|Habit! Get it? It's okay...I'm Catholic.|
So today is day one of my new habit...namely...getting rid of the sugar in my diet. It's 8:14 am and I've already fucked it up. More about that later.
As I mentioned on Friday, Leo at zenhabits.net says there are a few, very important steps to take when learning a new habit.
First, do one habit at a time. I know this one to be true because I always try to do too much too soon and then I burn out, throw my hands in the air and rationalize the hell out of going back to my bad habit. I tried to quit smoking and lose weight at the same time...uh...nope. I tried to quit drinking and lose weight at the same time...again...no dice. So this time I've taken my goal, to cut sugar out of my diet, and divided it into different portions. Refined sugar, artificial sweetener, diet sodas (I KNOW they have artificial sweetener in them but this is a biggie in and of itself), and refined carbs (which I may have to break down further when I get there). We'll talk about fruit later, I still need to do some research on that one and I'm not really a fruit eater anyway.
Next, make it a tiny habit. You know the old joke? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Same goes for this. So refined sugar is the first thing to go. As I said however, I already messed up this morning because, without even thinking, I rushed into work (I was behind schedule of course) and grabbed a bag of oatmeal for breakfast. Twelve whopping grams of sugar in that one, tiny little envelope. So I think I'll start with the obvious things first, no candy, no chocolate, no added sugar in my coffee, no sprinkled sugar on...well...anything. I'll attack the hidden sugar in my next phase.
Third, do it once a day. Well I'm not sure how this would work for me but he goes on to say that you shouldn't move on for three weeks. Long enough for the new habit to become seated and take up residence in your routine. So I'll do it a month at a time (because counting three weeks and remembering when I started and when I'm supposed to move on won't work for me...too much like work). February is the month for candy, chocolate and any added white, brown, raw or other forms of the real stuff. (February? Really? Note to Elmo...no Godiva this year. Shit.)
Fourth, focus on starting. Done. Well almost. As soon as I get rid of this oatmeal in my drawer it's done.
Fifth, enjoy doing it. Hmmm...more on this later. Leo has some suggestions that I may have to employ.
Sixth, watch your thoughts. Basically, I need to be paying attention when I start thinking that a cookie is better than all the good I'm doing for my body. At my age especially, excessive sugar can be a ticking time bomb and is likely responsible for a lot of the aches and pains I have. I know it's responsible for my daily headaches which I've learned to live with but still suck. So stay in the pantry you stupid cookie - you're dead to me (spit, spit). And not, Bobby Ewing in the shower it was only a dream kind of dead - either. More like Larry Hagman has passed on so J.R. is really dead kind of dead. (Uh-oh...too soon? Sorry.)
Seventh, don't miss two straight days. Oh man is this one key for me! I'm the queen of, "Well I've already fallen off the wagon, might as well go all the way!" And my personal favorite, "I'll start back up on Monday." Yeah, well Monday gets harder and harder to face the more time passes. In my former state of mind, eating that oatmeal this morning would have meant that I can have dessert at our office lunch today because, well, I've already messed it up right? WRONG. No dessert. Period.
And finally, be accountable. I've told Elmo and now I'm telling you, gentle reader, and even if you're not out there, just putting it in the Universe and knowing it's out there is accountability. Hey, it worked for recovery from booze, might as well give it a shot for sugar.
Leo's post has a lot more wonderful information in it and I encourage you to surf on over and check him out. Lots of good stuff there.