Episode #69 – Change Your Habits, Improve Your Health

fat loss habits







In this week’s episode, we look at habitual behaviors: how they are formed and how to overcome the negative ones. Negative habits in your diet and lifestyle, such as regular alcohol drinking or consuming processed sugar, can make your quest for good health and weight loss much more difficult. However, positive habits can make a real difference to your day to day life and get you feeling more relaxed, balanced and healthy.

A great way to tackle bad habits it to swap them for good ones. Learn more about the ways you can make small but effective behavioral improvements and changes, and how they can get you on the path to a happy, healthy lifestyle. For example, taking magnesium baths, swapping alcohol for tea and using the Take Ten app are all steps we discuss this week: small but positive changes that will make a difference to your wellbeing.

Over time, habits become normal to us and we just do them without thinking. Programming your brain with these good habits may take a little time and effort at first, but before long will become automatic to you. Once these good habits are natural to you, you’ll find it much easier to bring in new habits as well and take an all-round approach to becoming happier and healthier.

Take a look at our previous episode for information on UJ Ramdas and The Five Minute Journal

Leave us a review for your chance to win a Fitbit!

We’ve also got a copy of Jonathan Bailor’s ‘The Calorie Myth’ for a lucky listener


Hey everybody, Melissa Curtiss here. Thank you so much for tuning in to the program today. And today, I wanted to take some time to talk to you guys about habits, about how important they are to restoring and recovering your health. Also, of course, for fat loss and also for mental clarity and mental focus. Now a lot of people don’t realize that attempting to change too many things at once as I’ve talked about last week’s episode can really over burden your mind and body. And habits are really, really important to us and there’s a lot of sciences come out in the last few years showing just how important swapping out old habits that might be no longer helpful to you for new habits is really important.

So, let’s dig a little bit into what habit is. It actually comes from the word, or derived from habitual behaviors or something that is a habit is a habitual behavior. And to step back in time a little bit, let’s take a look at something we’ve all learned most people would probably have learned this, how to tie your shoes. Now when you were like three years old or four years old or maybe younger, it seems like a pretty daunting project there to take this to the pieces of string and flip them over a couple of times and tie your shows. But imagine, almost everyone today can tie their shoes with their eyes closed. And it comes from repeating that behavior of how to successfully do it over and over again and pretty soon that begins to become a habitual behavior and your mind can actually start your body doing that without you even thinking about it.

Now, one that we’ve talked about quite a bit is driving and learning to drive. And if you remember when you first learned to drive, it seemed like it’s an enormously complicated assignment. You had to control the vehicle, there’s the gas, the break and maybe learning the driver’s stick shift. There were all kinds of other controls, yet it gradually increases, decrease your speed, turn right, turn left, back up, use your turn signals, so, all these things over time as you repeat the behaviors become habitual and then becomes something you don’t have to think about too much. And then fortunately, today, what can happen is, you can fall into habits which are not good and a common one, everyone struggles with is something like smoking because that has a release of pleasure in the brain which becomes addicting. We’re not going to talk too much about addictive behavior, but we’re going to talk about habits that could become addictive, such as, alcohol or wine at the end of the day.

Now, I was right there with you and if you’re having this issue because I used to enjoy wine at the end of the day or a cocktail if I was going out to party or at a restaurant or something and this was a habitual behavior because I got it over the years and was a big part of the end of the day ritual. Now, what I realized since i started working on restoring my health was I needed to change that. I needed to get away from that because for me, the processed sugar that was contained in wine was not helping me and certainly not helping my insulin resistance. And so, the same would go to be true for the alcohol, depending on what you’re preferred drink is. So I decided I needed to swap out that habit that I had for something else. Something that would also be relaxing that would deliver a relaxing, pleasurable experience at the end of the day.

Many of you, I know may commute to home and back to work and so the end of the day made even more stressful by traffic. Unless you have a beautiful drive with no traffic, in which case, fine, that could be part of your relaxing program. And if you do have a commute which is not stressful, I would highly recommend that during that commute, you listen to music or audio book or some form of audible decompression that you can listen to on your commute. Again, even if you are in traffic, you might try to listen something that’s soothing as opposed to letting yourself become more and more wound up. And if you’re listening to conventional radio, a lot of times what will happen is that commercials and things will only tend to push you into a further state of agitation.

