Part 1: Habit Change 101
- In this Gut Love Tip, we are going to talk about Habit Change– everyone’s favorite words!
- Habit change is easy…said no one…if it was Americans would all be 10 pounds lighter, drink green juice daily and meditate instead of looking at their phones before bed.
- We also like our routines and habits…
- The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything
- Habit of always running 10 to 15 minutes behind for meetings? You probably also fashionably late to parties, or feel like there’s never enough time to get your to-do list done.
- Habit of keeping your word, not matter what? You probably follow through in multiple areas—not bailing on friends last minute or finishing what you start.
- Habit of waking up early, working out and doing a morning routine? You probably have a tendency to not waster time.
- The good news? You can rewire any habit or behavior that is not serving us without just will power alone…
- In this lesson, let’s chat about:
- how mindset works to change our habits …
- the process of habit change
- 3 hacks to hack your habits and make them stick
- Question: Have you ever adopted a new habit? Maybe waking up earlier…starting a new workout routine… or following a certain diet …did it stick? What made adopting a new habit successful or challenging?
- Metaphor: We’ve all had our wins and our losses….
- Exhibit A: Waking up at 5 am – used to do it – but I couldn’t get to bed early enough (felt horrible waking up)… it’s one thing to go to bed at 9 or 10 pm, but 1 am + 5 am wake up = doesn’t work.
- Exhibit B: Autoimmune Paleo diet – what made it stick? I felt better!
Slide #6: Why Some Habits Stick…And Others Don’t
To understand the psychology of habits – what makes them stick vs. not stick… we have to understand how the mind works…
For one, we have 11 million bits of information coming into our brain every second – 11 million bits every second! – that’s A LOT to sift through .. we don’t want to burn extra brain calories on dealing w/ change and thinking about doing new things – the easier is better…
All this information AND how we interpret it influences creates our STATE–our internal emotional condition. (ie. a “happy state”, a “sad “state”)…which ultimately influences our behavior and habits.
Ex. Pretty Day: Sunshine, birds singing = happy state = a better mood, more motivation to get outside and walk …
Ex. Monday Morning Anatomy: Listening to a boring lecture on a Monday morning = a bored state = not paying attention, checking emails, cutting class (habit)
Ex. Meal Prepping: You have the resources, meal plan, grocery list, tools = feels doable … feeling state of confidence = habit to do it is easy.
Ultimately, we adopt states – or feelings – associated with our current habits (like feeling happy and less stressed when we eat dessert) … which is what makes our habits – both bad and good stick…and makes some habits hard to change…unless there is motivation to change – a NEW STATE…
Motivation (drive, excitement, encouragement) is GREATER than the other way you’re living.
Some people view change as an obstacle, others an opportunity. Here’s what the stages of change look like:
- A. No Change or Need to Change
If nothing in our lives changes, we often don’t see the patterns that are showing up because there is no friction making things difficult. The environment supports our current way of thinking and being.
- Conclusion: Why are humans hardwired to not like change?
- Primal, instinctive, survival
- Change = threat
- We like routine, consistency, comfort
- Recognition of Need & Want to Change
Once a problem, or challenge comes into our lives, our patterns no longer serve us, which means we often are in effect of the challenge or problem. Often this is the result of a change in environment (such as losing a job, gaining weight, a mean comment, an argument with your boyfriend), but can also be representative of an internal shift.
Many will seek to “make it the way it was” which would have us go back in time to when things were “just fine.” However, that’s not possible due to the internal or external shifts. If we continue to try and go backwards, we become stuck in a loop because the environment no longer serves to support the old behaviors and
- Rock Bottom
In order to overcome the challenge, we are forced to move from being effect of the problem to being at cause in our life.
To overcome the problem or challenge, we must adopt new patterns of thinking or being. Once we do that, we grow as individuals, and grow to a new level of operating and living.
However, eventually the environment or circumstances will change again, repeating the steps.
Example: YMCA Angels…near death experience propelled me to change my big rock bottom … less intense: AIP diet (rock bottom = gut discomfort)
- Good news: You can rewire any habit or routine that is not serving you without going through an intense rock bottom..
