Change a habit. Change your health.

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Change a habit. Change your health.

Transcript Of Change a habit. Change your health.

Change a habit. Change your health.

Presented by the Pinellas County Employee Wellness Program Fall 2019

for life

Session 1........................................................................................ 1 Session 2...................................................................................... 13 Session 3...................................................................................... 25 Session 4...................................................................................... 33 Appendix...................................................................................... 43


Change a habit. Change your health.

Have you ever tried to change a habit? We all seek to improve something in our lives especially when it comes to healthy behavior: a better diet, exercise, lowering blood pressure and/or cholesterol, or losing weight. But wanting to change behavior is much easier than actually making that change for the long haul.

Let’s start by watching this clip on starting new habits. There are some similarities between our 30-Day Tune-Up and the presenter’s concepts, but it’s a great overview of the idea behind successful habit change.

TED2011 Video “Try Something New for 30 Days,” Matt Cutts

The first thing to point out is that the speaker approaches trying new behavior for only 30 days as one way to make them achievable. Although this class also has a 30-day time frame, our intent is to implement or change habits for the long term. The 30 days is simply our time together to learn how to make healthier choices that are so simple and attainable, we’ll be able incorporate them into daily life permanently.

Did you notice the size of the speaker’s goals? His first goal, which was simply to take one picture a day for 30 days, is extremely easy for him. It doesn’t make him anxious or overwhelm him. This is the concept of the mini-habit. The small behavior kept him consistent and eventually evolved into something bigger.

Small, consistent action helped the presenter feel successful and built his confidence.

But he takes a different approach to cutting out sugar. Instead of small changes, Matt completely removes sugar from his diet for 30 days. That’s a pretty extreme, unsustainable goal.

We often use traditional strategies that focus on the wrong thing—the end result instead of the daily actions that stand between us and the ultimate goal. We also rely on willpower and motivation, which, sooner or later, waiver.

Have you ever tried a major overhaul of your diet? Maybe you took away carbs entirely.

Or maybe you went from never exercising to 5 days per week. This type of approach is Meet Mini, a mini-

the traditional way many of us have tried to change, only to fail. Not only is the change robot who’ll give

too big, but there’s this idea of taking something away. What happens when we take you helpful tips

something away? We focus on the lack and want it even more. Willpower and motivation throughout the

will get us only so far, and when they run out, we revert back to old habits.

series. Hi Mini!

Another habit trap is tying habits to specific dates or events, like losing weight for a wedding or a vacation. As soon as we hit that date, it’s almost a sigh of relief that we don’t have to “do that anymore” and revert back to old habits.

So how long does it take to successfully and permanently incorporate a habit into daily life? There’s a lot of different research but mainly it depends on the person and how big or complex the habit is. What have you heard? 7 days? 21? 90? It’s all over the map. Here’s the reality—the bigger the habit, the longer it takes (and the larger the likelihood of failure).

If we want to be a rich/thin/healthy/organized people, we need to have habits
that rich/thin/healthy/organized people have.

What if we change our thinking about habits? What would happen if we trained our brains to approach healthy changes in a way that focuses on seemingly insignificant behaviors that over time create exponentially big results?
Over time, mini-habits amount to huge outcomes. Think about saving money. If you automatically contributed $25 every pay period to your deferred compensation plan (457(b)), over ten or 20 years, that small deposit can amount to thousands of dollars in savings.

What’s a Mini-Habit?
A mini-habit is really, really easy.

For example, instead of saying “I’m going to eat more vegetables,” a mini-habit

might be, “I will eat one piece of broccoli with dinner.” This might seem insignificant

and almost laughable, but you’ll know it’s a mini-habit when the gut reaction is “I

can do that!” and you don’t rely on willpower or motivation. Negative emotion, dread

and excuses go away because we know we can do it.

You’re in charge of what your habits are and when to complete them. You, the boss, dictate whether the mini-habit is one piece of broccoli or a whole serving. The boss picks when to eat it. Whether you eat it with dinner, or you hate rigid schedules and plan to complete it anytime that during the day, is up to you (but you’re going to want to identify

A mini-habit is one that’s named after ME, of course!

this at the beginning). These are called cues, which we’ll discuss in more detail a bit later.

Consistency is key.

In order for mini-habits to become ingrained into our regular behavior, they must be performed over and over and over regularly and consistently. This cannot be overstated.

You decide when you want to overachieve and when you don’t.

Eating one piece of broccoli is small but attainable. More often than not, if we are already doing something really easy, we’re more likely to do more than we planned to. In this example, if you have broccoli on your plate and only need to eat one to complete your daily goal, you’re more likely to eat another bite because the broccoli is already on your plate and there’s no pressure to eat more. You win whether you eat one and, earned a bonus if you eat more.


