Health & Wellness Articles

4 Mindless Habits That Are Hurting Your Weight Loss

Get Focused to Get Back on Track

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If you’ve ever tried to break a bad habit, health-related or otherwise, you know how difficult it can be. Every morning, you awake to a daunting, gut-wrenching choice: to commit to change or to fall short of your goals. Those of you who have taken on the challenge of becoming your healthiest self can attest that this choice especially applies to creating changes in your diet and exercise routines. We all realize that the trick to lasting good health lies in mastering positive fitness and nutrition habits. But how can you put bad habits behind you and make wellness your main priority... every single day?
 
When attempting to dial back unhealthy behaviors, you’re up against several obstacles:
  1. It is likely that you’ve been practicing your unhealthy behavior over and over again for decades. Since your first childhood experience with brussel sprouts, you’ve become a master at avoiding vegetables. Since middle-school gym class, you’ve become adept at excusing yourself from exercise. Because you’ve been forming those unhealthy habits for so long, it isn’t easy to leave them behind.
     
  2. Efficiency and convenience are another knock against your good-health goals: unhealthy habits are often much easier than the alternative. Should I drive to work or ride my bike? Play football with the kids or rent a movie? Chop and prep fresh veggies or hit the drive-thru? Usually, unhealthy alternatives save us lots of time and require less physical and mental effort than their healthy counterparts. We’ve created such an efficient society that making good choices is almost impossible next to the not-so-healthy, yet quick and easy options.
     
  3. Finally, bad behaviors also come with sneaky, seductive pay-offs. It is understandable that most of us enjoy chocolate more than apples--it’s sweeter!  And why wouldn’t we avoid morning exercise when we could stay cozy and warm just by hitting snooze one more time? Of course, there are pay-offs for healthy habits as well: lower cholesterol, lower BMI, increased energy, longevity... But they’re usually not immediate or powerful enough to control our choices in the moment.
 
With the odds stacked against us, it’s easy to understand why conquering unhealthy habits with willpower alone can be rough. Luckily, the science of habit change gives us more effective ways to go about banishing unhealthy routines for good. Let’s take a closer look at some common unhealthy habits to see how we can put behavioral science to work for us.
 
Bad Habit: Eating on the Run
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About The Author

Megan Coatley Megan Coatley
Megan is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with a masterís degree in applied behavior analysis from Western Michigan University. As a health and wellness coach, she combines her passion for nutrition and fitness with her professional talents to help others creative positive, lasting change and live healthier lives.

Member Comments

  • Good advice! I think gas stations would go out of business overnight if it were not for their convenience stores. I am one who does not care for the image of gasoline and food together, but they were a godsend on road trips where traffic jams delayed us in the middle of nowhere and we had to get food and drink, and fuel. I do avoid them except for emergencies though. I do not even know what some of the food advertised is- what is a "tornado" for instance? Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen... - 11/29/2014 7:04:48 AM
  • Such great advice. I definitely saved this one in the favs! - 7/8/2014 1:12:43 AM
  • Easy to say get to "get cranking" but when you are exhausted from a 12 hour work day it is difficult to get motivated to cut veggies for snacks and cooking is right out of the question. And walking for 5-10 minutes really does nothing. - 6/22/2014 8:30:22 AM
  • KZINRRET
    Might be helpful for some, but not me.

    If I miss a workout, it's due to an unplanned incident that just can't be helped - my son freaking out over something and insisting mommy "fix it", the cat having hairball issues that need cleaned before aforementioned toddler plays with it, etc. I don't emotionally or mindlessly eat, sleep is gotten the best I can (set bedtime, screen limits, etc), and I never eat 'on the go' unless it's nibbling bits of my breakfast while making it and my son's simultaneously before sitting to eat with him and honestly I think I would pass out if I didn't! - 5/27/2014 5:57:03 PM
  • This is great article but I found it very disruptive to have all the embedded ads popping up. - 5/16/2014 1:08:43 PM
  • Great points I'd never thought about,and good suggestions, too! Thank You. - 11/22/2013 1:57:09 PM
  • This is a great article... the area I always struggle with is skimping on sleep. Too many things to do in a day, so few hours. :((( - 9/9/2013 9:27:07 AM
  • Really great. We should learn to keep health snacks around at those times. Like fruits and veggies but we don't. Since we are trying to have good health and lifestyle. I know it's easy to say than do. But we can do this. - 7/5/2013 8:26:04 AM
  • good one - thanks - 5/14/2013 7:50:11 AM
  • You knew my moves. Multi tasking/eating on the run. Grabbing that protein bar without completing a meal. Rushing skipping a meal.
    I've been doing this since Saturday. - 5/13/2013 8:13:49 PM
  • AZURE-SKY
    @WANT2LOOKHOT - You have a few choices. You can throw out the unhealthy food if it's too much temptation. You could package it into individual portions and freeze - many cakes can be sliced and wrapped in plastic & frozen, & the meats also. You can eat the foods, but only take small portions. It's your choice.

    You can also ask your husband to keep his snacks in a separate place so you are not tempted, or get him to buy the snacks you don't like. Remember - just because a food is in the house, doesn't mean you HAVE to eat it. - 5/13/2013 3:34:28 PM
  • I have been trying to get out of a rut and this article was SO helpful. Thank you very much. - 5/13/2013 12:31:13 PM
  • GLASGOWGIRL3
    I agree with MISSKAKEE, it's a great article, but my problem is putting it into action.
    - 5/12/2013 2:07:11 PM
  • I wish more people would focus on making their lifestyle changes DOABLE for the rest of their lives. Small, permanent changes over time will trump grand schemes every single time. - 5/12/2013 10:53:57 AM
  • WANT2LOOKHOT
    I try to keep junk food out of the house but my spouse loves the stuff & he does the grocery shopping. Plus his aunt is always dropping off junk food for the holidays, as a gift. Like today for Mother's Day it was half a chocolate bundt cake & a Tres Leches Cake. Other days its a huge BBQ fajita platter with Chicken, Sausage, Potato Salad, Spanish Rice, Guacamole. You get the pictrure. My husband refuses to tell her anything & it's extremely hard for me to have it around the house without falling prey to it. Short of getting a divorce I don't know what to do about it. - 5/12/2013 10:33:30 AM

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