- How to make a new habit (beyond willpower alone): 3 Hacks:
- Change Your State (Feelings About Your Habits)
- Hack Your Triggers vs. Over-focus on Your Habits
- Choose Be At Cause vs. Effect
Part 2: 3 Habit Change Hacks
- First: Know your why – why you want to change
- To help clients do this we start with identifying your current values in the areas of life you want to change – make a list
- Values = What’s important to you about your _____ health, career, family, etc. (our values need to be aligned w/ what we want/our goals in order to “stick”)
- Ex. I want to “change” – have healthier eating habits
- What’s important to you about your health and healthier eating habits?
- More energy
- Less bloating
- Clear skin
- What else? (what does energy, less bloating, clear skin do for you)
- No brain fog
- Flatter stomach–pooping daily
- Deeper: What would that (goal) do for you? What else? How would that make you feel?
- Be present – Peace
- Rock your business – Accomplished
- Be there for your family – Happy
- Role model for your kids – Proud
- As quickly as you can, put these in order, starting with the #1 thing that’s important to you, followed by what’s next, etc…
- See your values on paper – get connected
- PSA: Awareness of Your Filter(s)
- Ever wanted to change something but part of you kept self sabotaging?
- Parts! –a source of incongruence in us…and different filters we operate from
- One part of me loves waking up early, being productive … the other part loves feeling rested and staying up late – being productive.
- Part of me wants to drink bone broth and workout after work– other part likes cookies and watching TV…
- We all have different filters that influence our values, beliefs and behaviors.
- Filters=how we see the world based on different experiences: work environments, education background, culture, family, career, people, our experiences, and history of stressors.
- The parts of us (the self sabatogers) that struggle to change are often defense mechanisms trying to protect us from stress, failure or deal with it – based on our filters or experiences.
- Ex. Self sabotage working out = part of me doesn’t want to fail again after I tried a PT before, or to not see results
- Ex. Self sabotage healing= part of me doesn’t want to fail again after I tried supplements, a program or functional medicine before, and did not see results
- Our filters–way we see the world– explains why 2 people can experience a similar situation OR have a similar goal but deal with it COMPLETELY differently (ex. rush hour traffic – opportunity to catch up on a podcast–nowhere to be vs frustration and anxiety b/c they have a tough boss)
- Filters = shape our beliefs
- Health Example: CEO of tech company w/ autoimmune disease
- “Wants” to get better…but he has a filter = “not working = lazy” … “money = success”… financial struggle = stressful (his dad went bankrupt) so it makes sense that they do anything to achieve it ( “the hustle/grind”)…as a result, habit change to relax or meditate or sleep is not fully there … until we elicit new values (ex. See meditation as $$$- Gandhi = meditate 2 hours instead of
- Health Example: Diet Change: Vicky, Hashimoto’s, 20 lbs to lose…–filter: HATE being restricted ( grew up with a restrictive mom) so a restrictive diet triggers rebellion…or Sarita–prediabetes, brain fog– filter is cultural (Indian)– a grain free diet feels like she is turning her back on her
- Understand your “why” behind your habits in order to begin to change them or call their bluff (Awareness)
Hack 2: Focus on the Triggers instead of the Habit Itself
- Every habit begins with a trigger…sort of like Pavlov’s law—the bell rings and the dog eats food…the bell rings then salivates—no food
- The trigger for eating dessert every night may be not eating enough protein and feeling satiated earlier on in the day…watching TV…or in sight in mind —seeing chocolate or ice cream in the house.
