Building a Habit takes Energy.

- POSTED ON: Aug 23, 2011


Building a positive Habit takes energy.

In the beginning, habit takes mental energy,
to remember to be "good",
and follow a new type of eating behavior.

A person has a finite amount of mental energy
to spend on being virtuous.

Once we cross over the line from consciously "being good"
to just having the Habit,
we aren't using as much energy on it day to day,
and it becomes easier.

  It helps to try and move towards thinking about one's new eating behavior 
as mostly "allowing" oneself to eat the right amount of food,
instead of as denying oneself excess.
It helps when we think of ourselves as well-Treated
because we are in the process of eating correctly.

Going through most of our week
thinking of what we're doing as some sort of self-imposed suffering
for the benefit of our future self....becomes wearing.
This is especially true if our calorie deficit
is high enough to frequently cause gnawing hunger.

Thinking of what one is doing as a positive, can be in and of itself rewarding.
It is better not to classify our eating behavior as delayed gratification.
Many months can go by without one arriving at one's weight goal,
and maintenance of that weight goal seldom allows a drastic eating change.

It is best to reject surmising about WHAT extra foods you can eat at goal,
or mental bargaining about WHEN you will be able to eat differently.

Leave me a comment.

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Existing Comments:

On Aug 23, 2011 TexArk wrote:
If you haven't already been following these articles, I think you will find them relevant. J Stanton at a four part series on Why We Are Hungry. He gets into willpower, the formerly obese, etc. Very thorough with research references. Your statement about having a finite amount of energy to spend on being virtuous fits right in.

On Aug 23, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Thanks TexArk, Sounds interesting. I will look up that series and read it.

On Aug 23, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
My weekdays do not feel one bit like suffering any more. I feel so much better eating my moderate meals and having 4-6 hour gaps between my meals that I look forward to them. I am still hanging on to some food dependencies on the weekends, yet I don't long for the weekends, either. I still need to go through a shift, likely to be willing to accept the anxiety of new food habits. What's funny is that it actually sounds harder to give up the mental side than the actual physical side. I have a harder time accepting the IDEA of my eating even less, as if I'm judging it will be terrible, yet when I think about it, I realize I spend many happy days feeling absolutely content with the amount of food I have. I enjoy it and don't grieve over what I can't have. But I want to leave myself the opening to eat more sometimes... hmmm.

On Aug 23, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Oolala, I agree with you that the mental change is actually harder than the physical change ... and of course, a physical change is almost impossible without a mental change as well.

On Aug 26, 2011 Karen925 wrote:
J Stanton at a four part series on Why We Are Hungry*** TexArk thank you for suggesting these articles. I found them informative.

On Aug 26, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Karen and TexArk, I am also finding J Stanton's writing interesting. Thanks for pointing it out to me. I haven't had a chance to read that specific series yet, but I am quoting something he said in the blog I'm writing today.

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