A couple weeks ago I started reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. www.amazon.com/The-Power
It has been fascinating. It wasn't written as a self-help book, which means there aren't many "here is how you can use this to help yourself or fix your habit or whatever" moments. However, if you're motivated enough you can try to draw parallels from what he is explaining in terms of how habits work and how researchers have figured them out (as well as figured out how to manipulate them to a degree) you can figure out ways to apply the science to your own world.
I've started the third section or something and have had a couple of recently profound thought. He had quite a chunk devoted to the "small wins" of habits and how focusing on one small thing can have an enormous effect. Much larger than one would anticipate. Especially pertinent here on spark, they studied a group of people trying to lose weight and found that for many of them simply tracking their food became a "small win" that snowballed into positively affecting other areas of their lives. The science behind it and his anecdotal evidence to support the science are fascinating and the read has been very very good. I wanted to highlight a part today but for some reason it wouldn't work this time, though I could swear that I highlighted something else one other time. (shrug) oh well.
My new focus is on 2 things. And only 2 things.
1) tracking my food
2) achieving 5,000 steps a day before I leave the office at 5.
1 isn't problematic, it just feels time consuming. It really isn't that bad, but then I also have a lot of random things I eat once in awhile and that always derails me. Today, for example, we went to a local pizza shop and I had most of 4 very small slices of pizza, a small piece of cheese bread, 2 cinnamon sticks, and some roaster chicken. How do you track that when the pizza place is not a national chain and there is almost no possible way to figure out what exactly was in the pizza much less how much one serving was?? This time, I guesstimated. I took my pizza hut numbers and visualized how close the pizza hut slices etc are to what i ate and used that. Typically I try to overestimate rather than underestimate because I know that is often where people mess up when estimating instead of measuring. But then, this isn't really a scenario in which I can measure, is it? So, one day down. I'm taking some vacation time this coming weekend, so we'll see how the tracking goes then, but even if I completely give it up while I'm on vakay, I don't care I'll start back at it when I return.
2) 5,000 steps will be a bit of a challenge if I do not walk on my lunch hour. Which means I have 2 choices. Either get up at 6 am and walk before work to be certain I get my steps in or make sure I walk on my lunch hour. Technically I could walk around the block or something before leaving work, but i'm trying to plan ahead. That's one of the other things that book talks a lot about, successful habit change is mostly accompanied by being prepared with a plan. After I've achieved this for awhile I'm going to reevaluate my mood, my energy level, my overall feeling of health and see if I'm ready to start stretching for 10k a day.
Alongside all this, I have put away my scale. It has not budged in any positive way in months and mostly it just depresses me and convinces me that nothing is ever going to change so why bother trying. Why bother going to the gym at all if 4 months of consistent exercise does nothing whatsoever to that number? Why bother trying to eat reasonable and healthy every night and deprive myself of that oh so delicious baked chocolatey goodness that is so easy to get my hands on if it isn't going to show up on that scale anyway? So, I'm done with the scale for now. Probably at least a month, maybe more, we'll see how the next 4 -6 weeks goes. I'll try to keep you posted. Feel free to check my food log and check up on me about my tracking. Here goes nothin.