Alright, so back to the booze question. What about wine and alcohol? Well, if most of you have decided to make a change, then you need to go forward with this and not stop drinking wine or alcohol completely without substituting something else in its place to get you into the same ritual in the after or at the end of the day that you used to have with those two components. So when I began to do was, I started with tea as I’ve spoken about before. I used an organic tea, it’s called Yogi Bed Time Tea. It is a – the caramel flavor is the one I like a lot and you can drink that hot or cold and I would at the end of my work day, that would be something I would make and then I would sit and slowly drink that for about 15 minutes, maybe 20 minutes or so. So I would actually sit down and relax and consume this tea. I also added, after a few weeks of doing this, I added a magnesium supplement called Natural Calm which comes in powdered form. It’sa raspberry and lemon flavor, tastes kind of sweetish – you can again, drink this either hot or cold. It’s only a small amount so probably about a shot glass full of that. If you wanted to, you could put it in a shot glass and pretend you are doing a shot. But those two, I would take more or less, together and the magnesium is because most people are very, very deficient in magnesium and it’s really important mineral that you need in your body to help you restore our health and regain your strength and your digestive strength as well.

So that’s when I begin to swap out and that was my routine at the end of the day. And going forward, what I added on to that was once I got my dinner preparation situation working smoothly, which is, I’ve spoken about before, I’m a big fan of the modern day crock pots because you can do a few steps in the morning and a few, a little bit of prep with your getting ready to go to work and then you can have a delicious hot meal ready to go when you come home, all ready to serve. All I have to do is maybe, make a side dish or a salad or some garnishes and you’re ready to go. So it takes – it eliminates the time you would normally spend and feel rushed in getting the dinner prepared. So what I begin to add to my afternoon, afterwork ritual later in the day was a bath, a soak, not a long one. Not this one hour with candles lit and music playing back but maybe just a 30 minute soak. And that I did quite a bit when I was doing physical therapy to rehabilitate issues with my shoulder, my knee and my wrist. And I was using Epsom salts which you can find at Amazon.com or your local pharmacy doing about two cups of that into warm to hottish water depending on how you can take it. And again, just doing it for 30 minutes, you can even do 20 minutes if you wanted to. What I begin to do was drink the tea, take the tea with me into the bath and just have a nice soak for a few minutes. And that was very restorative to muscles and of course if you know any athletes or have followed any sports teams, that’s one of the big things they do after their exertion from football or baseball practice or any of those things. They have a hot soak and cold soak, both to help them recover and help their muscles recover. But it’s also a relaxation and also it can work as detoxifying your body.

A lot of integrative medicine practitioners will encourage you to do this kind of baths, maybe almost every day, particularly if you’re detoxing from metals and things like that. I’m also doing that at the moment, so the hot baths have come in handy for me as much as I can get them in. But that combo of the tea and the magnesium, if you choose to do that, plus the bath is really, really, relaxing and it restores you. And you don’t feel like you’re relaxed like the one you just want to flop down and go to bed then skip dinner. You feel relaxed but energized. So it gives you a little boost to go into serving dinner and having dinner with your family and enjoying it. And I’ve noticed that, it’s helped me sort of restore my energy at the end of the day when I mostly would want to just flop down and say, “Okay, i’m done.” And as you know, if you’ve taken in alcohol that time, that gives you the illusion of having energy but it’s actually depleting your energy and it’s actually pressing your systems so it’s not really helping you in the long run.

So how to swap these habits out? I think the biggest thing you have to consider is you need to remove availability of the item which is toxic to you. If you have a big store of wine, you may want to set or put that at the neighbors house or one of your relatives house temporarily. If you have drinks covered which is full up to the overflowing with various cocktails that you like to drink every day or frequently, you might want to lock that up and hide the key on yourself or give the key to somebody else so that you can’t access, so the temptation of that is gone away. And then, as I mentioned, just outfit yourself with some herbal teas. You want the once that are caffeine free, obviously, because this is going to set you up for sleep later in the day. And then you also want to have something that’s tasty, that taste good. You don’t want to have some of the chamomile teas are a little bit kind of tastes like boiled grass to me. They’re good for you, but they’re a little “medicine”tasting and kind of “blah”.

