Healthy Tips for Weight Loss: End a Habit or Redirect It

Healthy Tips to Lose Weight: Choose to End a Habit or Redirect It

A lot of people who are suffering from negative habits think that there is only one option when it comes to dealing with their unwanted behavioral patterns. They think that the only way to handle their habit is to end it. This is not surprising if you have been struggling with smoking, alcoholism, or any kind of habit. You would rather put an end to your habit. Now, you would rather see the end of that behavioral pattern that has been giving you a lot of grief over the years. This is completely understandable. However, the full picture is that when it comes to behavioral patterns, like habits and addictions, there is another alternative. You can choose to redirect your negative behavioral pattern. Keep in mind that your habit is not as strong as you think as you engage in all sorts of automatic behaviors after you get emotional trigger. However, your habit is not as invincible as you make it out to be. Keep reading below.

1. The Power And Force Of Habit

It’s too easy to think that a habit is what defines people. Of course, we all like to think that our actions define us. Well, there are actions that we choose and there are actions that we do on a fairly, automatic basis. Habits definitely fall into this second camp. Habitual behavior pattern takes place like this. You experience an emotional trigger. This emotional trigger starts a cascade of emotional responses in your mind, which leads to a pattern of behavior. When you do these patterns of behavior, you then get another wave of emotional triggers. You see where this is headed. It’s like an upward or downward spiral. When you see something in the outside world, it triggers a mental or emotional state which triggers a behavioral pattern. This behavioral pattern, then triggers an emotional state and on and on we go. This can go either way. This can work towards you, to help you, or against you. Regardless the power and force of habit are when you do things in the same pattern, regardless of the time and of the situation.

2. Most Habits Were Unconsciously Formed

As powerful as your behavioral habits may seem, you have to understand that there are actually chosen. You didn’t come out choosing to respond to certain emotional triggers a particular way. You had to choose it initially, and then you have to practice until it became a habit. This may sound crazy, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. This may sound outlandish, especially if you’ve been having a tough time achieving your weight loss goals. But, the reality is your that your activity levels, your eating patterns, and everything else related to weight loss are habits that you originally chose. But, as you engage in this behavior, it became more and more automatic. But, don’t lose sight of the fact that you originally chose it. It’s just that the habit was unconsciously formed over a long period of time.

3. The First Step To Changing A Habit Is To Become Conscious Of It

It’s too easy to think that our habits define us; that our habits are formed invisible change that bind us and we can’t move. Well, it’s easy to think this way; however, it’s not true. As mentioned above, you originally chose your habits and the chain of emotional payoffs and physical actions that led to your habit. As long as you are unconscious of this, you can make progress towards eventually ending your habit or redirecting it. The key here is to understand that certain physical actions have emotional payoffs. When you rip out that cigarette, light it, and put it in your mouth, there are certain emotional payoffs. when you rush to the coffee shop every single morning to get your big cup of coffee, there are emotional payoffs. The key here is to not judge the behavioral pattern, but instead, be aware of the emotional payoffs involved.

4. Ending A Habit Is Hard While Redirecting A Habit Is Easier

As you probably already can tell from the discussion above, a habit is made of a physical action, emotional triggers and emotional payoffs. When you choose to end a habit, you’re basically choosing to end this complete process: you’re ending the behavior and emotional payoffs; you’re also dealing with the emotional triggers. This seems pretty easy intellectually; however, from a real life level, this is very hard. It’s not like you’re just dealing with one thing at a time. You’re actually dealing with three things at the same time. Considering the fact that you’ve been responding automatically to these emotional triggers for an extended period of time, it’s going to be hard; it’s not going to happen overnight.

You might want to consider redirecting a habit. What does “redirecting” mean? Redirecting is when you take an emotional trigger and you redirect it to a differeng physical response. The physical response then produces either the same emotional payoffs as your negative habits or an even better set of emotional payoffs, regardless you are shifting a physical response. Similarly, you can change the emotional trigger or emotional payoff connected to the negative behavioral patterns that you are trying to change. See the difference between ending a habit and redirecting a habit.

