The Power of the Sweet Potato Fry

Above is Charles Duhigg speaking about the Power of Habit.  I read his book this summer and was fascinated.  It reminded me of a couple habits of my own.

Below is one that I have yet to conquer….my sweet potato fry habit….Mmmmmm. Uggghhhhh.


Yes that is the experience I have each time I come to the Trident Booksellers Cafe.  Duhigg talks about the chain reaction between cues and rewards.  For me the cue comes when I think about coming here.  It’s a given….a basket of sweet potato fries is happening…no question.  I plan it all out in my head.  Sometimes I will have a debate…”I’ll just have tea do some reading writing and research.  NO Fries today, thank you.”  I get there, sit on a stool and


I automatically order a basket without even thinking twice.

The yummy fries come with their dipping sauce.  Me,  gluten free healthy health coach chick, chooses not to ask the question “Do you coat the fries in flour?”  Because let’s be honest….they are fries….by definition they are not healthy AT ALL and it doesn’t matter that you call them sweet potato either.

I know in my head they will not make me feel well but the intended reward is that for a brief period of time I get to enjoy their yummy taste and the possibility of being a “normal” person who doesn’t think about health and wellness all the time.  That is until I realize that yes I have every right to eat unhealthy food and in exchange I also get the consequences of such.

Duhigg speaks a lot about willpower and it’s role in habit change.  I find this to be quite refreshing as often times willpower gets a bad rap.  Willpower to me is connected to the concept of being resilient; being able to move through challenges with some sense of ease.  Generally speaking when I am given the option these days between food that is very healthy and food that is definitely not, I will almost always go for the healthy food. That is due to a lifestyle change that has been connected to my own self care.  The known outcome of unhealthy food is enough to stave off any cravings if they actually exist (which often they do not.) Developing will power and the ability to move through life’s challenges without becoming emotionally reactive is key to developing healthy habits as well as the ability to let go of those pesky unhealthy ones ke my penchant for sweet potato fries.

In our chat You Are Stronger Than You Think we discussed how we all are a long stronger than we give ourselves credit for.  It is the lack of acknowledgement of our own innate ability to be resilient that leads us back to habits that we know are not healthy for us.

We ALL have the capacity for change.  There is no question about that.  I know what you are thinking…

Well then, why are some people successful at making changes and other people are not?

While I believe that EVERYONE is capable of making changes,  it seems that people who are successful at reaching goals are those that possess the belief that it is possible to change and the willingness to continue heading down that path no matter what.  I feel without the willingness to let go of the firm grip we can have on the known,  we will not have a chance at moving towards our goal which is presently the unknown.  We have to be willing to release what no longer serves us to make room for what does.  If we continue to keep up with the old habits and worn out limiting beliefs then change has to room to flourish.  Walking our talk is very important.  Saying you want to break up with a relationship that causes you pain but keeping it around “because” will give you…

The same ole, same ole

So for my sweet potato fry habit….will I be changing it anytime soon?  Maybe.  I’m not sure.  I know that, like everything in life it has it’s time and place.  We become ready to let go of old worn out behaviors when they no longer serve a purpose in our lives.  There will be a time when I will have moved on from this habit and much like any “bad” habit, I will look back and smile thinking about things that I liked about it as well as things I didn’t.  I often miss my old ways; all the baking I used to do and sugar I consumed.  While my old ways contributed to me feeling sick, they also helped me in other ways.  I bet your “bad” habits do the same.  This is why it is so hard to say goodbye

For now, I will stick to focusing on the bigger changes in my life that feel SO MUCH SCARIER than the sweet potato fries and know in time…my friend….you will be a part of the past as well

Cheers to continuing to move forward down the path of change!!

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