Belief and Weight Loss


Cob and Straw Bale Cottage in Oregon
Belief is key to everything we do.  If I didn’t believe I could build this spiral house I wouldn’t even have tried.

In the book ” The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, one of the key elements that is important in changing a habit, such as the way one eats, is belief that change is possible.  I can see how that is true.  Nothing is done that is done without belief that it is possible.  A baby would not walk unless he believed walking was possible for him.

The author goes on to say that one of the keys to change for people in Alcoholics Anonymous is belief.  Belief in a higher power and belief that it is possible to make a change.

Believing in my ability to lose weight had never been a problem before.  I have lost weight many times, especially after having a baby and needing to lose the lbs. I had put on while pregnant.  Lately, however, my belief had been faltering as I found myself giving up every day about 5 pm and deciding I didn’t care.  However, in the last few days, learning about habits and how they work, and deciding to change my reactions to the triggers, has bolstered my belief in my ability to lose weight this time.

In the book “The Power of Habit”, the belief that change is possible often took some time for the people in the stories shared.  Then at a tipping point, when the people began to see that the change was real, the belief soared and everything fell into place.  Like a chain reaction, other things fell into place to support the change as well.

For me, changing the habit of eating while watching TV has also caused other changes to naturally occur.  My sister Cheryl and I decided to make some healthy treats that will not only boost our energy, but also be better for us than the milk chocolate and sugary treats we had been eating.  Last night Cheryl and I made “zoom balls” from a recipe in Rosemary Gladstar’s book “Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health” and put our new treats in the refrigerator ready to reach for at the right moment.  Due to this preparation, today as I ran errands, I did not reach for other treats at the store to tide me over.  I know I have zoom balls waiting for me at home, and my belief in this process has helped me wait.

Once I got home I ate my meal and did not need the zoom balls.  Interesting.

I will post about my experiment with zoom balls and weight loss again as I use them.  If anyone has tried zoom balls before I would love to hear from you about your experience.  I will say the recipe called for a lot of nutmeg and in the future I may not use so much.  We toned ours down with more tahini butter and coconut and honey.

Happy healthy eating!

Habits and Weight Loss

This yarn does come into the story later in this post . . . truly it does!

Recently the women in our household have been listening to a book called, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.  We are into it by three CD’s so far and I have learned that habits are formed in a sequence: first is the trigger, next the thing that we do when the trigger happens which becomes a habit, and lastly the reward.  Identifying the trigger is the key to changing our habit.

For example, I one thing I am triggered by is stress.  A stress trigger for me at one time was when I was helping a particular child with their homework and they begin making those irritating whiny noises.  I would reach for sugar and starch and chocolate.  Those sugary treats gave me a pleasure rush and also dulled my senses to the whining.  When I became aware of that trigger , I knew I could either accept that I needed chocolate or sugar when I worked with him, or I could remove myself from the situation temporarily.  For weight loss, the removal of myself from the situation temporarily would be the better habit of course.  This was awhile back and I did not figure out any other solution (but then I hadn’t read this book yet either),

Another trigger for me is laying down in the bedroom and watching TV, or going to the movies.  Being still and watching leaves my hands and mouth bored which ends in me wanting a snack, especially at the movies!  I have such a habit of eating candy or treats I always want something, and lately especially, well buttered popcorn and M&M’s!

According to Duhigg, in order to change a habit, the trigger is identified, then an alternate action is taken instead of the old habit.  The alternate action must be something that can also provide the pleasure reward we seek when being triggered.

I have figured out how to alter my habit at home. Instead of watching TV in the bedroom where the lights are out and our family is all together sharing popcorn on the bed, I have started watching (or listening to a book) on our computer in the living room, where I can spin wool while watching or listening.  Spinning wool is fun to me and I love the yarn I make.  By keeping my hands busy doing something I enjoy, I am altering my habit from one pleasure to another.  Altering the habit of eating fatty treats to something else I enjoy when the known trigger is happening will help me with my weight loss goals.

So, by identifying what is triggering you to eat things you are trying to avoid, or by identifying triggers to other habits you would like to change, you are on the way to finding alternative habits which provide pleasant rewards, to take the place of an unwanted habit.

Give it a try if you like, and let me know how this works for you.  You might also enjoy reading “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.