How Do Habits Affect Weight Control?

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Pretty much all of us exhibit habitual behaviors, albeit some of us more than others. Let’s work off this definition of “Habit”:

A habit is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously. The American Journal of Psychology defines a "habit, from the standpoint of psychology, [as] a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.

Concerning the above definition, let’s focus on the concept of the “subconscious” nature of the habitual behavior patterns. When specifically referring to weight control, many subconscious behaviors may be involved in derailing successful efforts. For example, if a person, when working or watching a show, is used to simultaneously snacking on chips, nuts, popcorn or similar types small sized snacks, the repetitive “hand to mouth” action of constantly eating will be subconscious. However, by the time the work or show is complete, the person may realize that the entire bowl of snacks is now empty.

Another example: A couple habitually opens a bottle of wine every night. The subsequent filling and drinking of the glasses may not even be thought about until the bottle is done.

Please take 10 minutes, pen and paper in hand (sorry, not the note section of your smart phone) and jot down what habitual behaviors you may have that impact on your weight control. Once identified, then take the steps necessary to eliminate these derailing habits and perhaps change them to beneficial ones, such as getting to that exercise every day.

Nataliya P Serotonin-Plus Counselor

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