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Replace old habits with new ones

By Reggie Palma

LAST UPDATED: 02:02 a.m. HST, Jul 13, 2010

"Practice makes perfect." This is false. The statement should read, "Practice makes habits."

How many of you golfers out there have practiced a shot with a certain club only to realize, after taking a lesson, that not only were you rotating your torso incorrectly, but you were using the wrong club to boot? After hours of practice and thousands of shots, you did not end up with the "perfect" swing, just the practiced one.

The new swing must now be practiced to the point of habit, all the while struggling to forget the old one. The same principle applies to those who find themselves in a constant battle of the bulge. Oftentimes, upon self-reflection, people can find many unconscious patterns in their daily lives that encourage a slow weight gain over time. Until these habits are identified and addressed, the bulge will inevitably keep bulging.

Therefore, the only way to lose and keep off the weight that attached itself to your body is by developing new habits.

Rather than wasting time and effort toward finding a new diet that will melt off the pounds, use that energy to detail your daily activities. Start first with a food log indicating the times you eat and what you eat. Do not try to change your behavior while you are logging the items; just log them.

Later, add more information, including fluid intake, sleep/awake time and energy levels throughout the day. You will soon have a clear picture of your behavior and a framework upon which to base change.

Make a list of the habits you would like to change, and make each point a goal to achieve within a certain time period. Tackle the easiest of them first to start a positive cycle of encouragement that will lend momentum to tackle more difficult habits.

Remember, you never break bad habits, just replace them with new ones.

Reggie Palma is an exercise physiologist and personal trainer. He has a fourth-degree black belt in the Filipino martial art kali. He can be reached at fitnessatyourdoor@mac.com or 392-2314.

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