW!

Read the Original News source: Healthy lifestyle triggers genetic changes: study

I know many a people who say they can’t lose weight or can’t get healthy, because they have bad genes or they are big boned, or you name the excuse.  Well, here is a study that says even if you have bad genes, you can get healthy with lifestyle changes.  To steal a phrase from someone before me:  Yes we can!

What’s stopping you from committing to a healthy lifestyle?

I want you around.  I want you to live life! Enjoy what Earth, God, Metaphysics provide for you.  Happiness is health and family.  Frolic with grand children at the park, Watch your dog chase his tail, or just watching the trees blow in the wind.

Where do I start?

Well, Let’s Think about it.

What do kids get on their children’s menu at restaurants?  They get connect the dot pictures.  It allows the child to create a dog, lion, car, or any number of pictures by following the dots one at a time slowly and incrementally.  It’s much easier to connect the dots to draw a picture than to draw on a blank slate.

So, connect the dots!  Start Slow, be methodical and incremental.  Work up a ladder.  I’ll expand on this method later, but here’s the abridged version:

Dots:

  • 0 days – 14 days: Commit to weighing yourself everyday for the first 2 weeks.

Don’t worry about the details. The fact that you are weighing yourself everyday is the accomplishment!

  • 14 days – 42 days:  Continue weighing yourself everyday, in fact, don’t stop weighing yourself for the rest of your life.  Add to that small amounts of exercise everyday.  I recommend the 8 minute weight workout, but you could also do 10 minutes of walking everyday, gradually build up.

You’ve got some great new habits now.  you weigh yourself everyday and you commit to your 10 minutes of exercise a day!

Lets add another dot.

  • 42 days – 56 days:  Continue your current weighing and exercise habits.  Now add tracking your diet everyday.  Keep a pen and paper handy.  Write down everything you eat, and just keep track, don’t worry about how much you eat.  Just log it.

We’re finding out internally what we do.  when we eat.  It will guide us in our nutrition plan.  Do I really eat 3 starbucks a day?  Do I have that many potato chips?  you can be amazed at what you eat without knowing it.  Again, remember the goal is to Identify and Track.  That’s the accomplishment for this dot.

  • 56 days – 84 days:  Pick one dietary change each week, and focus on that change.

Examples:  I recommend lowering your diet each week by 200 calories.  Or, Pick a food item that really causes you trouble.  For me it is french Fries.  If I cut out french fries, I cut out a ton of places I’d go to eat which means I make different diet changes.  I also have the challenge of large portions.  So, that can be my change.  Whatever it is, Pick one and focus while keeping up your habits.

  • 84 days – forever:  Rinse, Recycle, and Repeat.  What I mean, is this is lifestyle change.  we have to be willing to commit to the change and keep it at that.  it’s a change.  No going back.  Learn to love new foods and new ways of eating, Learn to love exercising, make it fun for you.  By creating these new habits, we can replace our old diet habits.

How do you connect the dots?  What’s your incremental lifestyle change you can make?  Can you commit?

Of course, I recommend simpleweight for managing this healthy diet and exercise planning.