Archive for Sunday, January 3, 2010

Change of habit: Advice to make your resolutions stick

Forbes steps up to the soda fountain on her second visit Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009. She admits that she knows all the shift workers at the Hillcrest BP gas station, 914 Iowa, by name.

Forbes steps up to the soda fountain on her second visit Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009. She admits that she knows all the shift workers at the Hillcrest BP gas station, 914 Iowa, by name.

January 3, 2010


Lawrence resident Barb Forbes used to drink five 32-ounce Dr. Peppers a day. After a weaning off period, Forbes has successfully lessened her intake to two 44-ounce Diet Dr. Peppers a day.

Lawrence resident Barb Forbes used to drink five 32-ounce Dr. Peppers a day. After a weaning off period, Forbes has successfully lessened her intake to two 44-ounce Diet Dr. Peppers a day.

At their core, most new year's resolutions are about breaking bad habits and replacing them with better ones. Out with the old unhealthy behaviors; in with the new and improved.

Helping people turn over a new leaf is Lawrence therapist Linda Hoopes' stock-in-trade. She advises her clients to break big goals into smaller steps toward success.

"You pick out a big thing and break it down into realistic, attainable goals," Hoopes explains. "For instance, one of my own resolutions is to start saving more money. I'm going to pick an amount that's probably smaller than what I'd like to save each month just so I can start doing it, to get in the habit. It's a lot less scary and overwhelming."

Hoopes adds that many resolutions fall by the wayside because resolution makers try to go it alone.

"People need support for some of the bigger goals, especially something like stopping smoking and weight loss. Finding family or friends or other groups where you can get encouragement and listen to other people tell you what worked or didn't work for them can help a lot."

According to Harris Interactive's Second Annual New Year's Resolution study, losing weight is the perennial favorite with 63 percent of all Americans putting it on the top of their lists.

Dr. Donald Hensrud is editor of the just-released "Mayo Clinic Diet" (Good Books, $24.95). He says the Mayo program asks people to change a lot of habits suddenly - in an intense 14-day period.

"In the first two weeks, we ask you to add 5 habits and break 5," Hensrud says. "All have evidence supporting them in terms of decreasing calorie intake, increasing calories burned or managing weight.

"For example, one of the 'add' habits is to eat breakfast. Another is to eat more vegetables and fruits. One of the 'break five' habits is no sugar, except what's found naturally in fruit. Another is no TV when eating, and you can only watch as much TV as the amount of time you've spent exercising."

That sounds like a tall order for most yo-yo dieters, but Hensrud says the approach has been successful in practice.

"We thought, 'Let's take all the things we can find that are effective and, instead of slow and steady changes, let's see if we can get people to change them all at once," he says. "It takes people out of their comfort zone and habits that they're used to. And they see that they are, in fact, capable of making a lot of changes which motivates them to sustain it over time."

Personal fitness trainer, Marty Tuley of Lawrence, says studies show people who join health clubs in January, typically start to drop off in attendance around the three-month mark.

"I think a 90-day window is probably applicable to a lot of scenarios in any kind of habit forming. If you can keep yourself diligent and consistent with a new (good) behavior and/or losing a bad one for 90-plus days, then you're invested and you increase your chances of making the new habit a permanent one."

The critical part, according to Tuley, is to focus less on the ultimate goal - like losing 10, 20 or 50 pounds - and more on establishing a day-in-day-out pattern of regular exercise and good nutrition.

"If you take little bitty steps, but little-bitty steps consistently, that's the key," he says.

Lawrence resident Barb Forbes took small steps to replace a bad habit with a new one that's, well, a lesser evil.

"I was drinking four to five 32-ounce regular Dr. Peppers a day," she confesses. "Sometimes, I'd drink it from the can but I preferred it from the fountain. I knew which places in town had the best fountain drinks. I still do."

After several years of consuming 2000 calories per day in Dr. Pepper alone, Forbes knew she had to cut back.

"I was trying to lose weight and exercising a lot. I was running marathons and I couldn't get the weight off. I knew I had to switch (to diet). So, I replaced it but I did it slowly. I'd do half-regular-half-diet for a while and then I slowly, slowly cut down."

These days, she consumes two 44-ounce Diet Dr. Peppers a day for a total of zero calories.

"I have one in the morning and one in the afternoon after work," she admits. "But, I'd go back in a minute if it didn't make me gain weight. It's beyond a habit. I'm an addict."


Nathan Anderson 8 years, 2 months ago

The equivalent of 2 2-liters per day in DP? Wow, just wow. No wonder people develop type 2 diabetes.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 2 months ago

There is no way I am going to watch television less and yes I do eat in front of it. It doesn't work when people rely on others to tell them what to eat and when to eat. It is just people making money off of the gullible. You must be willing to take a long, hard look at yourself and who you are and who you want to be. It is not just painting over a crack in the wall, it is getting down to the foundation.

beaujackson 8 years, 2 months ago

One must drink an equal amount of milk to replace bone calcium that is depleted by carbonated drinks (including beer).

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 2 months ago

Soy milk is for humans and it has a lot of calcium.

shepdog 8 years, 2 months ago

I'm a Pepper, Your'e a Pepper, He's a Pepper, She's a Pepper, Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too???

texburgh 8 years, 2 months ago

I want to know more about the 5 habits to add and the 5 habits to break info from Mayo Clinic. Any chance for a short article on that? If not... Does anyone know what they are?

8 years, 2 months ago

I used to have a friend that would chain-smoke and drink 2-liters of Mountain Dew while driving around in his truck just to listen to the radio and zone out. Proud to report he's knocked off all those habits and is in med school. Irish is right, it's only going to change when YOU decide to buckle down and do it. Programs and life coaches and trainers may help but what you really need is the resolve.

Ms. Forbes, way to go on tackling your Dr. Pepper addiction. It may sound funny to some but soda pop is just as addictive as many "hard drugs" and, in many ways, more unhealthy. Keep at it and Happy New You!

9070811 8 years, 2 months ago

O Irish, I'm glad we share the passion for soy milk. Rice milk is pretty tasty too! Cow milk is for baby cows. I prefer to imagine humans sucking on cow utters. High fructose corn syrup leaves the human palate with more thirst. Let us not get started on artificial sweeteners.

Evan Ridenour 8 years, 2 months ago

Caffeine is a highly addictive drug. It always has been. I don't know why people pretend differently.

daddax98 8 years, 2 months ago

"Henry Ford made steering wheels from soy.

You like to eat steering wheels?

You Soy People really should do your homework."

that steering wheel oil sure makes some tasty french (nee freedom) fries. btw I assume you don't eat corn, they make bio-degradable plastic from corn.

feetup 8 years, 2 months ago

thought i was bad with 3 cans and 1 20oz diet coke...i feel better now LOL

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