Change Is In the Air…and the Cupboards

September 9, 2009 | By | Comments (1)

Oil_300 My husband has always been one of those people blessed with a very, very fast metabolism, as well as someone who never really lost track of his own internal hunger/satiety gauge. What this all means for him is that he pretty much eats what he wants, in whatever amounts he wants, whenever he wants. No denial, no guilt, no crazed binges, no stress or worrying. In short, he eats normally. Some days healthier than others, but overall it's a balanced diet guided by appetite, basic nutrition principles, and the whims of his palate. (Granted, it's palate that DOES tend to lean towards red meat, pizza, and chocolate chip cookies, but also includes plenty of lean protein, fresh veggies, and fruits, too.)

But he recently got back some blood test results indicating his cholesterol is actually on the high side, and for the first time in his life, he needs to really think before he scarfs a third slice of pizza or orders the beef sauce on his pasta; he needs to read labels more carefully; he needs to educate himself on good fats/bad fats, on saturated fats and cholesterol; he just generally needs to add an extra layer of thought to what goes into his body on a daily basis.

While it shouldn't be all that hard for him to make some subtle, yet consistent changes to his diet and see how they affect his cholesterol, even this level of change is significant and got me to thinking about how changing any health habit—be it diet, exercise or something mental-health related—is simply a tough proposition and just takes some time and diligence. Heck, any change can be tough…since we are such creatures of habit and comfort.

In fact, most experts say it takes about 30 days to develop a new habit, so (after some initial education on the best ways to lower your cholesterol with dietary change) within a month, I imagine my husband will be reaching for the oatmeal and making low-cholesterol food choices without even thinking too much about it. I am sure he'll still miss those very frequent black-and-white cookies, though. (And I'll miss stealing bites!)

What habit have you had to change recently, and how hard was it? How long until the change became second-nature?