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“Ask The Experts” is written and provided by Scholarship Media. It does not reflect the views of The Collegian or its advertisers.
I need help. Every day I feel sicker and sicker, and I know that it’s my own lifestyle that’s doing this to me. Every night I go to bed after binge-eating a bunch of junk food, and when the light comes in my window and wakes me up, I feel like an awful slug, or something, just squinting and shriveling and . . . ugh. I know I shouldn’t eat every night. I know I should exercise in the morning. But I don’t know how to do this stuff. Can you help me?
You’re absolutely right to note that the simple formula for weight loss and healthy living is eating better, eating less, and exercising more. But you’re not the only one struggling to stick to what we know is healthy. Evidence is everywhere that our diets are not working: in the U.K., one study found that dieters failed an average of four different diets a year and shared an overall failure rate of 90%. Despite this, 45 million of us try out a diet every year in the United States alone.
Why do we keep doing this, and why do we keep failing? The details may differ from person to person, but the short answer is that, for most of us, diets don’t represent permanent change. An incredible 97% of dieters will regain the weight they shed within 3 years. That proves that even more dedicated dieters can’t force themselves to behave for that long.
The key, some researchers suggest, is our habits. That may not be a surprise to most of us: after all, we know that it’s our habits that got us into this mess in the first place. Our habits cause us to eat when we watch TV or, in your case, before bed. Your refusal to exercise in the morning is a habit, too. Nutrition and dieting experts like the weight-loss pros at NetNutri advocate for Fastin, as any weight-loss plan needs to fit into a larger plan for lifestyle change, and that means new habits which can also include dietary supplements to assist with your progress.
So how can you change your habits? Experts say keystone habits are a bit part of the solution. Keystone habits are our big, lifestyle-defining habits. From the sound of things, one of your keystone habits is your poor sleep cycle. Transforming that could make a big difference.
Perhaps changing your bedtime would help you cut back on late-night snacks. You could focus on your pre-sleep ritual, too: you will sleep better if you follow experts’ advice to put your phone away one hour before bed, so why not make that the cut-off for food, too–and enforce it by brushing your teeth? As for your morning ritual, it sounds like you need to better control your sleep environment. Use blinds to create the darkness you need to sleep, and if you want to wake up to light, try a wake-up light, which can be programmed to wait until you’ve had the sleep you need (7-9 hours, experts say). Of course, since you have to go to class, getting the sleep you need may have more to do with going to sleep on time than it does with pushing your wake-up time back!
Your sleep cycle is just one of the habits you may want to look at. But when you start to change your big habits and shift your lifestyle, you may find that eating healthy and exercising get a whole lot easier. The key is to make your healthy habits the natural consequence of your healthy lifestyle.
“A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit,” ― Erasmus