Healthy Habits

Content warning: diet speak, body speak

Habits and SnowThey say it takes 21 days to change a habit. And I definitely mean change a habit because you are almost always replacing one thing with something else. I’m busy replacing my old habit of eating sugar with eating more fruits and vegetables, and the habit of not exercising with going for walks.

The reason it takes 21 days is because you are creating new neural pathways. The first week is usually the most difficult, because forging the new pathway is like trudging through deep snow. It is hard work! And why would you want to cut a path through the deep snow, when there is a plowed walkway right over there?

The second week is a little easier. Now you’ve got a walkway started. It’s pretty narrow, and maybe the snowdrifts will still cover it up. The snow has continued falling and is starting to fill the old pathway, though it would still be easy to clear if you went back to it.

By the third week, the old pathway is really getting snowed in. You can still make it out, and the snow isn’t quite as packed in as the areas around it. The new pathway is definitely clearer now. Just a little more effort, and it becomes as easy to walk as the old one was when you started.

In theory, anyway. Some habits are tougher to “snow in” than others. For some habits, like sugar for example, your body and brain will pick up like you never left. I thought I had it under control, and before I knew it, sugar was ruling my life.

I’m just past the 21 day mark on the food habits, and just past 14 days on the walking habit. I had quite the interesting conversation with myself on my walk last night.

I *want* to make this change. I enjoy feeling healthier, and having more energy, and less pain. I enjoy my hands smooth and my skin clear. I would love to release some extra weight (never lose weight, because losing things is bad – psychology), not because I want to fit any beauty standards or BMI bull. Releasing weight means less inflammation and pain. It means more energy, and feeling more alive.

I feel like I’m committed to these choices in a way I haven’t been before. Now that I’ve made it two weeks hitting my step goal, I’ve increased it to keep stretching myself. It’s not much more, another 500 steps. Yet I have to work a little harder to get there. Tracking my progress also keeps me focused. The more days I achieve the goal in a row, the more motivated I am to keep up the momentum.

I’m looking forward to measuring my body and seeing the results there. It is strangely harder this time than it was last time. I want to see my progress, even though I am seeing progress in other areas.

Here’s to building, and maintaining, healthy habits.



A Lesson in Choosing Both

Expressive Yoga for the SoulI used to do yoga regularly. I have a DVD that my husband gave me that I love – Expressive Yoga for the Soul. Then something happened, I don’t even remember what, and I stopped. I’ve missed it. I even thought that it was something I would do this summer while I was off work.

Yeah, didn’t happen.

I’ve thought on and off that I would like to get back in the habit of doing yoga. Maybe not every day. But several times a week. Then I look at my schedule, and wonder where I would fit it in!

I have been telling myself that the only time I could really do yoga is first thing in the morning, when I meditate. I’d have to give up my meditation to do yoga, and the meditation has been more important to me.

I’m working with the goddess Athena right now. She’s a warrior, and warriors take care of their body AND mind. I’m also setting goals, and I want to continue getting healthier, and strengthen my back so I can heal from old injuries.

Anyway, the inspiration came to me this week that if I just shift my alarm 10 minutes, stop laying in bed after meditating (i.e. basically hit the snooze), and shift what I do in the first few minutes when I wake up just a tiny bit, I would be able to meditate AND do yoga.

So I tried it on Wednesday. And it worked! I did it on Thursday, too, even though I was up later than I wanted to be on Wednesday night.

I haven’t decided yet whether I am going to do yoga on the days I do my other workout yet or not. I’m thinking yes, at least for now. I’m building a new habit, and that takes consistency. It’s still a baby habit right now, though. It’s very fragile. If I give myself an excuse not to do it, even a valid excuse, I open the door to other excuses.

I could use your encouragement. Your comments of support, or even asking me how I’m doing. And tell me what habits you are nurturing. I’d love to support you in growing healthy habits. 🙂






Why Are Good Habits So Hard to Maintain?

The 30/60 blog challenge is over, and I made a commitment to blog twice a week. It’s now Friday, and I am scrambling to get a blog post published today. What’s up with that?

I succeeded. I achieved my goal. And so I tell myself I deserve a break. But that break takes me out of the positive habit I had been building. My motivation is low. I want to watch movies or play games instead of writing.

No Junk FoodI notice this with other positive habits in my life, too. As soon as my stress levels increase for whatever reason, out go the good habits and the bad ones leak out all over the place. I stop journaling, meditating, and exercising. I start eating junk food and seeking escape in games and movies.

I know what keeps me healthy in body, mind and spirit. And most of the time I find joy in doing those things. Then some kind of speed bump happens and it completely derails me. I have to begin the uphill climb of re-establishing my positive habit

They say it takes 21 days to change a habit. And that you can’t just stop a bad habit, you have to replace it with something else. I’ve been exercising three times a week for more than a year, eating a healthy, raw lunch for about a year and a half, and meditating daily for over two years. Definitely more than the 21 days, though admittedly with some speed bumps along the way.

So why is it so easy to fall back into old patterns? I don’t have any answers. I wish I did. Perhaps I can take a little solace in knowing that I am recognizing and catching myself in old patterns more quickly than I used to. I’d really like to understand why they are not gone, though.

I don’t think it’s because I’m lazy. Even when I’m slacking I tend to accomplish more than I give myself credit for. I’d just like to stop falling “off the wagon” when it comes to the things I know are healthy for me.

If you have any insight, or can point me towards any resources that address this, I’d love to hear from you. Even if you just want to let me know I’m not alone, I’d appreciate your comments below.