Archive for the tag - habit

How to Break Your Sugar Habit: 7 Tips.

sugar addictionMmmm…. Sugar.

According to experts, sweet is the first taste that humans prefer from birth. But it’s also extremely addictive. In fact, one study found that sugar is more addictive than cocaine.

Unfortunately, eating too much sugar can result in weight gain, metabolic disorders (a precursor to diabetes) and even some forms of cancer. In other words, it’s not good - and most of us are getting way more sugar than the recommended daily limit.

Breaking a sugar habit isn’t easy. But it’s possible. And these tips will help:

  1. Eat a little, not a lot. When wanting to indulge in something sweat or sugary, just have a few bites. A Cornell study found that eating a few bites satisfies cravings as much as larger portions. When it comes to sugary foods, think portions of 100 calories or less.
  2. Wait it out. Cravings come and go; most last only a few minutes. Distract yourself for 10 minutes by reading a book, calling a friend or watching Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube videos.
  3. Work it out. Better than waiting out cravings, engage in exercise - even if it’s just a short walk. In fact, one study found that chocolate cravings dropped significantly after physical exercise.
  4. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit. Unlike eating candy or chocolates, fruits are packed with essential nutrients; in addition to satisfying your sweet tooth, you’ll load up on vitamins, minerals and fiber. I keep frozen, unsweetened cherries in my freezer for this very purpose. One or two cherries totally does the trick. Try bananas, apples, berries or anything else!
  5. Eat regular meals. Skipping breakfast, lunch or dinner can result in unstable blood sugar levels and irrational cravings. Keep your blood sugar in check by eating regular meals and by favoring complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates (think brown rice and wheat bread over white rice and white bread).
  6. Don’t replace sugar with artificial sweeteners. While artificial sweeteners may cut out the calories, they still feed your sugar addiction and they elevate your risk for obesity. Artificial sweeteners are not the answer!
  7. Find a substitute. If you have a habit of eating dessert after dinner, replace your sugary dessert with something healthier. Instead, you may decide to opt for a soothing cup of tea.

If you have any tips for kicking your sugar habit, please share them in the comments below!

How to Get Your Ass to the Gym: 10 Tips!

Did someone say ass? It looks like he has no problem getting his to the gym.

Having a gym membership isn’t the same thing as using it. Gym memberships aren’t cheap - but even the desire to get your money’s worth doesn’t work for everyone. Many people struggle with actually getting their ass to the gym.

So here are 10 of my tips:

  1. Evaluate your typical week and identify (or create) time slots wherein you can spend some time at the gym. Ideally, these time slots correspond to when you have the greatest amount of energy.
  2. Schedule it. Take out your calendar or planner or blackberry and actually schedule gym time into it. Treat it like a meeting that you can not miss.
  3. Remind yourself why you are working out. Remind yourself that you deserve a happier, healthier life - and that going to the gym is one step in getting there. You can even make the reminder or affirmation part of your morning phrase.
  4. Pack your bag the night before. If you workout in the morning, pack your bag the night before. Put your sneakers next to the door. Pack your lunch and stick it in the fridge. When you wake up, all you need to do is grab your stuff and go!
  5. View exercise as an investment. You are investing in a healthier future - it is not an expense of time.
  6. Make an appointment to meet a friend at the gym. If you skip, you’re cheating yourself and your friend.
  7. Remind yourself that you don’t have time to not exercise. Skipping the gym could set you up for increased likelihood of debilitating diseases. The opportunity cost of skipping the gym is very high.
  8. Know how good you will feel when your workout is complete. Don’t you love that feeling after you workout? Let that anticipated feeling drive you.
  9. Offer your trip to the gym as a gift for your body. Your body wants to move. Honor your body by getting your ass to the gym.
  10. Routinize it. Make it a habit - part of your routine. I hold exercise and brushing my teeth in the same regard. I don’t think twice about either.

Do you have trouble getting to the gym? Tell me about it in the comments below…

How to Make Exercise a Habit.

Consistency is key when it comes to exercise; it’s absolutely essential to habitualize your workouts, and thus avoid the see-saw roller coaster that so many exercisers experience.

Can you relate to the experience of working out for a week, and then skipping a day that turns into a week that becomes a month? Before you know it, your entire program is derailed and your fitness goals go out the door. If any of that resonates with you, here are a few helpful tips to make exercise habit:

  1. If you exercise in the morning, lay out your gym outfit before bed. Mentally, it sets you up for exercise in the morning - and it’s less fumbling that you’ll have to do when the alarm goes off in the AM.
  2. Find an exercise program that you enjoy. Relatively speaking anyway. I don’t enjoy sprinting on the treadmill, but I do enjoy it more than cycling. Maybe swimming is your cup of tea. Or maybe it’s rowing, or kayaking. Maybe you’d rather take a gymnastics class than lift weights. Or do yoga. If it’s something that you like, you’re more likely to stick to it.
  3. Create a schedule. Set dates and times for your workout. Plot it out on a calendar, and hold yourself to it. Otherwise you may put it off until you “don’t have the energy” to exercise. For example, I get up at 5:30 AM during the week to exercise.
  4. Get a workout buddy. If you know you are meeting someone at the gym, it’s harder to skip out. It’s letting yourself down AND standing up a friend. Simple idea, but it works.
  5. Commit appropriately. Most importantly, don’t take a bigger workout bite than you can chew. I see so many well-intentioned fitness enthusiasts burn themselves out because they go from no gym time to 10 hours a week. Be realistic, and build up slowly over time. There’s nothing wrong (and a lot right) with starting small - whatever that means for you.
  6. Don’t skip scheduled workout days. One day easily becomes two, and so forth and so on. Don’t slide down that slippery slope. If you are scheduled to workout on a given day, stick to it. Of course, build rest days into your schedule, too. That’s very different than skipping.
  7. Find a time that works for you. As I mentioned, I exercise in the morning. Many people exercise after work. Figure out what works with your other commitments and aligns with your body’s energy.
  8. Take the first step. When you wake up, put your feet on the floor. The hardest step is the first one. Take it!

And fear not, once exercise becomes a habit, it’s automatic. Though I’ve used many of these tips myself, exercise isn’t a choice for me. When I wake up, I don’t ask myself, “Should I workout today?” I just get up and do it. It’s non-negotiable. And that’s that.

Is habitualizing exercise a challenge for you? Tell me about it in the comments below. What tips do you have?