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Deconstructing a Habit

healthy-habitsGood habits.

Bad habits.

Middle-earth habits.

Oh wait, that’s Hobbits. My bad.

Habits. Yes, that’s better. defines habit: acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary:

He was in the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.           

It’s Week 4 of the “10-Week, 10-Pound Challenge,” and we’re talking about habits. The good, the bad, and the ones that undermine weight loss.

The reason this is so important is because of that word in the definition: involuntary. Habits are habits because we do them without really thinking about them. But guess what? Not thinking about behavior can get us into trouble when it comes to healthy living choices. We’re in the habit of going to the all-you-can-eat buffet after church or we’ve gotten used to the taste of caramel macchiato-flavored nondairy creamer in coffee. Or one I see in my own household, time and time again: somebody walks in the door at the end of the day, throws open the fridge, grabs the nearest thing, and starts eating. They’re physically exhausted, they’re mentally drained and they’re ravenously hungry!

Sound familiar?

Weight loss is transformational behavioral change.

In order to do that you must bring consciousness to those involuntary, habitual behaviors that can undermine success. The “10-Week, 10-Pound Challenge” is an excellent opportunity to bring heightened awareness to those unconscious habits that may be derailing your weight loss efforts. This week we’re going to bring laser-like focus to the habits that influence our healthy lifestyle.


Here’s the line up of topics for Week 4:

Monday: Deconstructing a Habit.

Tuesday: Try-It Tuesday: A Call to Arms (a strength training upper body workout that Michelle Obama would envy!)

Wednesday: Challenging Bad Habits.

Thursday: Building Good Habits.

Friday: Podcast of Week 4 action items and answers to more “Ask Marilyn” reader questions.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read, “Consistency is Key” in which I talk about this very concept. And of course, stay tuned all week for more on breaking bad habits and establishing good ones.

To bolster those burgeoning good habits, this week’s “10-Week, 10-Pound Challenge” prize-winner will receive a 1-year subscription to my favorite food magazine, Cooking Light. So many good ideas to be found there, month after month!

And congratulations to Challenge participant Annette who wins last week’s prize of an iPod shuffle and waterproof headphones! Go get ‘em, Annette!


I don’t usually go around quoting Aristotle, but when I do it always makes me feel smart:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”

So yeah, what he said.

Losing weight is hard, but it gets easier when your habits are aligned with your healthy lifestyle values. And you’re so damn worth it.

Let’s go get it!

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