How To Break
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
lifestyle changes by themselves and others got professional help. All
succeeded followed a similar path to success. The psychologists
explained this path in a wonderful book.
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
six stages that successful people go through. To use
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.
- 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
- If you relapse, you return to a previous stage.
Stage 1: Precontemplation
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
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.
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
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.
Cons could be:
- Feeling better
- Spending less money in restaurants
- Helping animals
- Helping the planet
Decide whether the pros are important enough to you to overcome the
- 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
Sometimes it takes an emotional arousal to move through the
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
this stage, people make definite plans to change within a
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
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
- "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."
Stage 4: Action
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
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
the maintenance stage, you work on maintaining your new diet.
This is not as exciting as the action stage. Your family and friends no
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.
you still have remnants of the old habit pathways in your brain, so you
continue to be vigilant, even though everyone else ignores your
The maintenance phase may last for months or even years, depending on
how powerful the old habit was in your life.
have some success, they may relax a little. They know
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
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.