Motivation: How To Form Healthy Habits

by Sarah on August 30, 2011 · 16 comments

I have an addictive personality.  When I give up one vice, I usually pick up another.  One habit I’m lucky to have is that I love to exercise!  I rarely do it longer than 90 minutes, and usually for only 45 minutes a day.  But I didn’t always find it easy to get out the door.

I read somewhere that in order to form a habit, you need to do it for at least 10 days.  I’ve also read that 28 days is required to form a habit.  So which is it?  It doesn’t matter to be honest.  Start with 10 days and go from there.  For 10 days, go for a walk every day.  I used to run but if you are a beginner, walking is a good first step.  Feeling sluggish? Just go for a walk, but do something!  You will find that one day 11, your body craves movement.

Now, eating clean 100% of the time is much hard for me.  I tend to crave sugary treats after dinner.  I’m trying to form a habit of not eating once I’m finished dinner.  Many people binge eat after dinner if they have not eaten enough calories during the day.  Others eat out of boredom or loneliness.  I’ll often snack after dinner for a combination of these reasons.  It has become a habit as well to have something sweet at the end of a meal.  I’m determined to break this habit.  Sugary treats should be just that, a treat!

To break this habit, I’m writing down everything I eat to see if certain meals cause me to crave sugar more nights than others.  Yesterday was a success avoiding empty calories.  I started my day with a TIU booty call.  When I got back, I had a protein pancake with a few berries.  I admit, I woke up kind late so this wasn’t until 10 AM.  As a snack before my strength training routine I had 1/4 cup of steel cut oatmeal, 1/2 scoop of protein powder with 1/4 cup of So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk and 1/4 of a large cantaloupe.  I didn’t eat lunch until until 3 pm because of my strength training and I still felt full!  For lunch I had a spring mix with grape tomatoes, vidalia onion, cucumber and sliced turkey.  I dressed the salad with dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar.  For “dessert” I had 8 raw unsalted almonds.

For dinner, I made salmon on the grill with some Soyaki sauce from Trader Joe’s, paired with a side salad and fresh corn on the cobb.  I ate at 8 pm and was in bed at 10:30 pm.  No sweets were needed, but that was day 1.  Today is day 2 and let’s see how I do.  Whenever I eat really well for one day, I always find the next I’m super hungry all day.  Just 9 more days to go!

Do you notice you eat more the day after successfully eating clean eating?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kate August 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Great post! I really struggle with both the exercise and eating aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Forming small, mini-goals for 10 days or so has really helped me, especially with giving up soda! Thank you for the information. I love your website and videos! :)


2 Sarah August 30, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Thanks Kate! I think 10 days is a good jumping off point too – any longer seems kinda intimidating to me :)


3 Laura August 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Eating after dinner is what I struggle with most. The worst part is even if you have a great day before then you feel so defeated if you can’t stay away from the after dinner treat like you want to. I am going to join you on this challenge too!


4 Sarah August 30, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Let me know how you do! So far so good, but I’m feeling more tired than usual, blahh…


5 Amanda August 30, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I notice that when I eat “clean” one day, the next is easier for me because I LOVE the way I feel so I want to keep it up. After a week of “clean” eating, then I am on the hunt for the sugary snacks! Its terrible how I can really do so well and then one day can ruin all my hard work and I am back to the begining. I love your website and blog on Tumblr. Thank you for all your inspiration!


6 Sarah August 30, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Thanks for visiting from Tumblr! I love that site but it’s hard to keep a well organized site over there. I will let you know how I do after a week! Day 2 is going well so far!


7 melanie August 30, 2011 at 5:15 pm

i used to eat lots of sugary things- i just had a huge sweet tooth and found it hard to resist! but, i had a week or two (maybe ten days?) where i just tried to resist those cravings and, after that, i found that i didn’t really want the sweet stuff anymore! it’s like a switch went off. and that was almost two years ago. granted, i do have sweet-ish things on occasion now, but the sweetness level of most things is just too much for my taste buds now and don’t really need more than a bite or two. dark chocolate is a great happy medium for me! and it turns out now (although i’ve known this) that it’s good for you!


