Friday March 29th marked the 100th day since I took control of my health and wellness. WOW…100 days! I’ve never in my life withstood a weight loss program for anywhere near 100 days. I’ve been that desperate yo-yo dieter whose commitment waivered constantly driven by an emotional roller coaster fueled by short-term successes and more frequent failures. It dawned on me this morning that after 100 days I’ve positively formed new long-term habits and broken the vicious cycle of many old and extremely harmful ones. By no means have I figured it all out and as such seek to learn as much as I can about myself, my condition, and viable solutions to overcome my obesity illness each and every day.
So let’s talk about habits. How long does it take to make or break them? Is there scientific evidence to support the time it takes? How do our minds respond to adopting new behaviors? According to a study performed by a group of psychology researchers from University College London, the average time for a new behavior to become automatic is approximately 66 days. Depending the behaviors, individuals, and their circumstances, the study concluded that participants took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days to form a new habit. There are also numerous empirical studies that suggest a minimum of 21 days.
We know the human brain is extremely adaptive yet everyone is different and thus habit formation is dependent on our individual characteristics, experiences, and personalities. No matter how many days, weeks, or months it make take for you, I urge you to initially develop just one positive habit to get you closer to your health goals.
Examples might be setting a water consumption goal, utilizing a food journal, or engaging in more movement. You don’t need to conquer it all at once, just start somewhere and add other good habits as you go. The first 95 days of my journey entailed nutrition and water consumption. Once I mastered that, I moved on to movement. I’m very proud of myself this week as I’ve added walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes each day and striving to make this a long-term behavior.
As I travel on this incredible journey of self-awareness, I’m focusing on the root causes of my obesity struggles which have ailed me for many years. More importantly, with the help of my doctor and my health coach as well as my support network of family and friends, I’m learning what I can do to manage my weight and improve myself both body and mind. I’m excited to share with you that as of this 100th day I’ve lost 43.6lbs with 37.4 more to go to achieve my goal. I’ve climbed to the top of what initially felt like a huge mountain and looking forward to stepping down the other side to reach my ultimate goal.