When starting the Keto Diet you will go through three Detoxing Phases;
- Detoxing Substances
- Detoxing Habits
- Detoxing Mindsets
Within this series, I will share with you what each phase looks like, why they are important, and how to get the most out of each phase.
In this blog, we will be discussing Detoxing Habits on a keto diet.
What does it mean to detox habits on a keto diet?
The fundamentals of detoxification are “the removal of a toxin from your body”, however, we also classify detoxing as “the removal of something unhealthy from your life”, so when we look at Detoxing Habits on a keto diet, we will look at detoxing those habits that are “unhealthy”.
Firstly, when detoxing Habits it’s important not to view them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ habits. When we do this, we can trigger our inner child that wants to rebel against being told what to do, or what is good or bad. Viewing habits as good or bad can also trigger our “failure” mentality; when we do a “bad” habit we feel we have failed and have not been good. So from now on, let’s refer to them as healthy and unhealthy habits.
The more consistent you are with healthy habits the closer you move towards the healthier you,and the less consistent you are the slower it will take. No path is better than the other, it all depends on your current life circumstances.
Secondly, it’s also important to state that there is a difference between an event and a habit. A habit is something that is repeated consistently over a period of time, where an event is a once off thing that can be replicated but it’s not repeated consistently. Having this view will help you to not throw all your effort of developing health habits out the window by giving up, but to see that the slip up was just an “event”, rather than a back slide.
Why is it important to detox habits on a keto diet?
It’s typically habits and thoughts that slip us back into old ways of living; substance cravings very rarely impact the longevity of transformation.
Most people would say to me “I felt like eating xyz and the temptation just grew too strong that I gave in”. This type of temptation is not driven by your body craving for a particular substance (eg. sugar), as substance cravings only last several days. – It is, however, driven by a habit that has triggered a thought, then that thought triggers a hormonal response which triggers an emotion and a bodily reaction of cravings.
What started this destructive pathway that then leads us to temptation?
It was a habit that has exposed you to this pathway.
So you can see, that if you start to change your unhealthy habits with healthy habits at the infancy stage of your keto diet, you can minimise future pathways to “slip up events” and potential relapsing.
Habits don’t just slip us up to revert us back to old ways, habits can also build a path to new ways.
My belief is that your body reflects your lifestyle and your lifestyle reflects your mindset. So the first step to changing your body is changing your lifestyle, and what is a lifestyle? It’s just a grouping of habits.
That’s why detoxing habits is important while on a keto diet, because it will prevent you from going back to old unhealthy ways, and will build new and healthier ways to live your life – dieting is not just about the food you eat, but the habits you form.
How can I detox habits on a keto diet? (Key Habit Hack)
Here are my 101’s regarding detoxification of unhealthy habits while on a keto diet:
- Identify potential unhealthy habits
- Replace or add on habits; don’t remove or create them.
- Strengthen your why.
Identify potential unhealthy habits
Identifying potential unhealthy habits means that you won’t get caught off guard by them and you can preemptively plan ahead on replacing them or dealing with them.
To do this, start off by thinking about your day. What are some habits that are part of your day that might be unhealthy or lead to something unhealthy? As they come to you, write them down.
Here are some examples.
- Preparing dinner > risk falling into the temptation of eating it.
- Preparing kid’s snacks > risk slipping up and grazing.
- Scrolling through your Facebook feed in boredom > dulls your engagement with reality, triggers emotional upset or triggers food cravings.
- Staff room morning tea time > potential risk of sweets being on the table.
- Afternoon snack time > a vulnerable time for sugar cravings.
- Watching TV at night > can lead to a desire to snack.
Once that’s done, think about your week.
- Staff or business meetings > unhealthy and limited food options.
- Friday night drinks with colleagues > negative comments, drinking alcohol, eating unhealthy food.
- Baking for family > end up eating it .
- Food shopping > end up buying unhealthy food or eating out.
- Weekend > drinking alcohol, eating unhealthy food.
- Saturday sports day > under prepared, busy, open to cravings or unhealthy food options.
Once that’s done, think about your month and upcoming events or sessions.
- Holidays, Birthday parties, special events > socialising, drinking alcohol, eating unhealthy food.
Now once you have a list of all these potential unhealthy habits that might pop up, we will work on replacing them.
It’s easier to replace habits rather than remove one or create a new one because you already have that mental trigger and practical space in your timetable to build upon.