5. Be Clear About The New Habits You Are Trying To Establish

If you are trying to redirect your habit and to use emotional triggers to lead you a better or healthier physical responses, you have to be clear about the new habits you’re trying to establish. Simply hoping that you would be doing something healthier is not enough. In many cases, it might lead you to a worse place than where you are currently. You have to have a clear idea as to the new habits you’re trying to establish. Otherwise, you’ll just be taking shots in the dark and you’re just hoping to get lucky. Hoping to get lucky is not a winning strategy — I’m sorry to say.

6. Changing Emotional Triggers And Payoffs

The problem with redirecting a habit is that the more elements you try to change, the harder it gets. Of course, it’s not as hard as ending a habit. When you’re ending a habit, you’re dealing with all three parts of a habit at the same time. When you’re redirecting, on the other hand, you are dealing with one or two elements. I would suggest that you change emotional triggers or change emotional payoffs. Don’t try to do them both at the same time. Once you change one successfully, you can then move on to changing the other successfully.

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31 Replies to “Healthy Tips for Weight Loss: End a Habit or Redirect It”

  1. I never thought about redirecting my negative behavioral patterns. That seems like a much easier thing to do than trying to end a habit completely.
    So I just have to recognize what triggers a behavioral pattern and redirect it to a more positive ending. I like it! Thanks!

  2. I do appreciate that the articles you write are focused in how we can manipulate our mind to do the things that we want for our body. It is a fresh approach for me and would gladly try it out. It is indeed harder to end a habit, like eating when your stressed or sad, right now, I think I’ll be doing craft stuffs than eat when I feel sad.

    1. I agree. The mind manipulation techniques seem like they will be very useful. I decided to redirect my hand-to-mouth urge to snack when bored to writing. I can’t eat with both hands on the keyboard. Writing fiction amuses me and if I’m sad or upset, journal writing is a much better outlet for that than food. I think it will take a while for the new thing to become a new habit though.

  3. Becoming aware of the emotional payoffs that a person gets from a habit is indeed a very important key! Take the case of going to the office pantry during break time; workers often hangout at pantries to be with friends at work as they get a kick out of having lively conversations with colleagues. If said group of workers go out for a quick walk instead of hanging out at the pantry, the “kick”, which is “pleasure at hanging out with friends” is still present. Generally, in those two different activities the emotional payoff is the same, but between the two habits, getting a little exercise as going for a walk is a better habit to form.

  4. Converting bad habits to good ones is crucial when discussing weight loss. Having to occasionally plan what to eat, drink or decide to do some exercise from time to time can be both stressful and ineffective. I believe that once healthier habits are introduced, it is only a matter of time until these become automatic instinct and yield some results. Ultimately, one would not feel that s/he has to constantly make new decisions, but would immediately know what the best decision out; and unconsciously make the right decision.

  5. This article is definitely more of a twist than I was expecting. Redirecting bad habits is definitely the better strategy to adapt over training the mind to just end a habit. Regardless, anything involving the decision to make up our minds to do something we’re so use to is difficult and challenging. I had to make that ultimate decision when I was diagnosed with diabetes and I could no longer consume certain foods or any large amounts of food in order to keep my blood sugar normalized and under control. I guess I redirected all my bad habits of eating anything I wanted by manipulating my brain to believe that the healthier, lower carb foods were just as great as what I had preferred. And as a result, I feel I have gotten a much better emotional and health-related payoff.

  6. I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to end a bad habit. For smoking, I went through the cycle of stopping and starting for 7 years before finally being able to quit. Changing how I reacted to stress was what helped me. Instead of coping with my stress by smoking a cigarette, I would go on a walk or do some exercise to clear my head.

  7. Well, this seems to be a new way to correct bad habits. It looks easier to do rather than completely stopping our habits and repressing ourselves to act on an emotional stimuli

  8. My work requires me to stay in the office until 10 pm. 4 of us who are working on the same schedule used to eat a lot of rice during dinner even though we already know that it is not good for the body, it is already a bad habit. So me and 1 of my co-worker had a bet, no rice during dinner and whoever breaks it will treat the other 3 frappe from Starbucks which can be taken on any day and anytime. Since we’re not used to follow a diet program, we then applied a redirection process. Instead of eating rice, we tried eating pasta instead for several days just for us to take away our attachments to rice. We were successful that after a week, we ventured into eating salads, fruit slices, oat meals etc. None of us won because after a month, we decided to treat ourselves with a very delicious rice meal but nowadays, we can survive without eating rice if we want to.

