Nutritionist Perth

How to Establish Healthy Habits

February 12, 2024

As we’re moving further in a new year, more people I’m seeing 1:1 in the clinic are trying to establish new habits or routines. Learning how to establish healthy habits can be really hard. What helps, is understanding a little bit of the science behind our brains when it comes to creating new habits or […]

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As we’re moving further in a new year, more people I’m seeing 1:1 in the clinic are trying to establish new habits or routines. Learning how to establish healthy habits can be really hard. What helps, is understanding a little bit of the science behind our brains when it comes to creating new habits or routines, and using this information to adapt the way we try and implement something new.

The Structure of a Habit

Basically, a habit loop looks like this and consistent of three key elements:

It’s formed by a cue (or trigger), routine (the habit) and then the reward. A cue is the trigger for the habit (e.g. a stressful event), the routine is the habit itself (e.g. eating chocolate) and the reward is the result or impact of the habit (e.g. feeling of relief).. 

Creating A New Habit

When we want to establish a healthy habit, we need to help ourselves establish a cue. For example, if you’re trying to take a new supplement every day, leave it out where you can see it so this acts as the cue to take it. A great idea is to pop any supplements next to your toothbrush (that you use daily – I hope) so you see them every day and this becomes your cue to take them, rather than having them in a drawer or cupboard and you have to remember to find them, and take them.

When it comes to exercise, cues can be in various forms. For example, laying out your gym clothes the night prior can be a cue. The time of day and or day of the week can become a cue like every Wednesday is my gym day, every day at 6am I walk the dog etc. I discussed this in detail on episode 17 on my podcast No Bulsh*t Nutrition all about how to stay consistent with exercise.  

Stopping a Bad Habit

The easiest way to help break a bad habit is to replace the reward. The cue isn’t always something we can remove (if it is then great!) So the easiest thing you can do is to replace the reward with something else. For example, if you’re trying to reduce alcohol, you might replace your alcoholic wine with a non-alcoholic wine, so your cue is the same, your routine of having a glass of wine after a busy day is the same, but your reward is slightly different. If it’s reducing chocolate you might swap chocolate for a chia seed pudding, or if the habit of eating chocolate is only when you see it, then remove this cue (the chocolate) from your environment.

My signature group program, Weighing in Lighter, has helped previous members lose weight and incorporates strategies to address habits in your life. The program is all about educating you to make the best choices for your individual circumstances. We meet for 1 hour every week over Zoom where I give you the tools to manage your weight for the rest of your life. Don’t delay as I only open 15 spots for each intake, so register now.

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Are Your Snacks Making
You Hungrier?

Snacking is important. Snacking on the RIGHT foods is even MORE important when it comes to your overall diet. Just pop your email in below to get my FREE 18 easy, healthy snacks. 

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