As an overweight child and someone who has battled with their weight being so up and down for most of their life, it’s safe to say that I’ve had my fair share of unhealthy eating habits in the past. Even today, when my weight has remained quite consistent, I still find the odd habit creeping back in … the big difference though, is that now I am able to recognise a habit for what it is and I know what I need to do to turn the situation around.

Recently, I listened to a lecture by Mehmet Oz (MD) which really struck a chord with me because without even knowing how or what I had been doing to successfully break my habits in the past, he explained it so perfectly and I realised in that exact moment, that this is what had always worked for me as well. He went on to explain that¬† – “you really can’t get rid of a bad habit, you have to replace a bad habit. So you put a new habit into place, shove the other one out of the way and you begin to use your new habits”. The key however is that you have to keep modifying the new habit until it makes sense or until you are at a place where you are happy & accepting of this habit.

There’s just a little more to it though and in order to break a habit, you need to allow at least 2 weeks of whatever it is that you try. If you are still unhappy after 2 weeks, then you need to change tactics and admit that perhaps you were too strict on yourself trying to modifying the first habit.

I can honestly say that I have used this exact method for a lot of different habits, not just food but food habits seem to be my weakness. Take chocolate for instance – whilst I’m not saying that any form of chocolate is necessarily healthy, there are certainly healthier options available when comparing different types of chocolate on the market. I’ve been a dark chocolate girl for a few years now but this didn’t happen overnight. Up until my mid twenties, I was strictly a white chocolate kind-of-girl and ever so slowly over the years, I’ve altered my taste buds from white chocolate to milk chocolate to now a huge fan of 90% dark chocolate – that is my go-to treat! Back in the day though, I would have turned my nose up at 90% because it would have been too bitter for my liking. So using Mehmet’s theory, I took my less healthy habit of regularly consuming white chocolate and changed it to milk chocolate. Once I was confident that I no longer preferred the taste of white chocolate, I tried the lowest % of dark chocolate and weaned my way slowly of milk chocolate to dark. From here, I’ve slowly just increased the percentage of cacao over time.

Another more recent example was the habit I developed around Easter time, where I’d eat literally eat dark chocolate every night immediately after dinner even though I wasn’t hungry – I’d just eaten a decent sized meal. I knew what started as something harmless was developing yet again into an unhealthy habit so I made the decision to trade my dark chocolate at night to a tablespoon of nut butter (something else I love but that’s a little healthier to consume more regularly than chocolate) and a mug of hot cacao. I’ve had this habit going on for nearly a month and am confident that I’ve now kicked my dark chocolate fix. That’s not to say that I’ll never eat dark chocolate again because I definitely will – it’s my treat of choice but eating the same thing, every day out of habit can lead to many unhealthy issues and that’s the real problem in my eyes.

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