For example, if you try to remember to meditate before bed, you can easily forget, however, if you add meditation as part of your morning coffee routine, then it’s easily remembered. Likewise, if you try to make a time to walk during the day, you might find it hard to remember or find the time at all, however, if you replace watching TV in the evening with walking, you already have the time allocated, and each time you go to sit down to watch TV your brain will trigger ‘I should walk’.
Below are some examples, however, this is something that you need to do yourself due to the fact that the key to habit success is that it needs to be mentally & physically easy. The easier it feels, the more successful you will be.
Side note: personally for me, my solution for everything is to walk or drink water lol.
Replacing: Old Habit > New Habit
- After dinner snack > Walking or hot tea.
- Snacking while preparing kid’s snacks > Prep all on one day to minimise temptation times.
- Snacking while preparing dinner > have your shake or keto snack while cooking dinner.
- Falling into temptations while baking for the family > bake keto suitable products or eat before baking.
- Buying junk food when out food shopping > drink shake while shopping or eat before going shopping/ shop on full tummy.
- Unhealthy treats while watching a movie > Hot tea, water, keto-friendly snacks or do a board game instead of a movie.
- Scrolling through your Facebook feed in boredom > start a creative hobby (colouring in, drawing ect).
- Weekend dinner parties > Swap for weekend adventure days.
- Eating wrong foods at dinner parties > bring keto alternatives or go on a full tummy and choose smaller keto options.
- Staff room morning tea > quick walking or stairs session.
Adding On: Current Habit > Add on Habit
- Having dinner > Walking after dinner.
- Morning coffee > Journaling.
- Lying in bed > Breathing.
- Shower > Finishing with a cold shower.
- Waking up > Deep breathing exercise.
Strengthen your why
Knowing your why is hands down one of the most important steps in keeping consistent as will power will only last so long, second to knowing it is writing it down and making it visible.
Without going too deep, ask yourself these two questions;
- Why are you making these changes?
- What is it you are hoping to obtain from making these changes?
You can create a dream board where you stick up heaps of pictures and motivating words based on the answers to the questions above, however, I often find most people are too busy for this and truthfully they often are not that powerful.
So here is what I do, it’s simple and effective:
Get a blank piece of paper, draw a line down the middle, on the left side write all the painful things you dislike about the way you and things are right now relating to this change in dot point form, on the right hand side write everything fruitful about who you will become and how your life will improve with this change in dot point form, then put it on your wall.
To me this is the most powerful piece of paper you will have on your wall.
It contains both painful reminders and hope filled reminders to motivate you no matter your mood. It’s a document that reminds you of what you are moving away from, and what you are moving towards.
Don’t neglect this.
Common mistakes when detoxing habits on a keto diet
The two most common mistakes I see when people try to detox habits are:
1. Trying too much at once
It takes a lot of discipline to only select a handful of habits to focus on; stay consistent with them to the point of it becoming an unconscious habit.
What typically takes place is we draw a line in the sand and say I am starting the new me, enter into it with an all or nothing mentality, try to change everything at once and then as a result we put too much pressure on ourselves and it all comes crashing down.
This is normal. It’s a mixture of excitement, desperation, black and white/ all or nothing mentality – it’s nothing to beat yourself up about, but it’s an unhealthy, unsuccessful and unhelpful strategy.
If this is you, my advice is a) select 2-3 core unhealthy habits to focus on b) resist with all your might to add anymore to your to-do list c) stick at the 2-3 until you’re doing them unconsciously and without effort (to the point of enjoying them), then d) choose 2-3 more to start adopting.
2. Expecting perfection
If I was to pick the greatest killer of success I would say it’s expecting perfection; expecting perfection from yourself, and expecting perfect results.
You need to give yourself permission to slip up, and you need to be ok with having less than perfect or expected results. Whenever setting a goal or having a plan, you need to factor in a buffer, where you can have a desire but also carry the maturity to be ok with progressing towards that desire rather than perfecting it.
I am not saying don’t get excited or carry a pessimistic view, but instead carry humility and know you can’t control every factor of life, and winning, even if it’s not perfection, is still winning.
Statistically, you will need to fail around four times before you learn. It’s called failing forward, because as adults we only learn through pain.
How long does it take to detox a habit?
Typically it’s said that it takes 21 days to adopt a new habit. However, when you follow our habit hack by either adding on a habit or replacing one, you can look at 7-14 days depending on the habit or person.
A sign that you have detoxed a habit is when it’s no longer your automatic go-to, when you don’t need extreme focus or effort to resist it. Likewise, a sign that you have adopted a habit is when it’s your automatic go-to, when you don’t need to focus or effort to do it