  9. I thought this article was very well written. Someone, who struggles with weight loss I really enjoyed ending a habit or redirecting a habit. Once a habit is formed the only way it will get better is to redirect it. Your body will need to learn how to redirect from eating a donut to something more healthy such as an apple for breakfast. This article was very well written. I would like to read more from this author.

  10. Redirecting a habit is much easier than breaking it. I found that out some years ago when I was in a stressful situation and was having a lot of urges to eat, eat, eat. What was really going on was a lot of nervous energy and I did not want to gain weight. I discovered that eating raw carrots was a good way to redirect my nervous habit. While I wanted to eat junk food, by eating carrots, even if I didn’t get a whole lot of nutrients because the raw cellulose is so hard, I did use up nervous energy by chewing like a rabbit and did not harm to myself.

  11. Yes, I like this redirecting idea. It’s funny I never thought about getting an emotional payoff from a habit especially if it was a bad one. It always seems more like an emotional ripoff because you feel bad instead of feeling good. You think you will feel better after you spend that money or eat that donut, and you do, temporarily. Later, not that long after you feel like you ripped yourself off by doing it again when you really wish you hadn’t. Emotional triggers from the reactive mind so to speak. Sometimes to me it’s like an emotional extortion. I won’t feel right unless I do this or have that. Like a desire forcing you to do so. Interesting the final suggestion is to change the emotional trigger or change the payoff. I’m not sure how one would do that. I guess remove the emotional trigger. Figure out how to not act on your emotions. Sounds like Scientology. Change a payoff…hmmm maybe more like realize that there is no pay off thats good when your talking about donuts, cigarettes, and soda. The only profit is cancer and getting fat. Redirect, I guess I do that sometimes when I am mad or upset. I work out. I think I work out harder. I beat the heck out of myself to look better and hope the other goes away. So when I want that donut I should drink some water and go do some squats. Yeah, that must be it. The payoff is much better from the squats.

  12. Redirecting seems more practical than dismantling a habit altogether. You could change one part of a habit — for example, switch from coffee to decaf while still having a cup of sweetened coffee at breakfast. The partial change would be easier than eliminating coffee altogether. Effects such as not wanting another cup, because decaf is less powerful and affects you less, could help with reducing sugar consumption, yet you would still enjoy the taste and the ritual.

  13. I think one major addition to this regime to help get rid of bad habits is to include some statistics. There are apps out there that tell you how much money you’ve saved and how many years of life you’ve gained for each day that you don’t smoke. I feel like most people don’t realize how much they spend, and having the numbers plain right in front of them will help kick them off their habit. It’s the same with other habits: with sugar, you can count calories. alcohol can also be measured in money saved.

  14. I think the part that resonates the most with me was the part where you mention having to get clear on the new habits you do want to achieve. What has worked for me personally in the past is not to try to ‘break’ a habit which sounds and is hard but to rather ‘redirect’ or what I always think of as ‘laying new pipes’. Like a plumber or electrician when dealing with older homes why dig up and fix when simply laying new pipes is much faster and easier.

    So I applied the law of attraction thinking not about what I shouldn’t do but started simply thinking about myself as I wanted to see myself, healthier and lighter. Funny how things I thought I was so addicted to like Mt Dew simply faded away because my mind started making healthier choices for me.

  15. I can completely relate to this. I have always had a bad habit of eating sweet foods. I have always been active, but after having kids I gained a lot of weight despite my active lifestyle. I figured I would just stop eating sweets, next thing I know I am walking around with a piece of chocolate. I realized it was going to be harder than I thought. I ended up just scaling back when I realized I couldn’t just walk away from the sweets.

  16. I think retraining the mind is very important both in breaking and redirecting habits. I loved drinking soda, but I once saw this video about how much sugar soda contains, I stopped. Everytime I have a craving for soda my mind reverts to the video and I reach out for a glass of water instead. The mind is a very powerful tool, and if we all harness its power then we can pretty much be anything we want to be.

  17. I love this idea of redirecting because it gives us a new way of eating habits. By watching this video I have stopped many bad things to eat and start eating many good things and drink a lots of water.

