Surprising behaviors that prevent you from eating well
Moving to a new city is the ultimate test of habit formation. But they are only the obvious, surface-level practices that help me achieve my goals. It's easy to overlook the fact that multiple Supporting Habits are required for my Home Court Habits to function properly. If you don't have any food in your fridge or pantry, it's difficult to cook dinner at night. As a result, grocery shopping is an important Supporting Habit.
If you're having trouble forming a new habit, take a deeper look at the activities that surround that habit. Pay attention to the precise moment you decide not to accomplish what you wanted and consider what you could have done earlier to make your new habit more manageable. A simple new Supporting Habit might sometimes be the key to establishing a successful new Home Court Habit.
Here are some crucial Supporting Habits that are sometimes overlooked, but bear in mind that everyone's demands and resources are different, so you must determine your own.
Keeping away from the supermarket
It may sound self-evident, but you will not cook at home if you do not have anything to prepare. This is why one of the first things you learn is how to do effective grocery shopping.
Many people avoid grocery shopping since it is a major pain area for them. However, sometimes all it takes to form a habit is to adjust your schedule slightly so that you may go when it's less crowded, or to discover a different store that provides a more pleasant experience.
Because grocery shopping is so important for staying healthy, it's worth putting in the time to make sure it's something you'll actually do.
Not getting enough sleep
There's a good likelihood you're not getting enough sleep if you're too weary at the end of the day to make dinner or get some exercise. Sleep is one of those behaviors that has an impact on your energy levels, so making sure you get at least 7-8 hours per night is critical.
Do you have trouble turning off your computer at night? Perhaps you need to develop stronger sleep hygiene practices, such as shutting off screens after 9 p.m. and allowing yourself some time to unwind before bed.
You can certainly make an effort to go to bed earlier. Figure it out and put it into action.
Not having a fully stocked pantry
While keeping a full pantry is related to grocery shopping, it serves a distinct role and ought to be mentioned individually. There is far less pressure on you to have a completely filled fridge if you have a pantry full of soup stocks, dry grains, beans and lentils, canned tomatoes, dried herbs, coconut milk, tuna and sardines, and even pasta.
What is the significance of this? Because there's one less reason for you to give in and order takeout.
Even if your only fresh item is an onion, a well-stocked pantry will suffice to get dinner on the table. However, there's a good chance you also have a zucchini, an aging broccoli crown, and a few eggs. It doesn't take much to transform those ingredients into a tasty meal.
It's even easier if you apply similar idea to your freezer and keep a supply of frozen vegetables and meat on hand.
Purchasing vegetables that are out of season
"Eat more vegetables," I tell people when they ask what the single most essential thing they can do to improve their health. Cooking is a Supporting Habit that makes it easier to eat Real Food.
People usually assume I'm insane at this point and ignore my advice. What is the reason for this? The majority of people have only ever tasted mushy, flavorless, out-of-season vegetables that not even Thomas Keller could save.
Growing up in the Southern California suburbs, I had this experience. Our neighborhood chain grocer's vegetables and most fruits were disgusting and uninteresting in general. This is due to the fact that they were cultivated out of season and on industrial farms that prioritize look and transportability over taste.
My life was transformed when I discovered seasonal vegetables. It motivated me to start cooking, to stop dieting, and to create a website called Summer Tomato.
It's a lot tougher to locate great vegetables in New York than it was in San Francisco, but I'm getting there. Because I don't want to cook without them, and the pizza around the corner is fantastic. That's not a good combination.
If you want to have a chance of actually eating something, it's worth paying the extra time and money to obtain good fruit.
Ignoring the fact that your kitchen is filthy
It's difficult to admit, but how many times have you decided not to cook because the kitchen was a complete disaster? It's far more than I can count, and far more than I care to consider.
It's difficult enough to summon the urge to cook after a long day without also having to deal with a large, disagreeable activity that must be completed first. And there's a good possibility no one in your house is more eager to do it than you are.
If you're not cautious, a cluttered kitchen might become the unintentional cause of days and days of poor eating choices.
That means cleaning the kitchen is something you'll have to force yourself (or someone else) to do before you can cook again. For me, this has meant learning to clean as I cook, so that when the meal is finished, there are only a few dishes left to clean and the process isn't as intimidating. It's finished that night, and I'm refreshed and ready to go the next day.
Eat less and move more" is promoted as the be-all and end-all of being healthy and losing weight. For years, I believed that because, after all, a calorie is a calorie, right?
It makes no difference because it isn't working.
While both exercise and proper eating choices are essential for good health, they are not individual decisions that you may make. There are a slew of subconscious reasons why you choose the foods you do (see the five points above). One we haven't discussed yet is being extremely hungry, which occurs when your body requires fuel.
The fact that I gained 5 pounds after running my first marathon was the most shocking experience I had. Why? I was always hungry because I was running 30-40 miles per week. To feel satisfied, I would consume large servings of calorie-dense food. I was in decent shape, but not quite as well-nourished as I am now.
There's no reason to push yourself to extremes in exercise unless you're training for a serious competition. It is sufficient to be active (rather than sedentary) in order to maintain good health. You won't use it as an excuse to "reward" yourself with a monster burrito if you're doing it for joy rather than punishment.