Advice on forming habits

No Snacks, no sweets, no seconds. Except on Days that start with S. Too simple for you? Simple is why it works. Look here for questions, introductions, support, success stories.

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tthornell
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Advice on forming habits

Post by tthornell » Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:56 am

Does anyone know of any good articles on habit building?

I love the premise of the NOSDIET, but I have the almost compulsive habit of eating food just because it is there. Everytime I walk by food, I grab a bite. My usually nibble my wat through the day, 15 bites of food throughout the day add up quickly. So, my question is how do you start the habit. I would appreciae any advice. Most of the time the snacking is out of boredom. I know the standard advice like find something else to do. Just wondering how others overcame this. I am 5'7 180 lbs. I am an athlete and would like to weigh about 160 lbs. My workout schedule keeps me at from being heavier than I am. Also, I went from 230 lbs. to 170 lbs when I was 15 (I am 24 now) through dieting, if this helps in anyway.

jiggapayne
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Post by jiggapayne » Sun Apr 29, 2007 3:49 am

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kccc
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Post by kccc » Sun Apr 29, 2007 2:18 pm


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Jammin' Jan
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Post by Jammin' Jan » Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:21 pm

The thing that attracted me to no-s was that I thought Reinhard's info page was the best thing I ever saw on building good dietary habits. Guess you could say that No-S is habit-forming!

florafloraflora
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Post by florafloraflora » Mon Apr 30, 2007 2:16 pm

jiggapayne wrote:It's a matter of discipline.
I have to say I really like No-S because it's not about discipline, it's about habit. From my experience, self-denial isn't a sustainable habit, and I don't think it is for many people. The reason many people eat less and stay slim is that they've made healthier habits, not that they approach every meal by thinking "OK I'm going to have the salad instead of the sandwich but as long as I'm doing that I can go for the ranch dressing instead of the plain vinegar, or wait would I rather have vinegar dressing and croutons instead, no better stick with just the ranch oh and then the salad comes with a roll, is it OK to eat that and if I do will I have to switch back to vinegar for the dressing ooh the dessert cart looks good, poor me I'm just having salad maybe it's OK to have dessert if I split it with my friend, I've been so good I deserve a treat" That kind of micromanagement isn't sustainable in the long term.

jiggapayne
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Post by jiggapayne » Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:09 pm

tthornell, I thought about your question and came up with a good answer for you.

First I'll respond to some comments above. The No S Diet is about discipline, and wouldn't exist without it, because it takes discipline to create a habit in the first place. Most people don't have the discipline to do something long enough to make it a habit.

And self-denial certainly is a sustainable habit. It goes hand in hand with the concept of No S. You want to eat a certain way, but you deny yourself until the appropriate time. We all deny ourselves things every day on some level.

Fortunately, habit makes self-denial a lot easier, to the point where we aren't denying ourselves because our desires have changed. That is largely what No S is about, and that is what tthornell wants help with. He wants to make a habit of denying himself of snacking all day, which he can't start doing without discipline.

So, habits take discipline to create. No S is about helping you create those habits. You discipline yourself by following a simple and sustainable plan. The No S diet is a very slow way to lose fat, but it's definitely one of the most sustainable.

How would I eliminate the habit of snacking?

1) Set goals; write them down, put them on your mirror, tell people about them.

2) Eliminate temptation. (Get rid of any and all snack food you have sitting around).

3) Replace bad habits with good ones (I snack on harmless things like sunflower seeds, or maybe I chew gum).

4) Understand the benefits of eliminating the habit, and the consequences of failing.

5) Reminding yourself about your habit every morning (or throughout the day).

6) Set up a calendar like Reinhard has said. Every night, write a big "success" in green, or "failure" in red, or whatever works for you. If you get a certain number of successes in a row, reward yourself. Keep the calendar where you will see it often.

6) Keep doing it until it becomes a habit.

florafloraflora
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Post by florafloraflora » Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:56 pm

I find that the very simple No-S rules eliminate the need for discipline and self-denial to kick in. It takes some work for the first few weeks to get into the No-S habit, but after that it should be an automatic decision most of the time.

If I had to deny myself a snack every time I wanted one, I could never have stuck with No-S. Instead I don't even bother thinking what to have for a snack because I know snacks are off-limits during the week. In the long run, it's a lot easier to forget about snacking entirely than to negotiate with your inner child every day on which snacks are OK and which ones are off-limits. It's the same with sweets: I don't have to ponder whether it's OK to have one low-fat cookie, or two sugar-free hard candies, or if a milkshake can count as a beverage with a meal. I don't even have to worry about those decisions at all until S-day. And when S-day does roll around, I'm not as cravey or as grazey as I would have been when left to my own devices before No-S started, because I don't have as much room to eat before I feel full.

On the original question of how to make a good habit, it depends what the temptations are. If you have snack food sitting around the house calling your name, I'd say get rid of it. If you want to buy it on weekends, buy just a single serving. If you can't resist vending machines, try not to carry change with you. If there's a break room where people leave food, try to stay away. You could try carrying a bottle or water, or some other drink, around so that whenever you crave something you can take a sip instead. Hot liquids (tea, coffee, soup) are good for smothering cravings if it's not time to eat or you're tempted by something that's off-limits.

I found that it really helped me to check in daily here. When I knew I'd have to write down what I was eating, it helped me stick to the rules and make good choices.

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