We all have it. We all have that thing we do even if we don't like it, but we can't seem to break away from it. Yea . . . I am talking about those "bad" habits. Having a habit isn't necessarily a bad thing and I know often times we associate habits as something undesirable to have. Let's look at habits in another light. Habits are a good thing because it means we have the ability to do something else that is or can potentially lead to a positive thing. The question becomes "how do we create fitness-based habits?"
In episode 3 of my podcast I used the example meal prepping as a means to build a habit for specific nutrition habits. Let's build on that thought here since it's a good one. The problem with trying to build a nutritional habit with meal prepping is that it isn't maintainable. I don't know about you, but I don't want to spend my entire day meal prepping. Yes . . . it's an entire day. If you haven't meal prepared before it's an entire mind-numbing process. You have to plan and create your grocery list, calculate your macronutrients (protein, lipids, and carbohydrates), go shopping for your ingredients, cook your ingredients, cool your ingredients, measure your ingredients, and finally put it together. By this time, your food may have been out of temperature and now you risk having food poisoning. FYI: from the time you remove your food from the heat source you have 4 hours to refrigerate it to a temperature of under 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This is actually the simplified version of proper food safety and handling. Yes . . . I have gotten food poisoning before from meal prepping (this was prior to untrained as a fitness nutrition specialist). As you can see, its not maintainable and could potentially be a set-back in your goals.
I hear, and I am often times told, of people excited to begin meal prepping becasue it will help them lose weight, at least they expect it to. I check in on them about a month later and they have given up. Its just not a maintiable habit. Life gets the best of us and we get busy. You have to create habits based upon your diverse lifestyle. I want to reiterate that the attempt to create a habit should be based on your lifestyle and not someone else. So how do we know what habits to try and create? First, you need to spend some time with yourself and come to terms what you are realistically able to accomplish.
Before you attempt to create a fitness-based habit, perform simple tasks that involves . . . you. Yes, 100% focus on you. Begin with giving yourself enough time to be enitrely with you. Be present in your body. That sounds odd, right? For example, instead of having the goal of making it to the gym three times a week, start with I am going to wake up and stretch three times a week. You may be thinking "ins't going to the gym a better habit because one could simply stretch at the gym?" I do agree that going to the gym is a great habit, but getting there is tough. What if life does what life does and slaps you in the face? What if the car tire needs air? What if the kids aren't feeling well and they need your attention? What if your boss needs you to send in that project proposal immediately? Do you see my point? Anything can happen and you can easily be distracted and forget to take care of yourself or even worse, put yourself last before all of your other responsibilities. If you can't take care of yourself, how can you efficiently take care of someone else?
As you can see, starting with something as simple as stretching for five to ten minutes in the morning upon wake-up will teach you to put your self first and subconsiously you will begin creating the habit of putting yourself first. This is eaily maintaible since you don't have to go anywhere and you can easily perform this three days out of the week. When you get this down, you can build on this. You can go from three days a week to five days a week. Soon enough it won't seem like a task, it will simply be part of your morning routine just like brushing your teeth. Your Habitual Self.
Learn more about habits in my podcast: