I’ve been writing for Diets In Review for a while, but I just found out recently that Labor Day is the second biggest diet day of the year; I am assuming following New Years Day.
With the rush of back to school and getting ready for the holiday season, I did not expect weight loss to be a high priority for many people. As the weather cools off and we look forward to boots and sweaters and layers, I expected fewer people to be concerned with dieting.
While I am slightly surprised to find out that Labor Day is the second biggest diet day of the year, there are reasons why it makes sense.
Back to school time, at least for me, brings to mind fresh notebooks and clean slates. If you grew up thinking of each fall as a new beginning, then autumn might be the perfect time for a habit change for you. (more…)
Author Charles Duhigg has done some fascinating research regarding human habits in his new book, The Power of Habit. He has been attempting to open the public’s eyes regarding how many of our daily actions are simply habits, not actual choices. Due to this fact, he also points out how companies are cashing in on our routines.
A 2006 study determined that more than 40 percent of our actions are habits, not real decisions. That’s a large portion of our lives being governed for us. Duhigg wants people to view their situation and see how they can nurture good habits and lose the bad ones.
Duhigg created a three step process to explain the development of habits. The process is cue, routine, and reward. The process is explained by using Claude Hopkins, the famous ad man for Pepsodent toothpaste as an example. Hopkins helped create a craving that made toothbrushing a habit. The cue was unsettling tooth film, the routine was brushing, and the reward was clean attractive teeth.
Another case study example of how habits are recognized and then effectively changed into good habits is that of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Duhigg points out how the routine of drinking was replaced with meetings and companionship. AA has become one of the world’s most successful habit changing organizations.
January 21, 2012 is World Swap Day. Originally started as a way to reinvent shopping, it’s a movement that’s gaining national attention and seeing activity across the country. World Swap Day encourages all to share goods, food, clothes, toys, or many other items verses buying them new. Swapping will turn any unused items into things you actually need. Therefore, you don’t spend money and you don’t compile unused stuff around your house.
In celebration of World Swap Day, why not do some personal swapping for your health. Big results have come from small changes. For example, swapping fries for a medium baked potato saves you over 250 calories in your lunch and you avoid all unhealthy oils. Swapping is easy, and good for everybody.
Check out 10 easy swaps you can do to celebrate World Swap Day, and your health. (more…)
By Melissa Breyer for Care2.com
In a new paper by USC researchers, bad eating habits were shown to persist even when the food didn’t taste very good; but the best nugget of the study, perhaps, is the revelation of a surprisingly easy way in which to counter bad eating habits.
Researchers gave people entering a movie theater a bucket of either just-popped popcorn or week-old popcorn. People who don’t generally eat popcorn during movies ate much less of the stale popcorn, but moviegoers who indicated that they typically had popcorn at the movies ate about the same amount of popcorn whether it was fresh or stale. The conclusion: for people accustomed to eating popcorn at the movies, it made no difference whether the popcorn tasted good or not.
“When we’ve repeatedly eaten a particular food in a particular environment, our brain comes to associate the food with that environment and make us keep eating as long as those environmental cues are present,” said lead author David Neal, who was a psychology professor at USC when the research was conducted.
By Dr. Mache Seibel for Care2.com
Ask a person if they want to stay well and in less than a nanosecond you will get a universal, resounding “Yes!”
Then ask if they eat healthy, exercise regularly, incorporate relaxation into their daily routine and get enough sleep. The response is much slower and the percentage saying, “Yes” is a lot lower.
Sure, people want to make changes to improve their health, but changing old habits for newer, healthier ones is hard work. For many, it seems almost impossible. Why else would the average person make the same New Year’s resolution 10 different years without success, or only one in seven people who have had a heart attack make long lasting changes to improve their diet or exercise habits? Don’t you think it is time to take responsibility for your own health?
The trick is to start simple. Small changes can make a big difference. Here are five simple steps you can start doing today to improve your health.
The first step in creating healthier habits is to know your baseline, where you are starting and what areas need the most improvement. “I need to eat healthier” is very vague and does not tell you what to do. When you do know which direction to go, it is important to know the first step and not bite off more than you can chew. Another important step to making a change in your behavior is to track your progress and recognize incremental improvements. If we do not allow ourselves to feel good about the small steps toward improvement that we make, the process can seem overwhelming, and we can be tempted to give up on our goals.
While there are many smartphone apps that can aid in tracking and even some that can make suggestions for improvements, perfect for busy days where taking the time to write down what you are doing and eating is likely to fall to the bottom of your to-do list. While you can start again the next day, many people stop using an app once they have missed a day or two. I am hopeful the new UP bracelet from Jawbone may make the entire process of creating healthier habits easier.
The Jawbone UP is a waterproof wristband, similar in size to a Livestrong band, with embedded sensors that connect to your smartphone to track behaviors such as eating, sleep, and physical activity. It is expected to be released by the end of this year. The free app will track your data and make suggestions for improvement. It sounds like suggestions will be made using the kaizen theory. It sounds really cool that you can input your daily diet by snapping photos of your food, but I wonder how much people will follow through with this. I am also interested to see just how the app works and if it includes push notifications.
For most people, New Years marks a clear point for making a lifestyle change that is intended to last a lifetime. Lent on the other hand, for the religious, is a time of temporary self denial or restriction to increase focus. There are several reasons that a greater percentage of people are successful with Lenten fasts than New Years habit changes. Even if you do not celebrate Lent, these ideas may help you be more successful with your own behavior change.
The first reason many are more successful with habit change during Lent (even if it is temporary) is that they are striving to sacrifice for something that has personal meaning to him or her. Religion is one outlet for existential energy for many people. Existential energy is about those things that give your life meaning, becoming a better person, and those things about which you are passionate. When we strive after these things, we often feel more energized and more motivated to meet the goals we have set for ourselves.