logo for vegan-weight-loss.com

LEFT for vegan-weight-loss.com

How To Break Bad Habits:
Are You Ready To Improve Your Life?

Even some long time vegans want to learn how to break bad habits. Our vegan weight loss plan works....but only if you actually follow it! If you are overweight, you probably have some bad eating habits. But sometimes other bad habits, like alcohol or drug use, affect your motivation to eat right. There is a plan that can help.

We recommend a six-stage program that helps many people break bad habits. A team of psychologists did more than fifty studies on thousands of people. Some of the people made lifestyle changes by themselves and others got professional help. All who succeeded followed a similar path to success. The psychologists explained this path in a wonderful book.

Changing For Good

Changing For Good

The book, Changing for Good by James O. Prochaska, Ph.D., is highly regarded in the health community. We learned about it from a friend who ran the wellness program for a hospital in West Virginia.

The book describes in detail how to break bad habits. There are six stages that successful people go through. To use the program:

  • You figure out which stage you are in right now.

  • You use the right processes and techniques for that stage.

  • You gradually move to the next stage.

  • If you relapse, you return to a previous stage.
We will give you a short summary of the six stages, but we urge you to read the entire book for the exact details on how to break bad habits. The information in it is well-tested and very helpful.

Stage 1: Precontemplation

People in this stage don't want to know how to break bad habits. They don't want to change. A good example is people who say "I could never give up my meat". They may be fifty pounds overweight and have high cholesterol, but they don't care. They would rather have bypass surgery or chemotherapy than quit eating meat.

Vegans can also be precontemplaters. Are you an overweight or sick vegan? Do you tell people you are a vegan only for animal rights reasons? You may be in the precontemplation stage.

Stage 2: Contemplation

Contemplators realize they have a problem and are interested in information about it. They watch television specials about obesity. They read news articles about nutrition. They look at weight loss diets on the internet. They are not ready to take action yet. They are just gathering information. Some people are stuck in this stage for months or years.

If you found this website, you are probably in this stage. Make a list of the pros and cons of changing to a low fat vegan diet.

Some pros might be:
  • Losing weight

  • Feeling better

  • Spending less money in restaurants

  • Helping animals

  • Helping the planet
Cons could be:
  • Giving up some of your favorite foods

  • Learning new cooking techniques (this might be a pro for some people)

  • Cooking more at home (another pro?)

  • It will be harder to socialize with people
Decide whether the pros are important enough to you to overcome the cons. 
Sometimes it takes an emotional arousal to move through the contemplation stage. Rent the movie "Super Size Me" and see if it motivates you to act. It may trigger a strong desire to learn how to break bad habits.

Stage 3: Preparation

In this stage, people make definite plans to change within a month or less. You may buy a vegan cookbook or search for recipes online. You might experiment with a few vegan meals that have a low calorie density. You may buy a flax grinder, a rice cooker, some vitamin B12, or a pedometer.

Record your plans. Be specific. In a notebook, write down your new behavior as if you have already mastered it:
  • "I always eat breakfast."

  • "I take my lunch to work every day."

  • "I avoid food cooked with oil."

  • "I eat a big salad every night with dinner."

  • "I walk 10,000 steps every day."
Tell your family and friends that you will be changing your diet and lifestyle to lose weight and be healthy. The preparation stage is important for success in breaking bad habits. Lifestyle change should not be a spur of the moment decision. 

Stage 4: Action

This is the stage where all of that planning pays off: you put your plans into action. You know how to break bad habits. Now you just have to do it. You cook oatmeal for breakfast. You take your lunch to work. You go for a walk when you get home from work.

This stage is an exciting time. If you follow your plan carefully, you begin to see results. The results make you more excited about following your plan.

It is important to be consistent during the early part of the action stage. It takes 21 days to change a habit, so avoid making exceptions during the first three weeks. You want to establish new habits, and you want to change your tastes. If you take little nibbles of unhealthy foods, you will never lose your taste for them.

Stage 5: Maintenance

In the maintenance stage, you work on maintaining your new diet. This is not as exciting as the action stage. Your family and friends no longer praise you or comment on your success. They take it for granted that you now have a new habit and they go on with their lives.

But you still have remnants of the old habit pathways in your brain, so you must continue to be vigilant, even though everyone else ignores your efforts. The maintenance phase may last for months or even years, depending on how powerful the old habit was in your life.

Once people have some success, they may relax a little. They know how to break bad habits but they lose their focus. If your bad habit is using crystal meth or alcohol, a brief relapse could totally destroy what you have worked for. If your bad habit is eating toast and peanut butter, you can probably do it once in a while without causing too much harm.

Stage 6: Termination

As you learn how to break bad habits, the termination stage is your goal. When you reach this stage, you new habit is a firm part of your life and you love it. You have no interest in the old habit and it may even disgust you to think about it. 

We have been vegans since the early eighties, and we are firmly in the termination stage. When we look back at our old habits and lifestyle, we are amazed at how far we have come. At home, we eat simple low fat meals. When we travel, we splurge a little and eat in vegetarian restaurants. We are trim and healthy, and you can be too!

Drug and alcohol addictions

We are not trained to help people with substance abuse problems. If you have these addictions, consider getting professional help. The information in the book Changing for Good is excellent, but you may need some help with it. We wish you the very best of luck.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave us a comment in the box below.

footer for vegan weight loss page