Weight Loss Isn’t About Willpower – It’s About Habits

Posted on: 5th May, 2020

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Contrary to popular opinion, losing weight and keeping it off isn’t about willpower. Not really. Mostly today it’s about biology – our genetic blueprint up against an obesogenic environment. But there are people who successfully fight against all the elements of our food and environment that conspire to make us fat: people who exercise a lot every day and eat lower carbs, focusing on vegetables and protein. How do they do it when the rest of us are exhausted at the end of the day? Do they have incredible willpower to do the impossible? Research says the answer is not really. The answer is that they have made it a habit.

Creating Healthy Habits

Making something a habit takes time and it takes a plan. One has to knock down the barriers that make it harder to walk every morning, for example. And it means repeating the good thing, the morning one-hour walk in this case, every day until it becomes a habit. Daily behaviors become habits over time through repetition. But getting there means laying the groundwork so your hour is free from distractions, associated with the enjoyment of listening to your favorite music or podcast, and facilitated by always having your proper shoes and outfit clean and ready to wear. You have announced to your partner that this hour is sacrosanct. You have committed to walking the energetic new dog at this time every single day. You have promised that friend you will be at the corner every morning at the appointed hour.

Removing Obstacles

Knowing things like how important it is for your health to exercise every day is an important start. But it does not translate into daily exercise unless you take the steps to make it a habit. So start thinking right now, not just about what daily exercise you are going to add to each and every day, but about the obstacles on any given day that might prevent you from getting that exercise. And start knocking down those obstacles. Once you’ve reorganized your life around this new habit you are creating, constructed your day so it supports the habit, built in some rewards for completing the exercise, and thought of every possible way to make it easier and more likely you will complete the activity every single day, then you are on your way to establishing the new habit.
It takes months of doing this new daily exercise every single day before it truly becomes a habit. And it takes constant work and nurturing to maintain the habit. But it’s worth it!
Now go out and start creating a healthy new habit. You will thank yourself for years to come.
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