Ep #137: Breaking and Creating Habits

Ep #137: Breaking and Creating Habits

Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown | Breaking and Creating Habits

Are you aware of the habits that are preventing you from losing weight? Many of my clients are in the habit of eating beyond satiety, or even the point of fullness. This is not an indictment of your character; it’s a habit. It’s something I personally struggled with once upon a time too, until I learned to break the old habits around food and create new ones.

We get in the pattern of eating until our plate is clean, the container is empty, and we feel physically uncomfortable from being over-full. These are our brains’ triggers to stop eating, and although eating this way causes us physical discomfort, there’s an important reason why we do it, and understanding these kinds of habits is the first step towards changing them.

Tune in this week to discover how to break the habits that are holding you back and create new ones in their place. I’m sharing why these habits around food are so difficult to address, and why the key to breaking old habits lies in challenging yourself to create new ones.

 

I have an opportunity that hasn’t been available for a few years. I’m opening up a handful of individual coaching spots over the next few months, so click here to book your Weight Loss Strategy Session!

 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why habits are so difficult to break once we’ve established them.
  • How creating new and challenging habits often does the work of breaking old habits.
  • What you can do to give yourself some grace as you start to create new habits.
  • How to understand what your old habits are trying to help you avoid, and how to create new habits around food.

Listen to the Full Episode:

 

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Full Episode Transcript:

This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, Episode 137.

Welcome to Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you’re a successful woman who is ready to stop struggling with your weight, you’re in the right place. You’ll learn everything you need to know to lose weight for the last time in bitesize pieces. Here’s your host, Certified Life and Weight coach Natalie Brown.

Hello everyone. Many, many of my clients are in the habit of eating beyond satiety, beyond fullness. This was something I personally really struggled with once upon a time, as well. We get in the habit of eating until our plate is clean, or until the bag or container is empty, or until everyone else has done and gets up from the table.

Or, eating until you feel a certain feeling of over fullness, a certain level of physical discomfort maybe, even, that then triggers you your brain into stopping. Like, once you feel you need to unbutton your pants, or lay down, or you feel nauseous, then you stop. This is very common.

This is not an indictment of your character, or a moral failing, or weakness, it’s a habit. Once a habit is established, it’s challenging to break, because doing what we’ve always done is easier. And change means a new flavor, a new level of discomfort. The habits that are the most challenging to break, are those that take you from relative fun, or freedom, or comfort, to something else.

So, even though our eating until over fullness gets us to a level of physical discomfort, it gets us away from maybe, an emotional discomfort, right, that habit that we create is often born out of relief from discomfort. So, just remember that.

Breaking and creating habits are in essence the same thing. Because if you are creating a new habit, like consistent exercise, you’re at the same time breaking the habit you’re already in, the habit of resting and sitting and not exercising, whatever that looks like. The challenge will always be going from the easier default habit, to the more challenging, more work habit.

It’s easier to not work out than it is to work out. Which is why it’s so common to get out of the habit of working out. To go back to the not working out. It’s easier to not plan your food in advance, and to just eat whatever’s in the fridge. It’s easier to not cook, and to eat whatever fast food you drive by. It’s easier to watch TV than it is to read. It’s easier to keep eating sugar, than it is to not eat sugar when you’re craving it and it tastes good.

As you’re working to break and create new habits on your weight journey, give yourself some grace. It makes perfect sense that your brain slides back into comfort, and/or creates habits that get you in comfort. It just thinks that that’s its main objective, to just keep you in comfort, to provide comfort for you.

Even if it’s a habit you’ve been in pretty consistently for months, your brain will continue to push the comfort agenda. And you can still find yourself breaking the more challenging habit to go back to the easy one. When it comes to the eating beyond full habit, the reason this feels so hard to break for so many of you is twofold.

Your body loves to maintain and to gain weight, it does not like to lose. Its goal is to make deposits for future energy, and to keep them full and to make more of them. That’s your body doing what it evolved to do; keep you alive through all the famines it thinks you will face. Investing for future energy needs, that’s what it thinks it’s doing. Your fat stores are your body’s 401(k) plan. It’s so much easier to put in, than it is to withdraw from that, right.

So, this eating beyond full, that you do, it feels to your body like it’s supporting that energy investment strategy. In order to break this habit, you have to welcome the discomfort of extra space, of a sense of emptiness. Eating less than you’re used to eating in a sitting will feel like a deficit. Deficit feels uncomfortable to your brain and your body. Letting go of some of those fat stores feels like overspending, to your frugal, savings-focused body. But eating the amount that you are in the habit of eating now, the amount that makes you feel like you’ve had enough, or more than enough, that’s making you stay here, where you are, or gain, and it never gives your body a chance to burn some of that stored fat.

Now, eating less than that threshold also means inviting not just a physical discomfort, because you’re used to that fullness being the guide. But also, the emotions that are being buried under that pile of food. Right? We’re often looking now, at facing some of that emotional discomfort. So, it makes perfect sense that we avoid it.

