Good habits

My habit in the past has been to take on a whole system when I want to transform my body – the “Whole Life Vitality” book my dietitian gave me, some workout system I bought off the internet, or some book a friend recommends. I get myself into the system and work it really hard and it’s effective.

“Perhaps too effective” a friend noted to me recently. I lose fat pretty easily, I gain muscle more slowly, but I notice differences pretty fast. Once the change is underway, my motivation steadily seems to wane and eventually I’m “off the wagon” and back to “normal”.

I’ve been reading a bunch of people saying that creating a good life is partly about gaining helpful habits. I know that what’s been significant for me is gaining a meditation habit for instance. Meditation used to take preparation and work to get to. I still can’t pretend I’m one of those spiritual athletes that meditates every day without fail. But I’ve been doing daily Centering Prayer for long enough that it’s a habit. Normal = Centering Prayer. Some times I stop for a week or so, but it’s weird and so I start again. It’s as strange as not brushing my teeth.

So, rather than approach physical transformation by choosing yet another system, I’m approaching it from the perspective of building new habits. New habits of eating and new habits of training. Regularity over quality. Frequency over cleverness or intensity.

For the first few weeks, I’ve been focusing on diet, just making sure I’m eating at the right times. The approach I’m taking is controversial, probably, so I’m not going to share that just yet, but meal times are important.

Step two is to take on meal composition. To make lower carb, lower GI, higher protein eating a habit. Which means making better shopping a habit. I’m in charge of a lot of the cooking at home these days, so that helps.

For training, I’m at the absolute, rock bottom basics. I’m aiming to build a habit that every morning I get up and walk up the nearest hill. 30 min walk. That’s it. Nothing fancy, no weights yet. All I’m doing is building regularity.

There are other parts to the approach I’m taking and I’ll roll them out as we go.

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