Creatures of Habit

Creatures of Habit

Most of us are creatures of habit. We have a daily routine that consists of a life-long compilation of habits. We wake up at a certain time, eat at a certain time, take the same routes to work, eat the same foods, sit on the same couch cushion, and curl up on the same worn spot of our beds. We’re creatures of habit…and we resist change!

Some habits are good ones and need not be changed, such as brushing our teeth and washing our hands. Other habits, however, can block progress or even take us in the opposite direction as our health and fitness goals. Habits such as that afternoon vending machine run, or the morning bagel with our cup of coffee may seem harmless, but those calories can really add up! Remember: 3,500 calories = 1 pound of body fat!. Take that daily bagel, for example. At 350 calories each, 3 days a week for 50 weeks a year, that bagel just added 15 pounds of unwanted body fat in a year…not so harmless, huh?

By changing one habit a week we can make lasting changes and create new and better habits that will endure a lifetime. Trying to starve ourselves or go on a crash diet may give us some short-term satisfaction, but sooner or later we’ll slide back into our comfortable habits and be right where we started or even worse. Changing our habits takes some willpower, so take the gradual path and build up slowly. Here are some quick examples of small habits that you can change and lose some significant weight:

  • Replacing soda or juice with water (1x / day) will shed 10+ pounds in a year.
  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator (5 flights / day) can shed almost 3 pounds a year.
  • Having an apple instead of a candy bar (80 cal vs 240 cal) amounts to over 10 pounds a year.
  • A bowl of cereal instead of cookies (100 cal vs. 300 cal) could save you 20 pounds in a year.
  • And walking just 15 minutes a day could burn almost 10 pounds in a year!

The key to all of these habits is not in the one-time event. It’s in their reoccurrence over-and-over-and-over again. Just like years of compounding interest can build up your savings account, years of good habits can enrich your life account. It’s definitely worth the investment of time and effort.

To learn more about calculating your metabolism, adding up your exercise calories, and counting calories, check out the Fitness Plan page. Good habits can gain momentum over time and give you results that last a lifetime. Whether you want to fit into that bathing suit this summer or cut a few minutes off of your 5k time…try changing a few bad habits into good ones and before you know it will become part of your daily routine!

You can find Creatures of Habit and other motivational fitness information in the January 2008 article of The Bullhorn. You can sign up for this free monthly e-zine below.

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