What’s one thing you do every morning? Every night? Or even around 3 pm every day? Think about it for a second…
You may be asking, “Jen, why do you want to know this?” And my answer would be this…
We are a collection of all of our habits – whether good or bad. Identifying and becoming aware of your habits is one of the necessary keys to healthy, permanent weight loss – but not in the way you may currently think.
That’s why I wanted to break down habits in 5 empowering ways, so you leave with a game-changing tool and finally understand the thing that’s likely missing from your current weight loss journey.
#1 The History of Habits
If you are reading today, it’s safe to say you’ve struggled with your weight. Did you know that by the time a woman hits 40 years old, she’s been on 17+ diets? Why do we keep doing things that don’t work?
It all starts with the current, most popular weight loss mantra which is all focused on behavioral change. Whenever you begin a new “diet,” program, cleanse, etc., it’s all centered on eating this, not that. Do this, not that. This exercise first, this cooldown last.
You are taught to focus on your behavioral changes. Although behavioral changes are necessary, they aren’t the first step at all.
The first step is to identify and be aware of your emotional habits. (And this is something no one ever talks about enough.)
One of the things that has helped me better talk about this with my clients is an incredible book called The Power of Habit. New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg wrote this book to explain the scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed.
Habits form because, at some point, you decide to do something. You like doing it or the feeling you get from doing it, and it becomes a habit.
- Afternoon Starbucks + sweet treat.
- Chocolate post-dinner.
- The glass of wine (or 2 or 3) at 9 pm.
What happens is that so many people try to do to change habits by white knuckling it and just wiping the habit out completely. And this just doesn’t work.
#2 What’s Behind Your Habits
We are human and in fact, we crave the emotion or the reward we get from our habits. It’s not as much about the actual thing as it is about the emotion or the how it helps us cope with a certain trigger.
Triggers can be anything from the time of day, social situation, or emotion you feel – stress, anger, boredom, sadness, just to name a few.
Let’s take a page from my book…
For a very long time in my life, I drank wine every single night. After doing the work to identify the emotional habit behind this behavior choice, I realized I was seeking a way to chill out, a way to escape and not have to cope with my emotional world.
As I began to identify my emotional habits, I realized we are ingrained with this coping response from a very early age.
From the time we are little kids, we don’t know healthy ways to deal with our feelings. Even if you had the best parents in the world, I bet there were times when you cried or were upset, and your parents told you there was nothing to be upset over or took you for ice cream so you’d feel better. Very early in life we get messages that feeling our “hard” feelings isn’t right and we have to soothe with outside sources.
It’s important to know that there’s nothing wrong with getting ice cream or going out with a drink with your friends after a long week at work. But it is important to know which habits are currently taking you away from your best self.
Which habits are taking you away from your goals? And what’s the emotion behind it? If you don’t know it, you won’t know to change it. But the minute you have awareness, you can’t deny it.
#3 Create Something Better
Here’s what I began to do instead of turning to wine…
At first, I replaced the wine with tea. I didn’t even like tea at first. But I needed to make a better choice at night when I wanted to wind down and relax. In fact, I bought a beautiful teapot, good teas, created a ritual around it. I could’ve gone down the dead end but I didn’t want to. I wanted the change over staying stuck.
I work with women in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s who have spent decades not feeling their feelings. When I first work with clients, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a woman say, “Jen, no one has ever asked me these questions before!”
The weight loss industry is designed to give you steps to follow, strict rules that are packaged in cute packages but are superficial. That’s how the quick fixes end up backfiring or why you perhaps haven’t made peace with your body and mind just yet.
No one has said, “Hey, what’s really going on with you? Are you sad? Pissed off?” Now listen, these questions are hard, and there is definitely a fear that tells us if we open this Pandora’s Box of feelings, we may never get out.
So instead, we are taught to soothe with food to soothe uncomfortable feelings. We all want to laugh or be in the pit of darkness and despair. I have been in that pit many times. But without the lows, you can’t feel the highs.
#4 Dig Deeper
If you’ve been frustrated with weight loss, I encourage you to go deeper. We can’t stay on the superficial level if we want healthy, permanent weight loss.
For outer transformation, you have to do the inner work, too. Identify your emotional habits and begin to create a plan from there. The other key thing is to remember once you know better, you can do better. When you are aware of your current choices, it’s easier to transform them.
For example, if you are aware that yogurt has the same amount of sugar as a chocolate bar, you may rethink grabbing it in the afternoon when you are stressed to finish a work project.
That’s why you have to believe that you can change. You have to fully invest in the idea that you on the other side of change is completely worth it.
Then you have to have the faith to stick with it. And finally, you have to do the hard stuff.
Remember, that your brain is made of up of all sorts of neural highways. You are literally rewiring your brain when you take on this type of transformation. If you’ve been shit talking yourself for years and self-abusing your mind and body, it takes time to rework the highway in your brain.
This is why I urge you to seek out some honest, guided support on your weight loss journey.
#5 Invest in Support
What we resist, persists. You may not even want the chips or the chocolate but you do want the feeling it creates. You have to identify the feeling, be with it, release it and then move forward and create a new plan.
That’s why coaching is so important. In fact, a mentor or coach can help keep the faith for you as you work to rewire your brain. Enlist someone who isn’t solely focused on specific workouts every week or a specific diet dogma but instead is giving you the honest knowledge you need and who is committed to supporting you every step of the way.
In fact, I’d like to offer you a bit of that support right now…
I’ve put together the exact things that helped me lose 35+ lbs (and I’ve never looked back!) into one simple guide.
It’s called 5 Ways to Outsmart Your Fat Cells & Lose Weight Today.
Here’s what you’ll learn…
- Science-based research to help you dive even further into the weight loss myths that are holding you back.
- Reliable steps to identify those emotional habits.
- Trusted ways to create a weight loss plan that isn’t rooted in deprivation.
I specifically created this to make sure that your inner work directly correlates to your outer transformation. (Even better? It’s FREE!)
Healthy, permanent weight loss is possible. Pop your favorite emoji in the comments if you agree!