After the Christmas holidays it is not uncommon that you pack on the pounds. During this time of year, my otherwise relatively healthy diet turns in to the “see-food-diet”. When I see food, I eat it.
Luckily, there is a relatively simple tip you can use to get back on track with your fitness.
Create habits – Creating a habit of doing something is ultimately the thing that’s going to help you the most out of all the tips that I will give.
Habits consist of
A Cue – that triggers your brain to go in to automatic mode
A routine – physical, mental or emotional behavior that follows the cue
A reward – to build a psychological incentive to continue and tells your brain that the routine works well
This creates the habit loop. Examples of rewards in products are things like; the foam from shampoo that indicates it’s working and the minty tingling from toothpaste to give a fresh clean sensation.
One example of how you can apply this in your daily fitness routine is to install a nutrition of daily exercise application on your phone that gives you daily reminders to perform a certain task.
Cue – a notification appears on your phone that reminds you of doing your daily workout routine.
Routine – performing the exercises shown on your fitness application
Reward – watching an episode of your favorite TV show
Reversely, you can also utilize this strategy to break bad habits. If you eat as a response to stressful situations, the way to break that habit is not to simply stop eating chocolate chip cookies whenever your boss gets on your ass about that deadline you need to meet next week. Instead, replace that response with something else. In this instance, stressful situations act as the cue, the cookie as the routine and the release of endorphins from the sugar in the cookie as the reward.
The trick here is to replace your cookie eating routines with something more beneficial for your health. An alternative response to the cue of stress could be to create a routine of doing 20 push ups whenever you feel stressed, the increased heart rate and endorphins released from the short exercise will act as your reward (this is the same reason stress-balls were invented).