Breaking Bad Habits

I’ve never met anyone that hasn’t had a bad habit and most of us could probably admit to at least one when it comes to nutrition.

My bad habit: not being able to avoid the workplace sweets. As some of you know I work in a hospital and do this blog on the side. Unfortunately, working in a hospital means that patients or their families show their thank you’s to the staff by bringing in sweets. It’s common for people to bring up trays of cookies, donuts, candies, or other savory morsels on a very regular bases. My nemesis: chocolate chip cookies. While the majority of the time I try to eat what I consider a modified Paleo diet I do have a bad habit of indulging while at work. One reason is that I’m constantly on my feet going from one task to the next and finding time to get a snack can be a daunting task. While going through periods periods of walking around my blood sugar levels can dip and all the sudden I’m looking for a quick fix in sugar. By the time someone brings up a savory snack the chemicals in my brain send the message to devour anything in sight.

The problem: while the food may be a quick fix in bringing up my blood sugar levels it’s not nutrient dense and the simple sugars in the food mean that my blood sugar will come crashing down shortly afterwards. I’ll soon find myself back to where I left off which is starving. Eating like this also doesn’t fit in with my own personal goals of wanting to be within a certain body fat percentage range because the high calorie content can make me be at a calorie excess for the day. This means all the sugar I took in during the day will be adding to my waistline (it sounds a little obsessive, I know but we’re analyzing the situation here).

Where to start?

Sometimes all that’s needed is a little motivation to break a bad habit. I know not all of you out there are spiritually or religiously involved but I found my motivation through my local church. The pastor was encouraging the congregation to go on a forty day fast (unrelated to Lent). I immediately knew what I was going to be abstaining from – my indulgent episodes.

Why this helped me:

Breaking bad habits can be a difficult thing to do sometimes. It’s hard for me to not think about what I was eating and the havoc it was wreaking on my body. All that I needed was a little inspiration. I’m not saying that everyone needs use a religious reason as a way to abstain from something but finding a reason to stay motivated definitely helps. In addition to using the fast as the basis of my goal I also wrote down my goal. Studies have shown that those who write down their goals are more likely to accomplish them. Also, I used my fiance’ as an accountability partner. While she isn’t around at work to dictate what I can and can’t eat the simple fact that she was my accountability partner made me less likely to indulge because I not only would’ve felt like I was letting myself down but that I would be letting her down as well.

Tips for staying energized:

Having a job that’s fast paced requires a little extra planning than other jobs in order to stay fully charged and to avoid those blood sugar lows that trigger food cravings. In a job such as mine breakfast is a priority. It’s essential to have something filling and even a little higher in fats, as the fat will provide energy when the blood sugar starts to deplete itself. If you’re working a job that’s tough to find a break time it’s also important to plan meal snacks that are easy to eat in a rush but will pack a lasting punch until you’re able to get a full meal in. Apples and almonds are my best friend. The apples provide a boost to my blood sugar and the fiber helps to keep my hunger down. Almonds give a little extra kick in energy from the healthy fats and both the fat, protein, and fiber help to keep me full.

Sometimes those small bad habits can be the habits that over the long run keep a person from getting to whatever personal health goals that they may have. Forty days later after a little motivation and a slight tweaking in planning my workplace bad habit has been kicked. I no longer have those cravings that can set my fitness and health goals off track from where I’m trying to go.

What are some ways you avoid work place binging?

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