8 Sarah August 30, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Thanks Melanie for sharing. I know there is light at the end of this tunnel, but 10 days seems so far away at 5 or 6… haha. I’m going strong day 2! :)


9 melanie August 30, 2011 at 8:18 pm

stay strong! :) i’m not sure if it’s just that my taste buds have matured or what, but i really think there is something to ‘feeding an addiction’. the more sugar you have, the more you want/need to keep you going or satisfied! but, if you can power through– which you certainly can– you will probably have a similar experience to what i had. good luck!


10 Brittany August 31, 2011 at 3:25 am

I think my comment on Tumblr got deleted somehow…

I started the same type of challenge/detox yesterday and so far so good. I did have a snack after dinner tonight but it was protein ice cream – frozen fruit with protein powder processed in a mini food processor. :)

Let me know if you want to be e-mail buddies and hold each other accountable.


11 Sarah August 31, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I deleted the post over there but saw your comment in my email so I was confused where it was?! Glad you reposted here. I love your idea. Emailing you later today about it or tomorrow :) Could be a fun experiment!


12 Amanda August 31, 2011 at 7:19 am

Thanks Sarah I definitely agree with starting out with a smaller number and then building from there. From both personal experience and experiences with my clients I have found that if you are 100% clean you do tend to need a little something as a treat. Choosing either low GI fruits such as berries with some raw cream or an 85% Organic chocolate (30g-40g) will usually hit the spot and not dramatically effect your body fat percentage. Good luck on your venture. Amanda


13 Rori August 31, 2011 at 9:32 am

To Brittany, Melanie and Sarah–
On staying sweet free–it is definitely a challenge but I think we all deserve/can allow ourselves some sort of sweetness on ocassion. For some this might be too much and lead them to fall off the wagon. If you choose to stay sweet free forever, it is SO do-able. My dad has been dessert free for 10 years! It is so amazing. Remember that banana cookie recipe I shared with you? Not bad for you right? No added sugar right? My dad had 1/2 a bite and freaked out because he thought he was breaking his rule!
On accountability—my best friends and I started emailing our daily food intake for a month and we all lost a significant amount of weight. Keeping yourself accountable to your friends or just one buddy is a really great idea. It actually lead me to start my own blog about a week ago. I’m so ashamed because last night I actually had 2 bowls of Go Lean Crunch after dinner. Not something I ever keep in the house–I only got it in case we lost power for a long time during this hurricane…I feel really bad about it and the whole time I was thinking…great all my friends will see this on my blog. But ya know what, I know I did it and will just make better choices in the future. It’s probably because I had surgery on August 22nd and yesterday was my first workout since….but still, not really an excuse…
Check out my accountability blog :D


14 alicia August 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Hi Sarah,

I agree, for some reason, after a day of super clean eating, the next day seems to be not the case, usually resulting in more sweet cravings. But lately, my sweet tooth seems to be craving more sugary fruits, such as dates, raisins, melons, and figs. I guess thats better than the other vices…. cakes, pies, and ice cream. Last night after a healthy dinner, dessert was 1 cup of canteloupe. It really hit the spot and elemented any other cravings. The night before, after dinner, for dessert…..1/2 cup greek yogurt sweetened with stevia and figs mixed in. Again, it was savory enough that I didn’t want anything else. So, maybe try that. “Fruit is natures candy” ……. I like that saying. Hang in there. You are awesome.


15 Sarah August 31, 2011 at 4:08 pm

You sound a lot like me. I had a date obsession for awhile and had to stop buying them haha. That’s how I learn what I can and cannot have in the house. Greek yogurt is going to be my new at night go to as I’m trying to slim down for a shoot in Sept!


16 Madison MacCuish November 1, 2011 at 3:54 am

Hi there,
I’m trying to make some healthy habits this November and apparently 21 days of doing something consecutively is what it takes to create a new habit. Good luck!


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