New Preferences/Cravings
If eating 4 servings of vegetables is distasteful, over time brains can actually change preferences/ cravings. If you’re a soda addict now and drink a glass of water between each soda, you may start to notice a reward associated with the new mini-habit: where soda zaps energy, water doesn’t. This creates a water craving that will motivate you to keep your habit going.
The 30 Day Tune Up applies the mini-habit strategies to a variety of healthy actions: the DASH diet, checking blood pressure weekly, eating healthy but tasty food, physical activity and stress management. Although we’ll be learning and using the strategy to eat better, mini-habits work in any situation: quitting smoking, flossing your teeth, breaking up with a $6 daily Starbucks run, sticking to a budget, writing a book, etc.

What’s the DASH diet and why did we choose it for the 30-Day Tune-Up?

DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) is not the latest and greatest fad diet. It’s a universal menu plan that gives us a framework for eating that one piece of broccoli. Study after study has scientifically proven DASH to effectively lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The eating plan is rooted in good nutrition principles and is now recommended for everyone as part of a healthy lifestyle, even those with normal blood pressure and cholesterol.


About 75 million American adults (29%) have high blood pressure—that's 1 in every 3. Anyone, including children, can develop high blood pressure. It greatly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death in the United States. (CDC)

Pinellas County Statistics & Financial Impact

Based on the County’s annual health review, year after year the most common conditions in our population are hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol).
Diabetes is of note because it puts people at a much higher risk for heart disease. Case in point, 40% of our employees with heart disease also have diabetes. Think about the health and quality of life for those employees and their families. How many of you know someone that has some form of heart disease? Almost everyone is touched by it.

Healthy Diet

The DASH menu is low in sodium, includes a variety of foods that are prepared in a healthy way, and contain nutrients that help lower blood pressure, including a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. DASH limits foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat and added sugar. This may seem awfully boring, but we’ll show you this is not a bland and boring diet.
Sound familiar? That’s because you’ve probably heard that eating this way is the most effective way to get or stay healthy.


6 - 8- w~~• :seniings per day



4 - 5 5e,vlng5 per di!Y
of vegetables


• 4 5 serving, per week of
nuts, seeds, 111!9-umes
Lnsthan6 $erving$ per d11y of
lean meat, poultty. fish

4-5 ·- - - - seniings per day
of fruits

"----- -- LH,1hlln 5
set"vings per w,eelc. of sweets

2 - 3 servings. per day of
fat-free or low-fat dairy

2 - 3 Ningi.p r d y
ot fats and oils

Tracking Blood Pressure
Why are we tracking blood pressure? Regularly checking blood pressure is a great example of a minihabit. Research shows that those who take their blood pressure regularly are more likely to maintain good levels or reduce it if necessary. The mini-habit strategy focuses on the daily action rather than the final number.
You’ll be taking your own blood pressure and jotting it down in the blood pressure log on page 9. If you prefer to keep track on your phone, there are many free apps.


Blood Pressure Categories
Blood Pressure Category Normal Elevated High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 1

Systolic mm Hg (upper number) Less than 120
120 – 129

and/or and and

Diastolic mm Hg (lower number)
Less than 80
Less than 80

130 – 139


80 – 89

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 2

140 or higher


90 or higher

Hypertensive Crisis (consult your doctor immediately)
American Heart Association, American Stroke Association

Higher than 180 and/or Higher than 120

30-Day Tune-Up Starts Now!
Let’s start now! To set up our mini-habits, we’re first going to identify where we want to start. Rate your plate and your pace.
Think carefully about your daily meals. How does your average “plate” measure up? Use the serving guidelines on the DASH chart and answer the quiz questions.

DO YOU: Eat at least 1½ - 2 cups of fruit per day?



Limit the amount of fats, oils, sweets, and salt in your diet?

Eat 2 – 3 cups of vegetables per day?
Consume 2 – 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat dairy products per day? Choose whole grains at least half of the time? Eat legumes, seeds, and nuts 4 – 5 times per week? Choose lean proteins (skinless poultry, fish, lean beef & pork) most of the time? Exercise 3-5 times per week? Stay physically active? (including lower intensity exercise like dancing, gardening, etc.)


If you answered “yes” to any of the Rate Your Plate and Pace questions, then you are already on the right track for that food group and/or physical activity. Way to go and keep up the good work! If you answered “no” to any one of the sections, choose two areas of potential improvement. Two Big Goals Based on your answers, write two big goals on the left-hand side of the Mini-Habit Set Up chart. Examples:
• Eat more whole grains • Drink water • Do cardio • Try nuts and seeds Mini-Habits Set-Up Chart
_ Big G_ oals I I_ _Mi_ ni-H_ abi_ ts _____.I _I_ Cues ________
1. ______________ D
2. ______________ D
3. ______________ D
4. ______________ D

Next, let’s break this down into mini-habits. You can choose up to 4 mini-habits and enter them in the blue box. These are just ideas, feel free to make up your own as long as they’re simple enough to accomplish without feeling stressed. Choosing 1 is just fine, you’re the boss of your habits! More than 4 get too overwhelming.

Mini-habit ideas:  Drink a glass of
water.  Eat a green veggie.  Park in the back of
the parking lot.  Do one push up.

Blood PressureChangeHabitHabitsDiet