  18. I love the idea of redirecting! However, my biggest problem is inactivity — I have no problem just sitting my computer all day long. It’s a habit I tried to break (with sites like habitrpg) and it even worked for a while, but with the coming of the winter I’ve fallen back on old habits! I’m not sure how to redirect inactivity though. Maybe just making a schedule and forcing periods of stretching and pilates would work.

    1. Or you could make computer time a reward. Make the emotional trigger into emotional payoff. Might help.

  19. I agree with this idea. This is why I also like the “Volumetrics” diet – where you eat large quantities of low calorie, high density food. I think works in this situation because we are habitually used to eating a certain volume of food – instead of trying to break that habit and lower the volume of food we eat, we can redirect it to eating the same volume but lower calorie, high density foods like fruits and vegetables.

  20. Redirecting a bad habit means everything…I have a bad problem with over eating and not being able to stop myself with foods I love. I found that forcing myself to chug a few quarts of water in the morning before doing anything (even brushing teeth) is very helpful in clearing my appetite. Mornings can be tough with all the close diners, and after my workouts I can easily let loose. Making myself chug the water is not only a healthy habit but also helpful in ridding myself of that empty stomach feel. I am all for redirecting or creating a new habit, as long as it’s healthy and beneficial.

  21. I think this idea of redirecting is brilliant! I have always been overweight but since I started to redirecting and eating healthy I have lost 3 stone. Still not at my target weight but hopefully that will change soon. I’m hoping to learn better habits and get myself into a routine. I now have a great exercise plan too, which I find important.

  22. I love tip #3. It is so important to become conscious of our bad habits, as well as their emotional payoffs. Self-awareness brings so much clarity to yourself when you’re trying to improve your live. Even though its always hard to stop and observe yourself, and ask yourself why you’re doing bad things to your body, you will never change for good unless you have this awareness.

  23. Couldn’t agree with this more! It takes perserverance and dedication but if you truly make an effort to improve your bad habits, you will be amazed when one day you wake up and the cravings are gone. Healthy food will taste amazing to you and you’ll pass by the donut store without a second thought except maybe “Thank god I’m no longer a slave to that crap food.”

  24. Good article! I think being aware of bad habits and not just stopping them, but redirecting them into more positive behaviour is really the basis of not just healthier eating, but self improvement in general. It can take a lot to admit to yourself you have bad habits or behaviours, but the sooner you do, the sooner you can start taking control of the direction of your life. Quitting negative things such as drinking and smoking or junk food gives you more space and time in your life. If you replace these with healthier options or hobbies, you will notice your life will start to fill up in a more positive way.

  25. Nice, concise article. I think you’re absolutely right. Recognizing, then redirecting bad habits is integral and essential to building a healthy lifestyle. It’s hard to realize and admit that you have bad habits, but once you do, you’ll be pressed to change them. My bad habits include drinking lots of soda and eating lots of candy. I’ll be sure to curb that consumption in the future.

  26. I think this is a great article. I can relate to it very much because of the bad habits that I used to engage in, I can actually see that once you stop these habits in order to build a healthy lifestyle through eating and physical activity, you actually become more energetic and not only benefit your body but also build a healthy mindset that will help you through your journey on losing weight and maintaining a good physical health.

  27. I’ve always been a habit forming person. I am currently stuck in a bad habit of drinking rum and coke zeros while watching Big Bang Theory and folding laundry every Thursday night. At the end of the night I eat a fatty, carb-loaded “snack” before bed to avoid a hangover the next morning. I’ve read in the past about redirecting yourself rather than trying to avoid a behavior. I’ve learned that when exercise before my evening activities begin, I drink and eat much less because I hate the idea of sabotaging myself after I put all my effort into the workout.

  28. I like that this article talks about redirecting. We all have emotions, we’re human, but most articles dealing with weight loss tend to disregard that or act like they are a minor part of our lives.

  29. redirecting bad habit is one of the most important parts to weight loss. Of course we have cravings and temptations, that natural; there is a way to deal with it! it takes dedication to end bad habits, and once you do you’ll realize it was more than worth it. when you first start trying to break a habit,it is very hard. healthy foods may not taste as good. but after some getting used to, you realize that they become to taste so much better and you will crave healthy food! I’ve learned that is you quit sugar almost complete, your body will allow you to eat a lot more and more often! trust me on this i’m 5’4″ 120lbs.

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