How Habits Can Ruin Your Weight Loss Attempt

Runner feet sunrise

Dr. Purushothaman
January 10, 2014


Of course, you're familiar with the most common weight loss advice: Just change your eating habits and start exercising. This is easier said than done because we all have our odd and bad habits that give us the opposite results of what we want.

But how is it possible that we time after time do the things we know are bad for us?

Part of the answer is to find in how habits are formed in the brain.

When we do, or learn something new, we create what you may call a tiny footpath in the brain. The first time we walk that path there will be a very little trace left behind us. Every time we walk it again, the footpath becomes wider.

So the more we walk that footpath it slowly turns into a pathway, and it might eventually become a highway. And as you know, it's easier to take the highway instead of creating a new pathway. This is why old habits are difficult to change. Subconsciously, we prefer the highway.

But, what if the is not highway leading us to where we want to go? Well, we need to consciously make the effort of creating a new one. We need to change our highway/habit so it leads us where we want to go. This is the tricky part.

In the past we all have made "wrong" choices, taken the wrong paths. This was done because we probably didn't know better at the time. The good news is that once we're aware of what we do, we can make the "right" choices in the future and create new highways in the brain.

An important piece of your weight loss project is to make new lifestyle choices that will eventually become good habits that will help you keep your new weight under control.

While you are creating a new habit/opening up a new highway you have to remind yourselves every time to take the pathway, instead of the more familiar highway. Each time you relax a bit, the chances that you'll find yourself back on the highway are very high.

This is only natural and nothing that should make you feel you "failed". Changing habits takes time and the best is doing it in your own time. One little change is better than no change at all. Find the balance of leaving your comfort zone, and moving too fast.

If you feel tempted to go on a fast weight loss program, take into consideration that the time you will be on the program is not enough for creating a new highway in the brain. The result is that as soon as you're off the program you're back into old habits again and you'll regain all the weight you just lost.

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