We’ve all got them, but how do we break them?? Im trying to break my worst habit, which is evening snacking. I mindlessly eat all evening starting about 90 minutes after dinner. Looking for ideas to break this pattern. What are or have been your bad habits? How have you changed your behaviour? What’s worked and what hasn’t?
For me snacking is caused by boredom. If I do something I forget about snacking.
If it’s in the house I will consume any salty snack or chocolate. So…I don’t buy it and if the wife and kids buy they hide it from me. Sad but, true.
Mine is mindless snacking in the afternoons. Coffee (caffeine) helps reduce cravings a bit, and I’m trying to find healthy snacks like dried fruit. Still struggling a lot with it, though.
I have a different take on snacking – yes, habitual here too – it seems to be driven by underlying diet. I’ve done both long-term HCLF and HFLC diets and can say that while eating HFLC I almost never had the craving to snack. Eating HCLF means I’m always on the hunt for more food.
One of the easier ways to change a habit is to change the environment. With food, don’t have snacky things in the house, or make getting a snack more of a challenge than it’s worth (e.g. keep your Nutella in the fridge behind all the almost-empty jars of mustard, freeze your bread, keeps things on the very bottom/top shelf, etc).
Another way is to replace one habit with another – and make it easy. Spend some time cutting up carrot sticks and apple slices and putting them front and centre in the fridge. Slap a sign on them that says “Eat as many of these as you want!”. You’re still snacking but you’re now eating good food.
Also, work backwards. If snacking is the problem, figure out what it gives you. Eating snacks keeps you entertained and happy and makes you feel good cuz all the brain chems that get released. Find something which gives you the same result but with different means.
If all else fails, stop, drop and start doing push-ups.
Sitting on the toilet while reading the TrainerRoad Forum. We all know who you are…
My wife and I have different bad habits consuming things. Things we cannot consume in moderation we just don’t keep in the house.
Substitution often works because eating and drinking are often combined with things like social, emotional and environmental factors. So we drink a lot of flavored (unsweetened) soda water. That cuts back on a lot of empty calories in other drinks.
Portion control can help. I eat trail mix from a shot glass. It isn’t much, but it is all I ‘need’.
Finally, when it comes to reinforcing good habits, I remind myself that discipline is remembering what you want. Or as my wife says, do give up what you want for what you want now.
Alcohol. Completely knocked on the head until further notice. Do I miss beer and a bottle of decent wine? Yes but the weight is dropping off me, alcohol consumption is just empty calories which helps embed the behaviour.
Trying to eat and fuel correctly is hard enough without an extra component that serves no health benefit.
So I suppose the formula (for me) for breaking bad habits is to crystallise those benefits daily.
For this specific problem - I brush my teeth after dinner (or, 15 minutes after dinner), it shuts down the hunger urge and since i don’t want to brush again it keeps me from after meal snacking
I chew gum when I am tempted to have a snack in the afternoon. Not the most appealing habit, but helps cover that urge for me
Also - big +1 from me on the folks saying don’t keep it in the house. Kind of hard if you have kids, but if you can just not have unhealthy snacks then even when you do break down and have a snack it’ll be an apple or a hard cooked egg
Re: snacking, I second the advice of finding something that you like that you can eat as much of as you like and make it the easiest thing to eat. For me, this is celery, carrots, and some hummus for dipping. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so grapes are enough to satisfy me.
A bad habit for me has been time on my phone. I’ve started leaving my phone in a relatively inconvenient place in the house. This has helped immensely. All those little 5-10 minute breaks to check a few apps add up to so much time so fast. I’m literally saving more than an hour a day, which is sad to admit.
For a while, I did zero snacking all day. If I didn’t eat food at meal time, I ate nothing. My inspiration was the Jason Fung book. I tend not to snack all day anyway but I did start up the after dinner snacking.
Lately I’m trying to keep it in check by just eating a small bowl of plain yogurt. It’s not that many calories, gives me another protein dose for the day, and satisfies the need to munch. As mentioned above, you can do the same with carrots, celery or whatever that is low cal.
Used to bring my phone into the bedroom and plug it in but ended up looking at it since it was within reach. I sleep well but forcing myself to plug it in the kitchen/living room has helped immensely.
Giving up alcohol almost 2 years ago also has been amazing. Started with dryJanuary and kept it going. Don’t miss it at all even though I was only having one on occasion which probably helped kick the habit all together.
Hack a habit: check out The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (there are some info graphics and summaries out there but book is great too.)
Figure out the cue that elicits the behavior (watching TV or work or whatever 90 minutes after dinner). Figure out the reward that you get from behavior (is it really hunger or just blood sugar drop, boredom fidget, walking to fridge etc). Replace habit with something else positive, 21 days to make semi permanent.
If really hunger or sweet craving, pros swear by seltzer (try sweeter flavor like mandarin),Tyler Hamilton swears by apples (can dip in hummus), plain yogurt with blue berries good replacement for ice cream, etc) other hunger hacks -20 minute walk, yoga, drink water, brush teeth (weird but works). If you don’t have to stay up, try just hitting bed before the cue hits and you’ll really reap the benefits. Replacing snacking with sleep is the ultimate win.
Me, every day: stays up way too late, sleeps like shit.
Also me: why am I so tired?
Life truly is a mystery.
I watched the whole series but I never managed to pick up any habits from them.
Sorry I had to.
Semi-permanent being the key phrase. It can take 3+ months to permanently program a new habit into your brain.
Interestingly enough, the ‘old habit’ pathway in the brain does not get erased, it will still exist, albeit unused. So the mechanisms to rekindle a bad habit are always present, be aware of the triggers.
I’ve stopped bringing my phone into the bathroom to keep off Reddit/etc