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3 Months to a New Habit

Saturday, July 23, 2011

They say that it takes 30 days to create a pattern of behavior and 90 days to create a habit.

This is so true for me. I started getting random thoughts of quitting this 17DD plan that I am on, yesterday. Not just cheating - I was thinking about other diets to try. Now, this is completely irrational; because, this diet is working for me. I lost 30 lbs. That's more than I have lost in years. I feel better. I have no cravings and no hunger. I have more energy. So where were these thoughts of quitting coming from?

I looked at the calendar this morning. I thought that I had started the plan in May, but I actually started April 23rd. That's exactly 3 months. My Waterloo.

Starting a new diet follows a pattern for me. In the beginning, I'm excited. I'm on my best behavior andtry to follow the diet faithfully. At the same time, I want it to be easy. Most of the time, I never make it past the first week, if I encounter any difficulty. If I start to see immediate results, I'm happy and more determined. Next comes the "honeymoon" stage where I'm still seeing results, the diet is still fairly new and not boring, and I'm still making every effort to be 100% compliant.

Then I begin to be complacent. I gradually stop doing what made me successful in the beginnning. Old patterns begin to emerge. If I haven't quit before then, they peak at the 3 month mark. I start looking for the easy way again. I typically sabotage myself, before giving up completely. I start debating the merits of the diet I'm on, especially if I hit a plateau. In this case, I thought that a 10 lbs loss per month wasn't good enough. I had planned on losing 12 lbs. per month. I start bargaining with myself. I tell myself that I've been doing so well, that I don't need to follow a diet. I can eat healthy on my own with no plan, or one that I design for myself. Before I know it, I've not only quit the diet, but I've gone back to my old eating habits and gained back every pound that Ihad lost (and more). It's not just dieting. I do the same thing if I have a new hobby or interest. I'm excited for about 3 months and then my attention wanes. I quit and I may never do it again.

At least in the past, that's what happened. Not this time. This time, I know that it's totally up to me. The 17 Day diet is a good one that I should be able to stick with. It's not the diet - it's me. Sometimes it's just overwhelming to be aware of how long it's going to take to lose this weight and be fit. How can I gain 10lbs in one week, but it takes one month to lose it? I have to realize that it's not going to be easy, but it's doable. It's all on me. There is no easy way and I just have to "suck it up" and do it.

To get through this 3 month hurdle, I just have to start practicing again, what helped me to begin this diet - self hypnosis and specific visualizations. I have to read my list of triggers again and follow through with what I wrote down to counteract them. I have to look at my vision board. I need to reframe my thoughts from a negative to a positive i.e. instead of giving in to bad habits at the 3 month mark - it is the date that I made a new pattern of behavior (dieting) a good habit.

I have to utilize Sparkpeople. I posted on my team message board that I needed support and in my status and I'm blogging. The support I get from my Sparkfriends is really what will propel me over this hurdle and help me keep pressing on.

Already, friends responded with words of encouragement that brought tears to my eyes. They reminded me to look at the big picture - to look at what I have accomplished so far. Instead of being discouraged that I only lost 30 lbs., I should be proud that I made it to this point and lost 30 lbs. I should remember how much better I feel, and think about how much better I will feel, when I'm at my healthy weight. To keep in mind it's not a sprint, but a marathon, that I can win. With friends like that, how can I give up? I CAN DO THIS
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I found your page in the list of motivating Spark pages...I know this blog is old, but it describes what I am going through right now! Thanks for the encouragement!
    3330 days ago
    What a fantastic blog .... !!! ..... you are doing great ! Roc
    emoticon emoticon
    3489 days ago
    The 17 Day Diet is working wonders for you, so I hope you stick with it. 30 lbs is an amazing accomplishment!! You will reach your goal, one pound at a time. Of course it will take time, but nothing great in life comes easy. This experience will change your life forever. Once you achieve your goals, you'll always know you can do it, and you'll feel as though you could do ANYTHING. Stay strong, stick with it and keep smiling. You've been a great source of inspiration to many others on the 17DD, hopefully we can take on that role and inspire you to keep moving forward.

    Even though the 17DD didn't work out for me, you've been more encouraging to me than anyone else has been on this site. I hope you know that you have an impact on people all over the world simply by sharing your story here on SparkPeople.

