Monday, February 4, 2013

Phase I of Building a New Habit


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.

Namaste

8 comments:

  1. I really cut down on the sugar binges last month, but I did indulge in Atkins bars, OMG they are so good, but I only allow myself two a day.

    Now it's time to get rid of the diet soda, I'm embarrassed to say how much I drink of it, but suffice it to say, I got up at least 6 times to go to the bathroom last night. I still feel rested though. Hell, compared to a few years ago when I would go days without sleeping because of my drinking, I feel fantastic.

    I'm just ready to see what 100% natural feels like.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Any time it's mentioned to eliminate all of something from my diet, I can't do it! Lol seriously, it just overwhelmed me. I love your new philosophy of a little bit at a time. I can eliminate all blatant sugars like candy or adding it to my coffee, but when it comes to reading labels etc...to me the oatmeal wouldn't count! I make steel cut oats a couple times a week and I ADD brown sugar and cinnamon! If that's sinful, so be it.
    Good luck with your new goal.it is a good goal. Im not there yet though. But yay you! Go sober mom!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Any time it's mentioned to eliminate all of something from my diet, I can't do it! Lol seriously, it just overwhelmed me. I love your new philosophy of a little bit at a time. I can eliminate all blatant sugars like candy or adding it to my coffee, but when it comes to reading labels etc...to me the oatmeal wouldn't count! I make steel cut oats a couple times a week and I ADD brown sugar and cinnamon! If that's sinful, so be it.
    Good luck with your new goal.it is a good goal. Im not there yet though. But yay you! Go sober mom!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wonderful to hear that you're joining the flock of unsweetened sistahs (and this brothah). You will actually be surprised how much of this shift is not as big a deal as you think it is. I just had two clementines, and they curbed by post-meal sweets craving. I know, not the same as concentrated sugar, but you get used to it. And when you start to see the benefits (and you will), you'll get more pumped up about it. Do I get cravings? Oh yes, I do. Hell yes. But like when I stopped drinking, the thoughts come...and they pass. Doesn't mean I jump on them. Let them pass like clouds, I do. I haven't gone through so much fruit in my life, and I am loving it. No juice - just the real thing.

    Whether you do it cold turkey like I did (yikes) or removing things in stages, you'll find it beneficial. You're creating a new habit that will have you wondering how it is that you scarfed down all those Godivas all those years (mmmmmm....Godiva, ok Paul, stop it).

    Thanks for sharing - and I am rooting for you! :)

    Paul

    ReplyDelete
  5. AWESOME - I'm going to print these steps and use them in treatment planning. This made me think of a patient I had today who is chronically late. This perpetual lateness also came to be using the steps you post. Now, to flip this and apply these to positive change.

    I think you'll do well with this - largely because you are writing about it making yourself accountable. WTG!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sugar is my biggest enemy. No wonder I was a big drinker...SUGAR! It's still my go to when I'm stressed or PMS. BUT. I'm realizing this. And noticing that (like booze) when I don't give in to the cravings I feel better inside and out.

    I wonder if it's the sugar part or the "treat" part we love the most?

    I'm rooting for you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love this post. I've heard some wise people say they succeeded in making healthy changes to their diet by cutting out one thing at a time. This makes perfect sense (which is probably why I never tried it). So true also that when I gave up drinking, I smoked more. When I gave up smoking, I ate more. Never two crazy-hard things at the same time, but eventually the options opened up. You might also turn around on fresh fruit. Some have a lower glycemic index than others, so they give you that feeling of having something sweet without making your blood sugar spike. I am still in the 'eat any kind of fruit I want' phase, so this is just theory. Good luck, I'm proud of you.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.