Dr Heather McKee x Leon
Making healthy habits stick with Well Aware and Leon
What can people do to ensure they stay on the road to success? In terms of forming healthy habits and making sure they stick, do you have any tips or advice you can share on this?
In 2005, a group of researchers studied 5000 individuals who have successfully lost and maintained a significant amount of weight over at least 5 years. This research demonstrated that there was no single method that worked best for long term success. There were no individual genetic characteristics or personality types that contributed towards these peoples success. There was no particular diet that these people used that was any better than another.
In actual fact no two people in this group of 5,000 lost weight in the same way!
What the researchers found was that through trial and error these successful individuals had each honed their own system for success. They found a particular set of habits that worked best for them, and if they executed these habits consistently it lead to their ongoing success.
In other words, the study showed that the key to long term success is ultimately about finding out what works for you. Finding your own unique system of habits.
So what is the best way to do this?
In support of this, researchers at Duke University found that habits account for about 40% of our behaviours on any given day. The key is to develop a system of habits that works within the constraints of your lifestyle that will support you in achieving your weight loss goals.
The 5,000 successful weight loss maintainers got to where they are today not through punishment and restriction but through trial and error.
You can start to experiment by making small but consistently healthy changes to your lifestyle.
Focusing on small changes is effective as it helps reinforce the importance of focusing on the process of building healthy habits.
Ultimately health is a habit if you aim to build up to eating healthily or exercising 70-80% of the time, what you do the rest of the time doesn’t have as big an impact on your success. So instead of wasting your willpower on restrictive and ineffective diets, focus on building a system of habits that work for you.
If everyone was to take one nugget of knowledge or top tip away with them today to help them get started on their wellness journey, what advice would you give them?
You can do this by asking yourself, what is the smallest step I can take today for my health?
For example; my clients set themselves one small change that they intend to make each week with regards to their weight loss. This is intentionally tiny so it doesn’t feel too punishing or restrictive. For example things you could do to get started with could be;
· putting half a spoon full of sugar less in your daily tea or coffee
· making sure all coffees you get are a size smaller
· walking 50 more steps on your fitness tracker a day.
These may seem like insignificantly small changes but cumulatively they can have a BIG impact on your long term success. For example; if your goal is to have a smaller size latte per day, this can result in… 50,000 less calories consumed per year.
You can then work through ways to add to these small changes in a way that suits your lifestyle, slowly growing the combined effect that these changes can have, ultimately ensuring your long term weight loss success.
Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process makes a huge difference.
So why not set yourself a small goal for this week? Think about what you could do that could have a positive impact on your health, yet doesn’t feel too restrictive or draining?