Does it really take 66 days to build a healthy habit? Will there be a time we gain enough self-control or willpower to always eat nutritiously and exercise?
My podcast guest turns everything we thought we know about healthy behavior change on its head. Not only that, but she also has the research to support it. And a new book.
Michelle Segar, PhD, is an award-winning, NIH-funded researcher at the University of Michigan with almost thirty years studying how to help people adopt healthy behaviors in ways that can survive the complexity and unpredictability of the real world.
Her new book, The Joy Choice: How to Finally Achieve Lasting Changes in Eating and Exercise, helps people make the mindset change they need to build and maintain healthy behaviors.
“The way we’ve been taught to approach dietary change and exercise is you do it right or you don’t do it at all,” she said during our interview. And this sets us up for failure because life always has other plans.
Her process is based on the emerging research on executive function along with decades of research showing what really motivates us to engage in healthy behaviors.
It’s about all those “choice points” and learning to make the perfect, imperfect decision that allows you do something instead of nothing. And most importantly, keep you moving forward instead of feeling defeated.
Highlights from the Show
- How The Joy Choice is different from her first book, No Sweat, which expands on her original concept of turning exercise from a chore to a gift.
- How her coaching clients inspired her to dig deeper for solutions after they made great plans, but life always got in the way.
- How “all or nothing” thinking really harms our chances of success and how to better deal with what she calls “choice points.”
- What a motivation bubble is and why it typically pops and leaves people feeling defeated (think New Year’s Resolutions)
- The limitations of relying on habit formation using the habit loop (cue, behavior, and reward) when it comes to eating and exercise. And what people can do instead
- How internal and psychological conflicts get in the way especially for women and how The Joy Choice can finally set them free.
- The core TRAPS people have at choice points and how awareness can melt them away.
- How a weight-loss focus gets the way of creating lasting change and what people can do to avoid this.
- The three primary executive functions and how they relate to successful behavior change.
- How Michelle uses the acronym “POP” in her book and with clients to make better decisions during critical choice points.
- The importance of mindset and choosing the best “why” for you. “When your reason becomes about nurturing yourself, you want that behavior,” she said.
- How to get her FREE workbook and access to her live book club session!
We’ve got to have something that’s really easy but solidly based on science to help people successfully navigate these challenges that unexpectedly arise to what we plan and hope to do with our healthy eating and exercise. And I call these challenges choice points – Michelle Segar
Take the quiz to find out what really gets in your way!
Pre-order her book and be a part of her live four-hour book club session and FREE workbook
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