Redux: Habits

I found some helpful pages in a somewhat outdated 1990 book on posture,  Understanding Balance by T.D.M. Roberts. The outdating regards his theories of posture, but his information on habit seemed accurate today, and clarified a few things for me.

He defines “habit” as patterns of learned behavior that after many repetitions, come to be performed without detailed attention. once it is formed it may prove difficult to change, because in part, we may be unaware of it. We become aware when the “sensory consequences of that action come to our attention.”

Many years ago I used to unconsciously bite the inside of my lip. I knew it was dangerous and not attractive and wanted to change it. However I could not, until I used a technique that might work to change other habits you don’t like. A psychiatrist that I consulted by phone, suggested that I keep a journal. This journal forced me to become aware of the “sensory consequences” of what I was doing. Every time I found myself biting my lip, I had to write down the time of day, where I was, what I was doing, and on a scale of 1 to 10, how stressed out I felt. I had to “feel” what I was doing in the moment.

In three days I cured myself and never bit the inside of my lip again (unless the occasional chewing too fast!). True story; I cured myself with info provided in one short phone call to set up an in-person appointment!

Roberts also says to change a habit requires at least two things: (1) an adequate desire to change, and (2) an awareness of the “feel” of a changing condition which will lead to a new habit.

Eating too rapidly easily leads to eating too much, a habit that is anathema to comfort when one is seriously waist training for some months, and lacing down slowly for many more hours as the weeks go by. Continue with this generally bad habit during waist training, and you will soon enough have “adequate desire to change!” (Also, you should lace down then eat, not the reverse!)

To develop an awareness of the “feel” of a changing condition leading to a sound new habit, I recommend for the first two weeks in order to become aware of this old bad habit, and to kick-start a new habit, you chew each bite of food 30 times before you swallow. Yes, even ice cream. I’m quite serious about this and require this of my three-month waist-training coaching students. It is also quite humorous, depending on what the food is that you are putting into your mouth.

While eating is a behavior that doesn’t require supervision, it does require skilled control in order to be comfortable while waist training — or even if you are not but wish to lose some inches or weight by reducing portion size (try a simple change by eating on small plates at all times!) and easing your digestion (prepping the food before you swallow), and stopping when you feel full because you now take the time to recognize the signals, rather than overeating by bolting down food.

It’s all pretty much common sense, right? Start small when you want to re-set your bad habit, don’t start big and “bite” off more than you can chew (could not resist that one). Concentrate only on chewing 30 times before you swallow and soon enough you will be ready to start on other beneficial eating and nutrition habits!

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