6 habits you should break now & how to form new ones

Hello Inside Team
6 habits you should break now & how to form new ones
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What are habits and why do we need them?

Habits make you who you are. Building good new habits is the key to making lasting lifestyle changes that will help you live a happier, healthier and longer life. However, if you hold on to bad habits, they may be holding you back from achieving your goals and making a real difference.

In this blog post, we'll take a look at the types of habits you should change, give up and adopt to improve your health and in particular your blood sugar levels and therefore your health and wellbeing. We'll also look at how you can successfully adopt new habits and make new behaviors seem so natural that they become virtually automatic.

What types of habits should I try to change?

There are four key lifestyle areas - or pillars - that can have a direct impact on your overall health and fitness. These four pillars are: healthy eating, exercise, sleep, and stress management or mindfulness.

We can measure the overall impact of lifestyle on our health and fitness by monitoring blood glucose levels, which is an important biomarker and indicator of metabolic health.

What habits do you already have in relation to these four pillars? Do you sleep 7-8 hours every night? Do you have mindfulness exercises to manage stress in your family or at work? Do you drink alcohol regularly? And if you work from home, do you remember to go out for a walk in the morning before you sit down at the computer or in the evening before you go to bed?

Each of these habits can have a direct impact on your overall health, which is reflected in your blood sugar levels. In the next section, we'll take a look at five small but surprisingly effective habits you can adopt to significantly improve your overall health and stabilize your blood sugar.

6 bad habits you should get rid of now (and what you can do instead)

As we have seen above, many of the choices we make on a daily basis have a direct impact on our blood sugar levels and therefore our metabolic health. Our lifestyle (exercise, sleep, stress and diet) is one of the most important levers when it comes to healthy habits. The good news is that small changes can have a big impact. So try to adopt the following habits and swap them for new ones and you will see how your well-being improves in no time. 

  1. Drink orange juice for breakfast
    You might think that orange juice is a healthy option, but it actually leads to you consuming a lot of sugar in the morning. Try to eat a fruit whole if you feel like it. Whole fruit contains much more fiber than blended fruit in juice form. Fiber helps to regulate sugar utilization in the body and helps to keep hunger and blood sugar under control.

  2. Snack on chocolate
    If you eat sugary snacks in the middle of the day, your blood sugar levels are very likely to spike. Try to replace them with a savory snack to avoid this. If you don't want to give up sweet treats, get into the habit of always eating them as dessert after a meal. The order in which we eat is crucial for reducing the rise in blood sugar and therefore also controls cravings.

  3. Stress while eating
    Have you ever caught yourself working while eating? Checking a few emails or working on a presentation? This can interfere with nutrient absorption and we tend to eat faster and more when we are inattentive. Take time for your meal. So try to enjoy your food consciously and mindfully.

  4. The post-meal nap
    If you've just eaten a really heavy meal, the only thing you probably feel like doing is lying down on the sofa and scrolling through your phone or sleeping while you digest your food. This is one of the worst habits for dealing with high blood sugar levels after a meal. Get into the habit of taking a short 10-15 minute walk or doing some light exercise after a meal. This will help your body's cells absorb the excess glucose in your bloodstream and prevent a spike.

  5. Eating bread and butter as an appetizer
    As we have already mentioned, the order in which you eat your meals is very important for how your body reacts to a rise in blood sugar. Starting a meal with bread and butter is one of the worst things you can do to your body! Instead, get into the habit of starting your meal with a light green salad, preferably with an apple cider vinegar dressing to keep your blood sugar levels low.

  6. Intense exercise or eating late before bed
    You may prefer to exercise in the evening rather than in the morning, but if you exercise too intensely, there is a risk that your sleep will be disturbed at night. You may also tend to eat later in the evening and too close to bedtime. Both can affect the quality of your sleep. Poor sleep is bad for your blood sugar levels because your body needs this time to rest and recover. Try to get into the habit of exercising in the morning. If you still feel like doing something before you go to bed, try a light stretching exercise or yoga. Also, make sure you eat your last meal at least 2-3 hours before you go to sleep.

How long does it take to change a habit

To make something a habit, you have to make a consistent effort to adopt a new behavior until it feels so natural and automatic that you don't even have to think about it anymore. Each of the habits listed above should be fairly easy to adopt, but successfully making them a habit is a matter of time.

