We’re back again with another post in our Creating Healthy Habits series to help you build healthy habits so you can build a healthy lifestyle!
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Did you know that nearly 40 percent of our daily actions are habitual? As in, we’re consciously thinking less as we perform these habits, like backing down the driveway or taking the usual route to work.
And of course lots of our habits surround food, especially when it comes to snacking throughout the day or bingeing on ice cream while catching up on your favorite shows every night.
In The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg explains the habit loop—the process our brain goes through in completing habitual behaviors: “First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.”
Based on science's understanding of habits, we have 3 steps to changing your unhealthy snack habit.
1. Identify your habit.
So what’s one food habit you’d like to change? Is it grabbing a Coke from the vending machine at work every afternoon? Is it one too many happy hours with co-workers each week? Is it absentmindedly munching on the candy in the jar from the reception desk?
Identify it: What's the food habit you’re hoping to change?
2. Identify your reward.
One of the easiest ways to change a routine is to identify what the reward is that you’re seeking from this routine. Are you grabbing the Coke because you need an energy boost to power through the afternoon? Are you hitting up those happy hours to foster a sense of community with your co-workers? Are you munching on that candy because you’re crazy bored staring at this spreadsheet all morning?
Ask yourself: What is the reward you’re after with the habitual food choice you’re making?
3. Change the behavior.
Once you’ve identified what reward you’re seeking, it’s time to change the behavior. For instance, you drink that afternoon Coke for an energy boost, but that’s almost 40g of sugar you’re drinking each day. Yikes. Time to change that behavior while still rewarding yourself with the energy burst you crave. Try instead a cup of coffee, green tea with a bit of honey, or our favorite AdvoCare Spark for an energy boost. Consider taking a walk around the office—exercise can give you the same energy boost as caffeine!
Try it: Experiment with different behaviors to find one that sticks for you!