I think you’ll find that if you try Yogi Bedtime Tea, the caramel flavor, you’ll find that quite delicious, and again, something that you want to look forward to. You’re getting the signal to your brain that this is a new rewarding behavior that you want to do. Now, one of the important things about having tea or magnesium and these little packets, this is particularly good if you travel a lot. What I do is when I’m always on the road, I always pack up a few packets of tea and a few packets of magnesium because almost every hotel room now has a way to boil water and if they don’t, you can always go down to the coffee shop which they almost, every hotel has and you can get some boiled water and just tell them you have your own tea bag, you want to put in and pay whatever it is, I don’t know, a buck or something for it. But you can always have this ritual when you’re on the road which is really good because travel is stressful. Probably by the time you get to your hotel after a busy day of doing whatever you’ve been doing, traveling, maybe in meetings, maybe going to a conference or something, you’re beaten and you want to sit down and relax. And here, you got your kit ready to go. You can get your tea out, drink it and do your magnesium and drink it and then you’re feeling much better, much more relax and ready for the afternoons or evening’s activities.

Now, something I would add on, and again, I added these on as I went forward in my journey here to restore my health and that was a little app. I’ve spoken about it before, it’s called, Take 10. It’s a little self guided meditation app. Now, a lot of people struggle with meditation. They don’t want to hear about meditation and I was right with you. I wasn’t too big a fan of it and I find it really hard to do. It seemed like a waste of time. But this little app, I’ll put a link in the show notes. You can put it on your phone. You can put it on your iPad and you can also put it on your computer if you want. But it’s more helpful if you have it on something you’re carrying with you all the time. So if you carry a phone with you or iPad, I would recommend it for that. But what it does is in just 10 minutes and it’s a guided meditation so there’s this nice voice, man comes on and tells you just to position yourself in a comfortable chair, to breath, to do this, to do that and that’s it. There’s nothing really woowooh about it. They don’t chant mantras or anything like that. It’s real simple, but what it does while you’re not realizing is it just kind of quiets and settles things down at the end of the day when your brain might be running around all sorts of topics in your head about things that you did get done, didn’t get done, should get done, should do, got to do tomorrow. All these things that might be stressing you out at the end of the day, this kind of takes it down to a couple of notches and puts you in a more calm state. And again, you might combine this with while you’re drinking a tea you could put your earbuds in while you’re in a tub soaking with epsom salts, either one or both or all, however you want to do it.

But I found that to be quite good stress reducer at the end of the day and also, you can decide if you want to do it at the beginning of the day as well. A lot of people use this Take 10 app in the beginning of their day right as they get up in the morning to mellow out the day as they’re going forward because a lot times they’ll feel, have this list of things I have to do today and feeling so stressed about it, “I’ve got to get it all done.” And then I’ve got to go in this commute right now. So it kind of mellows you out before you even dive into the day, but you could, if it’s going to be a stressful day.

Now, the Take 10 app is free. I believe it’s still free. And it takes you through 10 sessions and then you can buy it if you want, I think. I don’t know. Again, I’ll put a link on the show notes. I’m not exactly sure what it costs to buy it. But it’s very cheap, whatever it is. And again, you don’t have to do any because the app itself takes you through the meditation, a few minutes of meditation, and everybody has 10 minutes, so, it’s a good thing to do.

And as I talked about it a few episodes ago, again, if you want to go on to this building block, a little bit further when you try a few of these steps and you feel like you want to add something more, I”ve talked about it and interviewed UJ Ramdas who did the five minute journal, which is again, an app that you can get for your devices and it just prompts you to write down quickly in five minutes, five things that happened to you today, what you are grateful for and it’s been shown to have enormous effects on your mental health, in a good way. And also, it causes you to just pause for a few minutes and think about what’s going on in the day, what’s coming up for the day ahead. So if you go back a couple of episodes, you can listen to that again, it’s Five Minute Journal with UJ Ramdas.

