A two for one deal on new year’s health resolutions

hanging around on the couch causes more munchingHow you doing on that New Year’s Resolutions ….

“Eat less and move more”

By now, you’ve probably figured out, eating less AND moving more – is a lot like hard work.

If you’re looking to make the mammoth task a little easier, today’s post might just help.

Moving more is over rated

Sitting on the couch tends to get a lot of bad press, but love of the couch, is not causing obesity.

But love of biscuits and cookies, is.

And it is a whole lot easier to shovel biscuits into your mouth, when you’re sitting on the couch, with the remote control in your hand.

So if you want to stop eating that junk – turn off the TV and do something else. You don’t ACTUALLY have to run round the house three times, just resolve to sit in front of the TV a little less.

The two for one deal

Researchers from Northwestern Medicine, were the first to discover this powerful two for one deal.

Muster up enough will power to get up off the couch and without a huge amount of effort, you will stop eating quite a bit of junk. No agonizing. No speaking sternly to yourself.

Not hanging out on the couch, makes loading up a lot harder to do.

And it is human nature, not to do HARD stuff.

Easy behaviour makeovers

The Northwestern Medicine team made this profound discovery when they set about investigating the best way to “fix” unhealthy behaviours.

The study enrolled 204 patients who needed a lifestyle make over, the patients ranged in age from 21 to 60 years old.

To start with, the patients were divided into four groups and assigned a healthy behaviour.

The healthy behaviours included….

  • Increasing fruit/vegetable intake plus physical activity
  • Decreasing fat consumption and sedentary leisure
  • Decreasing fat consumption and increase physical activity
  • Increasing fruit/vegetable intake and decreasing sedentary leisure.

For the first three weeks, patients had to “report” on their behaviour every day using a mobile app. To help keep the participants motivated – successful participants were rewarded with a $ 175 bonus.

Now if I was paid $ 175 to eat broccoli and/or hit the gym three times a week, I could include it in my daily regimen. What about you ?

Rewarding good and bad habits

This is definitely the kind of study you want to volunteer for, the participants continued to get paid after the initial three week period – without any obligation to actually do the behaviour.

As long as they sent in data three days a month, for the next six months, they received $30 to $80 per month for their trouble.

The team were hoping the good behaviour installed in the first three weeks of the study, would STICK.

Some good behaviour DID STICK

The research team hoped something would STICK, but truth be told, they really only expected the good behaviour to happen when participants were paid to perform.

But, some good behaviour DID STICK.

People assigned to the combination of increasing fruit/vegetable intake and decreasing sedentary leisure, were most successful at adopting the improved behaviour.

The behaviour least likely to stick – more physical activity. OOPS.

Getting off the couch

So as you try to decide how to make 2013 a year of better body chemistry, think twice before signing up for a gym contract. Even if you go for the first three weeks in January, where will you be in six months time ?

Will you still be going ? The odds are stacked against you.

A more do-able goal, is to simply commit to get off the couch, even if it is just for an hour.

Make the commitment for at least three weeks, then do it – see how it feels. Hopefully it will stick, just a little. And as you deliberately spend time away from the couch, you’ll accidently find yourself eating fewer cookies too.

Win-win. The two for the price of one deal !

I can’t offer you money to get you off the couch, but if you make the commitment for just three weeks, really make the commitment. Less couch time, will create better body chemistry. And this small lifestyle change, can make a big difference to your health in the long run.

Need a little inspiration to improve your body chemistry ?

Enrol in our free e-course……

31 Days to Better Body Chemistry

Multiple Behavior Changes in Diet and ActivityA Randomized Controlled Trial Using Mobile TechnologyBehavior Changes in Diet and Activity. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2012; 172 (10): 789 . Kristin Schneider.

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Further reading

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Fitness runs in families – fit fathers begat fit kids You don’t need to be a goody-2-shoes to join the 100 club Ferreting out why you hate to exercise

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

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Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below

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