Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Power of Habit & Food Preferences

(The second book I picked to read is so good and full of information, I felt the need explore the concept of a habit loop in further detail than just in the book report.)

The opening chapter of “The Power of Habit” begins with a gentlemen named Eugene who suffered memory loss due to an illness. He was able to learn habits unconsciously even though consciously he could not remember how he was doing these tasks. The chapter continued discussing that when something is done routinely, you begin to form a three-step loop that is triggered when the see the objects or cues associated with this task.

I never realized how many habits we have daily until I was required to read this book and found myself enjoying the read. There are good and bad habits, and the cues and rewards for both are the reason habits are so hard to break. One of the habits the book talked about is backing out of the driveway when you first began to drive. This example hit home for me because I was such a bad driver when I first began to drive that my radio needed to be turned off and I was constantly stepping on the break every inch I moved down my driveway. I was constantly worried I would hit a car, run off the driveway, hit a child, go too fast down the driveway I could not stop my car, etc.  I am now into my 6th year of driving and now when I back out of the driveway I do it with fewer thoughts running through my mind and my brain “stops fully participating in decision-making” due to a habit emerging. I make sure there are no cars or children in the way, but they are no longer worries like they use to be. 

The biggest habit I have been trying to re-work is eating healthy. I have been regularly working out and lifting for several months, but I do not see the results I want due to the unhealthy eating habits I have. I work 50 hour work weeks, take three summer classes, and go to the gym 6 days a week. I do not WANT to make time to meal prep a salad I know I won’t enjoy as much as pizza or fries. This could be explained by food preferences. Since pizza or fries has higher calories than a bowl of lettuce or carrots, it makes sense that it is preferred over the lower energy content.  In order to form a new habit, you must overrule the previous habit with a new routine. This has inspired me to try to come up with a new routine that will be followed by the same cue and the same reward as the old routine. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Amanda! I'm also reading The Power of Habit find it so interesting to be so aware of these automatic behaviors and how often I go on "autopilot."There have been so many times over the past few weeks when I do something automatically and have actually started saying "Sorry. Habit." and REALLY understanding what that means!