Also, I will put a link in this week’s episodes shownotes today. There’s a few nice little building blocks and stair steps that you have. So start to replace the wine or the cocktail with the tea and the magnesium and then, move to fitting in one of these soaking baths for a few minutes. A 20-25-30 minutes and I think you will find right away if you note down, keep a little record on your phone or something you can easily jot down. Just your note pad on your phone, just make a mental note on there. Write it down. How you’re feeling after this little session a couple of times.

I think you’ll find that you’ll get into a routine and then a habit, and then habitual behavior, of course that will be quite nice and will be quite relaxing for you. And also, these steps will set you up very well for good night’s sleep, which is what everybody should be shooting for because as we found out in the last few years, that is really critical to weight loss. Not getting enough sleep and not letting the body totally recover both mentally and physically is what holds back and keeps you – keeps the weight on. So, almost everyone I’ve interviewed, medical experts and other people who’ve written books, and hormonal experts, all of them said that rest and recovery is key.

One of the episodes, a few episodes back with Ben Greenfield, the triathlon coach and best selling author who coaches people who want to improve their mental and physical performance in all areas, but particularly in running, in triathlons and Ironman pursuits, one of his big, big focus is on sleep and making sure that his clients are getting enough and adequate sleep because that will hold them back in their performance and hold them back on the goals that they want to achieve. So, again, this little routine and regimen will set you up for a very good night’s sleep. It’s not perfect but I think that you’ll notice the difference. And again, it’s really helpful to use your little notepad on your phone if you have it or on your iPad, depending on which device you carry with you mostly or yu can just get an inexpensive notebook at the pharmacy, drugstore that I talked about before. I think for 99 cents you can give a little paper pad and just keep it somewhere where you have it handy everyday and note down how you’re feeling after you do these things and note down how your sleep is after you do these things.

And, that leads me to this, if you’d like to get a free Fit Bit, you can because we still have one to give away. That will help you track your sleep as well as your steps during the day and will help you also integrate with My Fitness Pal if you want to use it to monitor your food. And, you can be automatically entered to win that Fit Bit by just simply leaving us a rating or review in iTunes. Go to Fattofitmyquest.com/reviews and we have a video that will show you how to do that, in case you don’t know how.

It’s pretty simple to take a couple of minutes and you’ll be done. And you’ll be automatically entered to win the Fit Bit. We want to give that away in May 2015, which is what this is now. So, do leave us a rating or a review and you’ll be automatically entered to win and we do still have a couple of books to give away as well. We still have a Food Babe, the Food Babe’s Way which talks a lot about buying healthy foods, how to buy them, where to buy them, where to get them, how to make sure you’re getting the best quality and the least expensive. We also have a Jonathan Baylor’s book, the Calorie Myth which is a very good book. Jonathan was in the program a few episodes ago and talked about the Fitness And Food Industry – Brainwashing that we All go Through and how we can restore health and improve fat loss by doing less, actually, in the way of workouts than we think.

We also talked about eccentric exercise in that episode, which I’ve mentioned. I did a whole episode on that about recovering my use of my shoulder and knee and wrist by using eccentric exercise which is very, very effective and doesn’t take a whole lot of time. When I did that for almost six months was 30 minutes once a week. Now there were some other things added in there so I don’t want to digress on that subject too much. But if you have questions about it, definitely, on the homepage of fattofitmyquest.com there’s a button, you can ask question, I’ll be happy to answer it for you. And also, you can email us, support@fattofitmyquest.com and we’ll answer your questions.

We do try to answer questions that pop in over from the Facebook page. It’s hard to keep up because there’s a lot going on over there, but you can also ask us a question over there and we’ll be happy to get back to you.

All right, well, that’s it for this week’s episode. I’m going to see you right back here next week and please do send in questions and let me know how this works for you. Try out the teas. Try out the soaking bath and try out the Take 10 app. I’d love to hear how it’s working for you. If you’ve noticed a change in your mental focus, your mental relaxation and the afternoons and after work time. And also, how it’s work and how the transition has been from, maybe transitioning and swapping out of the glass of wine habit in the afternoon to the tea in the afternoon and the soaking bath in the afternoon.

Alright, thanks so much again for tuning in and we’ll see you next time.


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