Most people are aware that their nutrition leaves room for improvement. Often – but usually for short periods of time – they are extremely motivated to eat healthier. Sometimes it’s because they want to lose weight, sometimes it’s because they feel not well and sometimes it’s because the doctor told them to do so.
What usually happens next is a strict diet plan based on water and salad. However, such a project is designed to fail and it will. Soon enough, the first cravings make their sudden appearance. Binge eating follows and the consequence is the inglorious end of the starvation plan. But is does not have to end like this. Why don’t we use a easier path that is more likely to succeed? Yes, I know it’s hard to be patient while waiting for results. But I also know results won’t happen with strict diet plans because they have a high likelihood to fail.
There is a great concept in Psychology called “Tiny Habits”, which was developed by BJ Fogg, Behaviour Scientist at Stanford University (1). Opposed to the overwhelming experience when we want to change everything at once he recommends to start small. Tiny habits, which are performed over and over again, have a bigger impact on your health than a great change. In general, great changes don’t last because eventually, you will fall back into your old habits. But if you connect new habits to those that already exist you have a real chance to make it last. It is easy and you don’t even need a reminder. Using those scientific findings to improve your nutrition would mean for instance when you eat a piece of chocolate you always eat a piece of fruit as well.
When improving your nutrition, I want you to be successful in the long run. To put an effort into short term plans is wasted energy!
Therefore I created 3 easy steps to start. Today I will introduce tiny habit number 1 which will raise your general awareness and does not require any change in your eating habits yet.
Practice the recommended step for at least one week, before and after every meal. It might be helpful to write the results down in order to track them.
Often in a busy daily life we eat when there is the chance to and not when we are hungry. We are not aware of what we are eating and the taste, because we are distracted. We snack in between, just because something is offered, we are bored or stressed.
The first exercise will help you to become more mindful about how and what you eat.
From now on, every time you are sitting down for a meal you assess how full you are on a scale from 1 to 10.
- 1: means you are close to die from hunger, your are feeling weak and can’t focus anymore
- 10: means you are about to blast, there is not even space for a leave of lettuce.
As tiny habit no. 1, I would like you to assess your grade of fullness before and after each and every meal.
Even though it’s not necessary to change your eating at this point of the process I can already tell you a secret to set up a challenge: The best way to finish a meal is at a grade of fullness around 7 out of 10. At this stage, you will neither feel hungry nor stuffed. As a consequence you might feel more energized instead of falling into some kind of “food-coma”. In addition, tiny habit no 1 requires some mindfulness during eating and will decrease the amount of calories you are eating by 20 to 30%. It’s quite likely you will lose some stubborn pounds along the way just by practicing this tiny new habit!
Here you find part 2 and 3 of the series:
- Tiny habits to get back in shape (Part 2)
- Less sugar is the recipe for success (Tiny habits – Part 3)
“The practise of mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now.” (Unknown)
(1) Homepages of BJ Fogg, PhD: https://bjfogg.com and http://bjfogg.org and http://tinyhabits.com
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