In this Thursday Therapy episode, Glenn helps you understand how you can get your eating and physical activity working TOGETHER, gives you his three top tips on turning healthy eating and exercise into HABITS, and invites you to join his Naturally Healthy Habits online program.
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- Viewer question on changing eating and exercise habits at the same time. [1:15]
- Why starting small helps in the long-term. [2:19]
- Dietitian Dr. Gina Cleo’s research on habits for weight management. [3:15]
- On changing one thing at a time. [4:14]
- Why focusing on creating habits is more helpful than trying to lose weight in the long term. [6:03]
- Focusing on enjoyable movement rather than burning calories works better in the long term. [7:41]
- Parting thoughts on creating new eating and moving habits. [8:27]
Hey everyone, Glenn Mackintosh, the weight psych, and the question were answering today is about getting your eating and exercise together at the same time. Hey everyone, welcome to Thursday Therapy and thank you to everyone who took part in our Facebook live, it was really fun, I really enjoyed it, so we’re definitely going to do heaps more of them and we will publish them on our YouTube channel. We were going to do that last week but we decided we wanted to create a cool little intro which we think we’ve done, so hang out for that. Okay, let’s get to answering a question from Rebecca, that actually popped up for a lot of people from time to time. Rebecca asks, “Dear Glenn. I’ve been enjoying the Thursday Therapy immensely. I look forward to watching them as much as a favourite TV show as I can really relate and find them very helpful. I have a question / experience view. In the past when I’ve attempted diets and exercise regime / challenges, I’m good at focusing solely on the diet or the exercise but when I try to combine them I seem to fall down quickly and then give up completely despite enjoying the exercise. I guess my question to you is, what is a healthy mind-set or approach to incorporating both exercise and healthy eating to create new better habits rather than quick fixes?” Rebecca, this is a really interesting question and it does pop up for a lot of people from time to time, so as usual I want to give you a few answers and then you can have a play around with them yourself. Okay, the first thing I want you to do and you’ve heard me say this before, is I want you to start small. It’s funny, we see this in our tapping program, our tapping program gets wonderful results and the results actually increase over time, so people are forming long-lasting habits they get into the tapping program that kind of weight focus and they’re kind of like, okay, what do I change, how much weight am I going to lose this week and we’re sort of saying, look let’s just take the focus off that. You know, week one we’re just going to teach you about the tapping technique. Week two, we’re just going to start to tap on one particular type of food craving and people like give us more give us more we’re kind of constantly raining them in but over time they make these wonderful changes and they kind of look back and think, wow, this is amazing what I’ve done but it just comes through these small changes. I was talking to a colleague of mine, Gina Clio who has actually asked the Thursday Therapy question before, hey Gina, and she’s just presenting her research in the next couple of days to the DAA on habit formation for weight management and she finds exactly the same thing; people come in, they’re very weight focus trying to change everything at a time and she is working on the most micro of changes. Like you drive to work this way, let’s look at driving to work another way just for today and people are like, oh really that’s it, but then over time, she’s actually finding similar to what we find in the tapping studies, that people, they might lose a little bit of weight, maybe none at all, maybe a little bit but then six months later they’ve lost more weight and six months later they’ve lost more weight again, they’re actually creating habits that last a life all through starting small. A really good way to start small is to focus on one habit at a time, so to focus on either a moving habit or to focus on an eating habit. Sometimes if you try and put it all together, it’s too much for your brain to adapt to at once. It takes too much willpower and also if you’re in a bit of a weight focus mentality, you think about it from an energy in energy out perspective, you’re trying to reduce your energy and you’re expending more energy that means your body and your brain don’t have as much energy and that undermines your willpower, so for psychological reasons and for physiological reasons it can be hard to do both at the same time. I know doing both at the same time is what you do when you’re on a weight-loss kick, so what you’re sort of starting to probably realize is that creating healthy habits and focusing on weight loss are two separate and often competing goals. So, what I want you to do is think about like what we do in our naturally healthy habits program. We spend four weeks focusing on intuitive eating skills and then we spend two weeks focusing on movement skills, so you might want to start with one or the other whichever you prefer, have a bit of patience and just take some time to set that as a habit. Research shows that it takes between 18 and 264 days for you to change your eating or moving habits, depending on the complexity of the new habit that you’re creating and the habits strength that you have, so it’s probably a bit longer than 21 days, so maybe think about doing one, waiting till you feel like that’s become quite habitual and then move on to the next. The third thing that I want you to think about if you’re looking to create healthy eating and moving, having it sort of working together and last for life and this sounds funny to say but I actually want you to focus on creating healthy habits. We are so weight focused in today’s society that often when we go on a health kick the focus does become the weight and focusing on the weight loss actually undermines your ability to create habits that last. I think of it like if you consider your health a marathon that last for your whole life, focusing on a short term or a weight focused approach is like sprinting the first 400 meters. If you look at it that way it’s absolutely no surprise that after a while your body can’t handle it anymore, your mind can’t handle it, you run out of steam and you need to stop and recover before you start again. That’s where you get that on off, on off what we call the dieting cycle. So, what I want you to do is do your very best, for the moment, forget weight loss and so rather than focusing on eating to lose weight, which is really kind of prescribed under eating, I want you to learn intuitive eating skills, we’ve talked a lot about this and we’ll provide some links to some of our videos on intuitive eating but it’s really a way of eating that you can learn to listen to your own senses of hunger and fullness, you’ll just start when you’re hungry, you’ll stop when you’ve had enough and after practicing it for a little while, healthy eating will actually become really easy for you. The same goes with your exercise, rather than focusing on exercise to burn a certain amount of calories, focus on developing a positive relationship with exercise and looking to do exercise that you just enjoy in and of itself, rather than for the external goal of weight loss, well I would even say rather than the external goal of health. If you’re doing it just because you love doing it then that’s going to be a naturally healthy habit that you can kind of sustain forever. So, when you do this, I want you to just focus on eating well in and of itself, focus on moving well in of itself and have faith that your body will respond the way that you want it to. So, guys, the next time you’re thinking about creating healthier eating and or moving habits, you might want to start really small, maybe do one at a time and wait till you’ve got that habit form before you move on to the next one and then when you do it, make sure you’re doing it in the right way that will actually lead to naturally healthy habits that lasts forever. So, guys speaking of naturally healthy habits, I want to invite everyone to join our naturally healthy habit online program it starts May 29th, yep, May 29th. It’s amazing to me when people do this program, the feedback is so profound, people say to me Glenn, this is where I really realized that your program is doing a completely different thing to what I’ve ever done before and it is really the core of our non-dieting approach at weight management psychology, in the program we teach you exactly why diets don’t work, we show you how to understand whether you are on a diet or not and then we give you a really solid basis in building these intuitive eating skills that will just last forever and then move on to developing a really enjoyable pattern of exercise that will last forever. It’s a funny thing because the results are so fantastic but it’s actually one of the hardest programs that we have to market because it’s not about quick fixes, it’s not about weight loss, it’s really about creating a long-term change and then seeing the results over time, so to do this program you need a shift in mind-set but I really would encourage you to have faith in the work that we do and if some of the things we’ve talked about today have resonated with you, this is a fantastic program for you to do, so, and of course we’ll give you our code GMACK if you want a 10% discount for that and we would really love to have you along for the ride with us. Anyway, that’s it for me for today’s Thursday Therapy. Of course, if you haven’t subscribed and this one is a very general one that a lot of people have challenges with, so if you feel like it, feel free to share it with a friend and I’ll see you in a couple of weeks, for our next Thursday Therapy.