We all want to build healthy habits into our lives. But how do you do it?
I recently spoke with Albany resident Elizabeth Sherman, who is a life and weight loss coach. We spoke about building healthy habits and also dove into part of Elizabeth's story. Here is a summary of our conversation.
Can you take us back to that point where you were in how that impacted you?
Yes, I was actually in corporate America, I was an executive for a software company. And I was doing a just a ton of travel. My mom had been in remission for breast cancer for about five years. I was doing a just a ton of traveling at that point. And seeing her battle breast cancer, the disease and seeing the disease, like really just deteriorate her body. And just her spirit really made me fear it enough that when she did pass away, it was a wake up call for me like how do I prevent myself from getting this disease. And so I started doing a ton of research. And previously, a few years before I had decided that I was gonna start going to the gym. And you know, like most of us, I was really not consistent in my habit, I had decided that at one point that I was going to be a vegetarian because I was traveling, and I didn't want to gain any more weight than I already had. And being vegetarian was like the only way that I knew to kind of limit our maybe add vegetables, it was the thing that I knew that I should do. And so I was already taking some steps towards having a better health. But once she had passed away, and I started researching, you know, what, how can I not get breast cancer? That's when I found out how much being overweight is a huge risk factor for all sorts of diseases, not just cancer, but also heart disease and diabetes and other terminal diseases. And so that was really yeah, the wake up call that I had where I decided to pursue this more seriously.
What is your view of habits, specifically making lasting habits?
My exercise habit didn't actually click until I ran a half marathon. I had actually been a bodybuilder before that I had competed in a bodybuilding competition, just around the time that I had switched careers. And even after that, I wasn't consistent in my exercise habit. But once I did my half marathon, it was funny, I remember crossing the finish line. And all of a sudden, I felt this rush of emotion, and I even cried, because it was like, Oh, now I feel this accomplishment. And now I feel like I'm an athlete. And what happened, I think in that moment is that my identity shifted. And I identified myself as an athlete. And from that point forward, my exercise habit just became really consistent. Now, my eating habit was still I was still kind of struggling with that I was still doing a lot of what we call fake foods. So like I would go out and buy protein bars that tasted pretty much like candy bars.
And here's a pro tip for everyone that if it tastes like a candy bar: it probably is a candy bar. And you can wrap it up and call it a protein bar. You can call it healthy. But you know, quite honestly, if you know marketed as this great tasting thing. Food manufacturers really just want to sell their product. There's this thing called the health halo. And that is that if you make something like healthier cookies, or healthier brownies or something like that, that you will eat more, because you think it's healthy. That was a trap that I was still getting into that I just kept playing playing these mind tricks with myself that because it was healthy, I could eat as much as I wanted. And that's actually not the case they still have calories, right?
IHow would somebody be able to work on changing their identity then to be able to create this base, then to be able to make these changes in their habits?
Really good question. And unfortunately, it's really difficult to answer. So that's okay, you got two minutes. You know, going back down to the beliefs, within coaching, we have something that we call limiting beliefs. And these are beliefs or thoughts that really get in the way of us succeeding in our goals. If you imagine the brain, we actually have what to different parts of our brain, right, we have the rational brain, the part that goes out and creates goals and creates a plan and decides what we're going to do next week, next month, a year from now, five years from now, whatever. And then we have the emotional or the lizard tight brain, which sits at the back of our skull, which then basically sabotages ourselves, right?
Interesting. I like the way that we're able to go down and be able to kind of get to the root of what's going on. And so I think that's a big key. And being able to do this, I really appreciate you chatting with me.