- Sometimes triggers are also motivators – like the trigger or motivation to not fail a test, so you study … or the motivation …
- Think of a habit you’d love to change…
- Identify any triggers or motivators that precede that current habit you want to change–and focus more on changing those …
- Example: instead of just trying to stop dessert, eat a protein rich breakfast and balanced meals all day…
- Example: instead of waking up and checking your email first thing – allotting the first 10 min of the day to prayer and journaling out your to do list/intentions…getting clear before diving in
Summary: Be in Cause vs. Effect
- Summary: habit change is EASY if we believe it…
- Realize you have 2 choices EVERY SINGLE DAY: Cause vs. Effect
- Effect=you are a byproduct of circumstances…you are reactive—not proactive… you’re not in control of the situation at all—things happen to you versus…being at cause
- Cause = you influence your circumstances…you happen to the day vs. let the day happen to you…you make lemons out of lemonade…you are proactive
- Ex. Traffic
- Effect: they are in my way!
- Cause: cool ill listen to a podcast
- Ex. She didn’t respond to a text
- Effect: she’s made at me…
- Cause: Moving on…I’ll talk to her when I talk to her
- Ex. Cravings
- Effect: I can’t control them
- Cause: I decide what I keep in the house and how I fuel myself today
To change a habit, we want to be AT CAUSE vs. effect…you happen to the day versus letting the day happen to you!…so what do you choose?
Enter your morning routine!–Your Gut Love Habit this week
Establish Your Morning Routine
You happen to the day vs letting the day happen to you! Start your day off with a phone-free morning routine (at least no e-mail, social media, news checking or texting). Do 2 to 3 ‘morning rituals’ to get your mind and body ‘right’ for the day ahead.
Morning Routine Ideas:
- Drink 16 oz. of lemon water + pinch of sea salt.
- Move it. Move your body in some way (whether you have 7 minutes or 60—do yoga, a workout, go on a walk). Optional: Energy Boosting Workouts If you need some workout inspiration to add in to your morning routine, we’re including some workouts for you.
- Say om. Do a 10 minute meditation, reading, devotional or prayer time
- Sungazing and “earthing” (gaze at sun within the first hour of sunrise and put your barefoot on the ground to boost energy naturally).
- Create a sticky note “to-do” list. List the top 3 things you’d love to accomplish today (just 3).
- See yourself as if you already have the habit in your life – use I am statements
- Example: Trying to gain weight – I saw myself having already achieved 5 lbs and in motion … the more I visualized and believed my body was capable of achieving the new habit, the easier it was
Bonus: 7 Healthy Habits You Do Everyday Wrecking Your Gut
Before even thinking about extensive lab testing or doing an intense detox, I believe EVERYONE should start with a food and lifestyle approach first. Even if you eat healthy and exercise already…you may have certain habits you think are healthy, but that are actually wrecking your gut health…like these 7 “healthy” habits that are not so hot for your gut…that thankfully, have alternatives to do instead…
- Bad Healthy Habit #1: Drinking Coffee Before Water…
Why Not? Although I am not a coffee drinker—it just doesn’t make me feel good…I know it is a super touchy subject…if coffee is an essential nutrient for you, it should NOT come before water.
- natural diuretic…meaning it dehydrates you…the caffeine in coffee (and even in some de-caf coffees)
- can send your cortisol levels and blood sugar up high first thing in the morning—although this may sound like a good thing if you’re super low on energy all the time, this actually can stress your body out more.
- are you one of those people rely on coffee to go #2?—this is because coffee stimulates the gallbladder to release bile and help you poo…However, this totally misses the bigger reasons why you’re constipated in the first place: dehydration and stress! You need more water and minerals…less caffeine!
- Alternative: Start morning off with 16 oz warm lemon water + sea salt…also consider an apple cider vinegar shot—1-2 tbsp of ACV diluted in water—or celery juice—boost enzyme production and gallbladder function and use digestive bitters if you can’t go #2.
- Bad Healthy Habit #2: Eating Your Healthy Meal…On the Couch or Car
Why Not? You’re distracted! So you’re not chewing your food…or enjoying your delicious butternut squash bowl for that matter!
- Alternative: Please sit at the table and be present—try it even for one meal… Before you eat, pause to take 3 to 5 deep breaths in through your nose, out through your mouth, and chew your food really well until fully liquified. Eat undistracted. You’ll notice your bloating or gut pain totally changes.