We have to break the habit of ‘stuffed’ and create the habit of ‘satisfied’. Any breaking and creating will be uncomfortable. Just expect it, anticipate it, allow it to feel hard. It won’t feel hard forever. Give it a week and you will likely notice you’re already getting in the habit of eating to the new fullness threshold, creating that new habit.

Take a minute with me, and I want you to think about some of the things in your life that you are in the habit of doing. Let’s start with just the habits that you would label as ‘good’, or ‘beneficial’, or maybe even neutral. And maybe, let’s just zoom into one particular set of habits, just for the sake of example.

So, like, let’s take your nighttime before-bed habits. For me, when I decide it’s time for me to go to bed, I make the rounds in my house making sure lights are off and doors are locked. I plug in my computer and my Apple Watch™, and my phone. I change into pajamas and I wash my face, every night.

I also always brush my teeth; I always use mouthwash. I go to the bathroom. I take my supplements. I cuddle up with my heating pad for a little while and I watch TV until I get kind of dozy, and then I put my heating pad away, I turn off the TV, I put on my eye mask and I turn on to my left side, and I go to sleep.

Every single one of those things I do for a reason. And doing them makes my life better in some way in the future, than if I were not to do it. It’s not easier to do all of that. It would be much easier to not do any of it, and just lay down and go to sleep. But if I don’t wear my eye mask, I’m really sensitive to light, and so, I’ll wake up throughout the night and not get a deep restful night’s sleep.

If I don’t take off my makeup and wash my face before I put my eye mask on, then the mascara on my eyelashes makes my eyelashes less bendable, little more breaky, and so they break off. If I don’t plug in my computer and my phone, I won’t be able to use them to work and, you know, get around and contact people and do all the things I need to do, which will make my life much harder tomorrow.

If I don’t brush my teeth, I get cavities, and I have terrible breath, and I have unhealthy gums, and on and on. It’s just it’s easier in the moment to not do these things. But the impact of not doing it, makes life harder in the future. And so, the small challenge of doing all the things is worth it. And therefore, I do it.

Also, because I have been doing it for some time consistently, even though it was a challenge to remember and I had to push myself to follow through at first, it’s basically automatic now, it feels pretty easy. These are all habits that I had to create, one at a time. I didn’t just decide I was going to do all that stuff. They kind of have added on as I’ve gotten older.

Once upon a time, I wasn’t even in the habit of any of them. Right? And then one by one, I noticed, for whatever reason, that my current habit, though easy in the moment, was creating hard later. For example, when I was 10, I went to the dentist and I had six cavities. I had to go in and get my whole mouth numbed, and the cavities drilled out, and fillings put in. It took hours it felt like, and I hated it.

That was where my consistent brushing habits started. I was in the habit of going to bed without brushing, because I was 10, who cares, right? But that got me six cavities at once. So, I created a new habit of brushing every night, in addition to my morning habit, and I avoided cavities in the future for the most part.

I sacrificed easy now/hard later, for harder now/easier later. I realized that brushing your teeth isn’t necessarily “hard”, right? But it is more work than not brushing. It’s the principle we’re sort of talking about here. Whether it’s planning meals ahead, versus fast food on the way home. Or, working out versus not working out. Or, eating at night versus having a cut off. Reading versus TV, water versus soda.

The habits that we fall out of, are often uncomfortable. The ones that challenge us. It’s less work to not do it or do the other thing instead. The habits that are hard to break are comfortable. It’s less work to keep doing it, than to stop and to do the new thing. That’s how it always will be. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

As you think about the habits you want to break, and the new ones you want to create, make sure you honor this aspect of the process. The habit that you are in, that you want to break, is comfortable. That’s why you’re doing it. So, just ask yourself why? Why is it more comfortable to do things that way? Be honest, not judgmental, here.

Give your brain some credit for why it’s currently choosing to do things this way. And then, think about how the current habit is making it easy now, but hard later. Be honest here, too. Really allow yourself to explore the impact this habit is having on the future. And then, think about the new habit you want to create in its place.

How will it be hard now, but make things easier later? Are you willing to deal with the hard for what it will create for your future? Don’t beat yourself up about choosing easy, of course, you are. Being comfortable is one of the most important things your brain wants to do for you. But you need to remind your brain, that discomfort now will equal more comfort in the long run. So, the objective remains the same. The means and the timeline are just different.

Okay, everyone, I want to tell you, quickly, about a special opportunity I’m offering starting next month, that hasn’t happened for a few years. I’m opening up a handful of individual coaching spots. My last group of this year just started, and I won’t be opening another group until early 2023.

But I’ve gotten a lot of requests for one-on-one coaching lately, and so I thought it would be fun to offer an individualized experience over the holidays and into the new year for those of you who are looking for that kind of help. If that’s you, head to itbeginswithathought.com/1-1 and apply today, and I’ll see you soon.

Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you want to learn more about how to lose weight for the last time, come on over to itbeginswithathought.com. We’ll see you here next week.

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I spent over 2 decades battling my weight and hating my body, before I found a solution that worked FOR GOOD. I lost 50 pounds by changing not just what I eat, but WHY. Now I help other women like me get to the root of the issue and find their own realistic, permanent weight loss success. Change is possible and you can do it. I can help you.

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