To snack is a very powerful habit. And very hard to break.
More than 40 percent of our actions are habits we don’t think about. They are automatic and extremely difficult to change. We can’t remove a habit once it’s in our brain. But we can alter it.
Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit explains it all, so I’ll borrow from him. Remember in Day 2 I wrote about the cue, the routine, and the reward, which are the three parts of the habit.
My cue is to work well/relax/have a “nice time”. All of these are signs to snack or eat. My routine, then, is to eat. My reward is to “have a really nice time” eating. I like to eat with others, but I happily snack when I am alone. In fact, it’s an automatic behavior.
It’s time to change.
The friend who had told me about the 5:2 diet said I could also just try to do something to distract myself from eating.
Today, after breakfast with my son, I went back to work on the terrasse. Actually, I first went 0n my bike to Silvan, where I bought more cedar tree oil. Then work work work. And when my thoughts turned to having a break and a snack, I decided to take only a coffee.
How do you change a habit? You must first identify the cue and then consciously decide to change your routine and your reward. You cannot remove the cue because you cannot remove the habit from your brain, but you can change what you put into your habit.
Today, I tried consciously and deliberately to do something different instead of snacking when my cue came.
First snack-cue: I took a coffee.
Second snack-cue: I took another coffee and made a before-photo of my terrasse wall before giving it oil:
Third snack-cue: I decided to take another coffee and as reward for not snacking on food instead take Stella to the moors in the bike dog trailer, when I was done gving the terrasse oil.
Now came another snack-cue: It told me I should reward myself with a break, a coffee, and a snack. Instead I took a deep breath, shook off my tiredness, and went out with Stella to the moors where SHE WAS SO HAPPY TO RUN AND SWIM.
So, today, then, was victory. I consciously battled my cue for the snack habit, tried replacing the routine of food with only coffee, and tried replacing the reward of eating with the reward of seeing my dog really happy and being out in nature on my bike. Dunno if I ate less today, however, I battled my snack cue, ate what I wanted at meals, and had a great time with Stella.
In the evening, when watching The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I was back on Edamame beans. Tilda Swinton was a great witch.
“… cues can be almost anything from a visual trigger such as a candy bar or a television commercial to a certain place, a time of day, an emotion, a sequence of thoughts, or the company of particular people. Routines can be incredibly complex or fantaswtically simple (some habits, such as those related to emotions are measured in miliseconds). Rewards can range from food or drugs that cause phusical sensations, to emotionsal payoffs, such as the feelings of pride that accompany praise …” (location 526, Kindle edition).