- Bad Healthy Habit #3: Eating Chicken & Broccoli Every Day
Why Not? Eating the same meals every single day destroys your gut bugs! A healthy gut thrives off a variety of foods—when we feed our gut bugs the same things every day…we can create dysbiosis—gut imbalances—because we develop only the gut bugs that eat chicken and broccoli.
- Alternative: Mix it up—not every meal needs to be a party in your mouth…but little changes can make a big difference…like chicken, beets and kale one night…then chicken, roasted carrots and chard the next
- Bad Healthy Habit #4: Skipping Breakfast (Intermittent Fasting)
Why Not? Research shows Intermittent Fasting is really not the panacea people claim it to be…
- a healthy gut actually needs more nutrients—not less…healthy gut bacteria die more when we don’t feed them…Also when you skip meals regularly—especially breakfast, this can SLOW down metabolism and digestion, leading to decreased stomach acid and enzyme production…
- Not aligned with circadian rhythms
- can also set you up for more blood sugar imbalances and hypoglycemia throughout the day if not mindful—with symptoms like low energy, binging, feeling hangry or lightheaded, brain fog, obsessing over food.
- Alternative: If IF is your thing, you can still fast: simply “Fast” 12 hours—dinner to breakfast—like 8 or 9 pm until 8 or 9 the next morning still gives your gut a break…but there is no hard and fast rule that everyone needs to wait that long either! In fact, my metabolism is pretty fast and I am still hungry around 7 or 8—even if I ate a later dinner at 9…Basically: breakfast skipping is not necessary or extra beneficial. That said, if you’re not a breakfast person, that’s ok too—your breakfast may technically be a 10 a.m. smoothie instead of eggs and bacon 7 when you first wake up…Just be aware that if you’re skipping breakfast then craving sugar, coffee or binging later in the day…there’s probably a reason.
- Bad Healthy Habit #5: Going Meat or Carb Free
Why Not? Nutrient imbalances! When you skip out on complete proteins, you’re more likely to get blood sugar imbalances and symptoms like low energy, increased body fat, and night time waking or insomnia—especially between that 3-5 am hour…
- Going meat free also actually decreases your stomach acid and enzymes—slowing digestion— and slows down your body’s ability to detox your liver.
- As for carbs…without carbs, you can create gut bacteria imbalances because carbs—especially fiber—are the #1 nutrients for gut bugs…you basically kill and starve out bacteria without them.
- Alternative: Eat balanced- clean proteins—5-6 oz—about size of hand with meals…if plant based, consider trying pegan way of eating, and properly your preparing beans, nuts and purchasing organic tofu. As for carbs, most women feel best with at least 50-100 grams of starchy carbs and fruits and men, 75 to 150 grams. When I added carbs back, my poo got better…my hormones balanced out…my workouts improved.
- Bad Healthy Habit #6: Running or Doing Intense Workouts Every Day
Why Not? Hardcore cardio or lifting really heavy weights puts lots of strain on the body and delivers the same shock as other kinds of stress, like working 14 hours a day for a crazy boss….or running from a bear…training with too much intensity also causes leaky gut…
- Alternative: Like food—just keep exercise balanced. Do things you enjoy and that don’t push your body over the edge…I love Yoga and pilates…hikes and walks…short power-packed HIIT, cirtcuits and CrossFit style workouts…shorter jogs—not marathon runs…and lifting weights without maxing…Basically any activity where your veins pop out of your head or you’re feeling obsessed about it should be a “no”.
- Bad Healthy Habit #7: Starting Your Day Off & Ending Your Day with a “Growth Mindset”…In Instagram
Why Not? Blue screens scream “may day” to the brain and HPA axis—stress…not to mention all the fast heart beating and short breathing you do when you scroll through Instagram or news or emails…
- Alternative: You happen to the day vs the day happening to you—establish a phone free morning and bedtime routine (at least no email checking, social or texting)…like getting some sunshine and fresh air to boost your body’s natural melatonin levels first thing in the morning!!…such a better way to start the day instead of feeling like you hit the ground running the rat race!