#2 Habits and Pattern Interruptions

This is the second blog about what you need to lose weight. As I had mentioned in the first blog number two is extremely important.

2) Know what it will take for you to create new mental habits to support your weight loss.

Habits and patterns of behavior are traditionally a safe way to conduct your day. You wake up, gargle with mouthwash, check on your family, make breakfasts, do dishes, get ready for your day, pack the car and head out to work. This is a normal compilation of habits that safely create the results you want for your morning.

Habits or behaviors that involve a thought process or voluntary type of behavior that are negative or undermine your otherwise positive goals are of more concern. Identifying negative behaviors are crucial to your weight loss success. However, there are some points to consider, like what exactly are you doing that will sabotage your weight loss? Do you laugh at refraining from a beer or chips at your friends house? Or do you typically drink a “healthy” shake to satisfy your carb cravings more than your need to lose weight. Negative habit behavior can take the form of so many different vices as stress coping strategies that it becomes a part of life, just something you’ve always done.

This is a difficult prospect if you aren’t aware of your habits or reactions to a variety of stimuli. The first thing that is required is awareness! Test yourself, see how you feel under different circumstances. Are there specific times of the day that you find more stressful than others? Are there specific people who stress you out? Do you shy away from conflict? Do you avoid confrontation or have difficulty expressing what is important to you?

If any of these situations sound familiar you may be struggling with stress that you can’t handle or don’t have coping strategies for, so your stress coping strategy may be to reach for a soda, chips or Twinkies. What exactly will help you change those negative responses stress? There are numerous ways to create new stress coping strategies that can get you back on track without food, alcohol or drugs. This is all up to you and your self knowledge about those things you use to soothe yourself, decrease anxiety or anger.

There has been a lot of information published about pattern interruption, especially regarding negative habit behaviors. Pattern interruption is an important part of changing negative habit behaviors especially concerning foods or anything ingested that could jeopardize healthy weight. Knowing how to do this takes time and the ability to learn a different way of thinking that will support the new stress coping strategy. This is where you have to know yourself well. What pushes your buttons, what makes you flinch or feel negatively about yourself, your needs or expectations? Identify these things and you are well on your way to creating an interruption habits to negate it.

NLP or Neuro Linguistic Patterning has been effective in pattern disruption. The idea of pattern interruption is to identify the habit that happens just before the negative pattern begins. These habits may be in the form of physical posture, specific eye, foot or hand movements. You may experience certain repetitive thoughts or feel the need to say the same thing over and over just before grabbing the Twinkie. First know what that pre-habit looks and feels like, then choose an interruption technique to use. Try to get a friend to help you identify where the pre-habit begins and ask them to help you interrupt the pattern. There are several ways in which you can disrupt a pattern. Here are a few of them:

Blocking- If you are starting to speak a pre-habit sentence have your friend interrupt you mid-sentence and talk about something completely different.

Mimic- Have a friend mimic your speech or movements. This is actually pretty unnerving and can serve to shift your pre-habit thought process.

Wave- Simply waving a hand in front of your face can change the eye tracking that precedes the negative behavior.

Change Posture- Depressed people and overweight people (who are very often depressed) associate their mood and compulsion for bad foods with a specific posture. One that is closed in, shoulders rounded forward, head bent down, eyes to the ground. Simply standing up, rotating the shoulders back, lifting the head and eyes will change a person’s demeanor immediately.

I personally notice that I feel much better more empowered when I’m striving for good posture when I workout. I notice many of my depressed clients also experience this saying things like “I can’t believe how much better I feel after this workout!” Of course working out is like a pattern interruption simply because you are using your body, increasing endorphins and doing something for yourself however, posture has a lot to do with it too. To use this strategy though you don’t need to go to a gym or get into workout clothes but you could go for a walk, bike ride, or swim. Anything that engages your mind in a physical activity usually helps with any type of pattern interruption.

Meditation- If none of these work for you try meditation with intention. I used neurofeedback for my weight loss clients before anyone had even considered the practice in my industry. We used an HEG program that helped my clients improve pre-frontal cortex functioning or executive functioning for better weight loss results. Attention, focus, concentration, behavior (those that help us make plans and stick to them while controlling impulses), and motivation were all greatly improved. However, the utilization of that equipment was prohibitive in that my clients had the HEG training only once or twice a week when they came in for their personal training sessions. What they really needed was a daily practice, something that they could perform on their own that mimicked the HEG stimulation. That practice led me back to my roots in meditation. I created several mind body meditations years ago in 2004 about self discovery of our mind body connection and then wrote a workbook that accompanied the workshop called Be a Body Psychic, May 2007. Now I use the practice of visual imagery set to specific binaural beat music that stimulates the pre-frontal cortex while the meditator visualizes, feels, and builds a sense of gratitude of attaining their goals. This has been very effective in helping my clients lose weight quickly as it helps them set the "stage" for their own success.

Having conquered number one and number two of “Top 10 Things You Need to Lose Weight” you will be well on your way to a successful weight loss program, one that will serve you well for a lifetime.

I will send along number 3 very soon. Good luck with your pattern interruptions, if you have any questions feel free to email me at Nicole@MindBodyMastery.org.

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