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Tackle one bad habit today

I kinda feel sorry for that running back, about to be taken down by Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas (#29) and linebacker Bobby Wagner (#54). If you’re gonna get tackled I’m guessing you’d rather it be just about anybody but these guys.

Fortunately for us, tackling problems in our own lives is generally a lot less painful.

When it comes to weight loss, among the first things we must tackle are bad habits. Our best laid plans can come undone faster than Russell Wilson can throw a fade pass to Doug Baldwin. (That is a thing of beauty to watch, btw.)

But I digress.

In previous blogs I’ve talked about “Deconstructing a Bad Habit”, challenging bad habits (“Bad Habit Intervention”) and building good habits (“Healthy Habit Green Thumb”), and even “Good Girl, Bad Habits” which talks about perfectionism and defining yourself as “bad” simply because you made a less-than-perfect food choice. These are all extremely useful topics and I hope you’ll get a chance to read the blogs, but today I want to tackle one specific bad habit and see if we can’t come up with a solution.

Here’s our bad habit scenario:

You walk in the door from work, starving and stressed out, as usual. You’ve got a rough idea of what to make for dinner, so you start grabbing ingredients from the fridge and formulating a game plan. As you’re assembling your ingredients you grab the cheese and a box of crackers. Chomp, chomp, chomp. Meanwhile, dinner’s starting to come together: you’ve got pasta boiling, ground beef browning, marinara sauce in the microwave. More cheese and crackers. Crunch, crunch, crunch. The kids walk into the kitchen wanting to know when dinner’s gonna be ready and, by the way the Science Fair is tomorrow and can you help figure out an experiment we can do tonight? Oh, dear lord. More cheese and crackers. Munch, munch, munch.

I can’t tell you how many times this exact scenario has played out in my house, including the Science Fair part.

I was starving and stressed out, yes. But I was also unprepared to tackle this in any other way than I described. In my case, along with making dinner I would’ve been eating the dinner ingredients too. Frequently I had consumed an entire dinner’s worth of calories by the time we sat down to dinner … and then I ate dinner!

Better habit scenario:

I like solutions that I can set on autopilot. Each week when I do my grocery shopping (check out my best grocery shopping tip for weight loss!) I buy a container of hummus and lots of ready-to-eat veggies: snap peas, baby carrots, grape tomatoes. I also buy celery and cucumber, which I slice up and put in zip-top bags so they’re ready to go. Now while I’m cooking I grab the hummus and veggies to nosh on while I’m preparing our culinary masterpiece (a slight exaggeration, I confess). When the kids wander in to tell me about their Science Fair project (or whatever it was they forgot to tell me that naturally is due tomorrow) they’ll grab a couple of handfuls of veggies too. By the time we sit down to dinner the kids and I have already eaten a serving or two of vegetables.

For me, fixing this bad habit required a couple of things:

  • An awareness of the habit and a desire to find a workable solution
  • Thinking through a way to mitigate the damage of my habit
  • Planning ahead of time by buying and prepping healthier food that I can substitute

Look, this stuff isn’t rocket science. It isn’t even figuring out an offensive strategy against an incredible Seattle Seahawks defense. (Yeah, good luck with that.)

It’s a matter of bringing awareness and a desire to find healthier solutions to your everyday behaviors.

To help with that and just kinda for fun, I came up with a classic hummus recipe that you might want to try. It’s ridiculously good and super simple. Try it for those busy weeknights at your house or maybe even while you’re watching the NFL playoffs. That ought to get us into the end zone!


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