It can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months for a new behavior to become a habit, but most things should become automatic within the third month of becoming a habit.

This means that morning workouts may feel a little strange or unnatural for the first two months, but don't worry. Keep at it, and by the third month you'll be able to do it with your eyes closed (almost)!

If you're trying to get into a new habit and you're not succeeding, don't blame yourself. Depending on how drastic the change is compared to your usual routine, it can take quite a while before it becomes second nature. Don't worry if you make a mistake from time to time. Just remember why you're trying to make this change and stick with it!

In the next section, we'll see how we can internalize new habits more easily with a few tricks.

How to consolidate new habits

Build on existing habits

The key to forming a new habit is to take advantage of the habits you already have. This means that you build your new habit on an existing habit. Many of us have the habit of starting the day with a nice warm cup of coffee. This can be a great opportunity to take 10 minutes to practice mindfulness, stretch or even learn something new!

Start small and don't make it too difficult for yourself

Introduce your new habit in small steps by not pushing yourself too hard, too fast. If you push yourself too hard the first time you go to the gym, you risk injuring yourself and not being able to continue until you have recovered. This will demotivate you and make your goals seem a long way off.

If you want to get into the habit of going to the gym 4-5 times a week, you don't have to do a hard workout every time. Just set your first goal to show up every day, maybe do a light jog on the treadmill, shower and get on with your day. Once it has become a habit to go to the gym every day, you can focus on increasing the intensity of your workout. Also, consider changing the simple things first before taking on a bigger challenge. If you haven't made a habit of going to the gym at all, a really good goal is to start by only going once a week to get into the habit of regular visits.

Consistency is the key to success

Since it takes several months for a new behavior to become a habit, it's important that you make a consistent effort to do it whenever you can. This means that you should implement your new habits and resolutions at regular intervals. Depending on what goal you have set for yourself, there are probably new things you want to do daily (e.g.: mindfulness exercise before sleep) or 2-3 times a week (e.g.: going to the gym). Or maybe there are even some that you want to practice several times a day (e.g.: 10-minute walk after every meal). Set yourself fixed times or days when you want to do these habits and enter them in your calendar. Consistency is the key to sticking to a new habit.

Make it simple - preparation is everything

Try to reduce the number of limiting factors that could prevent you from successfully introducing a new habit. What are the pain points you don't like? If you want to go to the gym every morning, pack your gym bag the night before and put it by your door. This means you're asking your body to just get up in the foggy morning hours, pack your bag and go. Some people even sleep in their running clothes so that they only have to put on their shoes in the morning before they can start running.

Take responsibility for yourself & seek support

Talk to a good friend about your goals and ask them to support you or help you achieve them together . It may be enough that your friend only needs to check in with you from time to time to make sure you are continuing to work towards your goal and keep up the good work. When we share the motivation to adopt a new habit with a friend, we are much more likely to succeed.

Reward yourself for successes

Let's face it, we humans are pretty impressionable creatures. We are much more inclined to do something if we know there is an immediate reward associated with it. If you reach your daily exercise goal, treat yourself to your favorite TV show. Or if you want to go to bed before 10:30pm every night, make yourself a nice warm herbal tea at 10pm as a reward for being on time. These simple rewards will help carry your body through the time when a new habit still feels strange, unfamiliar and unnatural until it becomes something you do automatically.

Visualize your progress

There are many ways to observe and visualize your progress when introducing new habits. Seeing this will keep you motivated and keep you going automatically. When it comes to your health, it's not always so easy to measure the results. Of course, you can monitor your weight or count how often you exercise. However, this alone does not give you comprehensive information about your health status.

For example, if you want to lose weight, lose some fat and boost your metabolism, you might start with strength training. After a while you are frustrated because the scale still doesn't show less (because you are not only losing fat but also building muscle), but you already feel a lot better. Blood glucose monitoring can be a great tool to help you measure and visualize these and other positive changes. You can see in real time how your new habits around sleep, exercise, diet and stress management are directly affecting your metabolism and health. This can help you stay on track and automatically improve your lifestyle. 

80% of Hello Inside users were able to easily improve their habits and adopt new, healthy habits in just a short time. All this just by using the app in combination with the CGM sensor for blood glucose monitoring. Are you ready to get started? 

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