    Stay strong, we're all behind you
    3503 days ago
    Practice makes perfect - that and using Spark sounds like a emoticon plan!
    3504 days ago
  • G.I.JANE
    You CAN do this!!!!! I like the ideal of self hypnosis and specific visualizations. You have inspired me. emoticon emoticon
    3504 days ago
    Are you talking about the 17 Day Diet Book?

    I never in my life was successful at sustaining any weight loss that I achieved by following a diet from a book-I always got bored with those diets anyway.
    I'm happy that you are doing so well and I am not advising you to stop by any means.

    However, if I were you, I'd go for a balanced diet getting your recommended daily calories and nutrients.
    Have you ever visited a dietitian?

    You do have all my support. Good Luck emoticon
    3505 days ago
    YOU CAN DO THIS! You are doing this. And as much as we 'd like it to be a sprint, it is, indeed, a marathon, taking each day at a time, one foot in front of the other. Your sentiments about the mentality that goes along with 'dieting' is right on for probably 99% of us, except most people quit their diet the first week out, and here you are beginning your 4th month - awesome!

    As for your expectations of losing 12 lbs. a month and coming up short with 10 - how would you advise me if I felt deflated by those stats? You wouldn't tell me to throw in the towel because I had 'failed' to reach my goal. Nope. You'd probably tell me what an accomplishment it was to achieve that much! Kudos and high fives all around!

    Seems to me you're experiencing a normal diet burnout, so to speak. Maybe it's time to find some new recipes to include in your routine to add some variety and spice to your eating? Switch up your exercise, too, and try something new. You've got too many friends around here to let you jump ship and board another Diet Plan. Sorry, but not gonna happen! emoticon
    3505 days ago
    Whatever you need from me - If you need to be carried, then I shall carry you. You have my support and you have my friendship. You have given me so much - your support, your drive, your success - they help me get through day after day.

    You know I'm here for you - hang in there my friend! You are doing great!
    3505 days ago
    My dear sweet are not alone in the way you are feeling you have just hit that Wall of pain they talk about in Fat Loser. You are one of the strongest people in this group and I KNOW you can do this. You HAVE to do this for you and you alone. I need you to do this for you. Just as I need to do this for me.
    Together we are a team and there is no I in team. So together we will see this through. I am here for you as I know you are here for me.
    Be strong my friend, you can do anything for 17 days.

    I love you.
    3505 days ago
    Gabby, I found your friendship through the 17DD team, which I highly value. And I'm not the only one that feels this way!!!

    You really ARE inspirational to so many of us on this team; you are like a treasured "gift!"

    From my heart to yours...
    Susy in Kansas City

    P.S. Bet ya didn't know I could get so sappy, huh?
    3505 days ago
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    3505 days ago
    I know I sent you a PM, but after reading your blog I want to encourge you to get back in the race/game. You are a wonderful role model and some who provides great support to all of us. We all know that this is a journey and sometimes there are detours along the way, but as with any detour you are always put back on the path that you were on. Continue to fight the good fight - you are worth it! You have come so far. I will be praying for you and waiting to hear of your great successes. I will rejoin you once my detour (move to LV) is complete.
    3505 days ago
    Yes you can!! And also - don't only focus on the finish line. Look for ways to enjoy each day - your increased energy, the way your clothes are fitting you, and how you look in the mirror. If you enjoy the journey it will make it easier to reach your destination!
    3505 days ago
  • JULIE99S
    It sounds like we are cut from the same cloth, Gabby. Both with the dieting and hobbies (and I get a lot of flack from my DH about the hobby thing :P)

    You are amazing and have done such a great job. We are all here for you, and you are 110% correct... YOU CAN DO THIS!!
    3505 days ago
    I love your biog and can relate to you so much, but please, keep doing what you were doing and keep it up. You are doing a great job. Go to the supermarket and get 30 pounds of butter and look at them as the same as you achievement. Look what they look like together. That big is your achievement!!!! Look how far have you come and look what will you loose and come into you body if you leave your plan right now. Keep it up. You can do this. You deserve to keep taking care of self!!! I am here to cheer you up!!!
    3505 days ago
    Thirty pounds! You are amazing! You have inspired me!
    3505 days ago
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