The Path to Gold 002 | Habits, Society, & Science

The first installment in The Path to Gold Series! Join Chauntae Gold as she dives into the term "habit" and how it has become the new buzz word throughout the fitness industry, where our health as a society is heading, and the science on how poor habits are formed.

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Chauntae Gold (00:00):

Hi everybody. It's Chauntae Gold here also known as the path to gold on Instagram. Thank you so much for tuning in and listening. As I talk about one of my passions, which is applied behavior analysis within the health and fitness space.

Chauntae Gold (00:26):

Now, if you are active on Instagram, which I'm sure most of you are, and you follow a lot of health and fitness accounts, you might have noticed a trend going on within the health and fitness space. And that's a lot of experts talking about habit formation and longterm behavior change. And it's definitely very interesting seeing this going on because it's almost become like a buzz word in a way. Cause I really don't feel like most of the people who are talking about permanent behavior change know exactly how to apply it in a practical way for a variety of individuals. And this is coming from somebody who has been coached and trained by a lot of different fitness experts. And I myself have seen a lot of the missing gaps that are needed within these spaces. So there's a lot of opportunity for us as behavior analysts to enter this space and collaborate with health and fitness professionals to help create longterm sustainable results.

Chauntae Gold (01:29):

Because the reality of the situation is as a society we're not doing really well. In fact, we were headed in a very dangerous direction in terms of obesity. We are in a current epidemic and I'll dive into that just a little bit, but that in itself is a red flag that, you know, the current coaching and, uh, diets and exercise programs that are out there are failing a lot of people, not all of them, obviously I, I, you know, a lot of coaches and trainers have experienced success with their clients and promoting and sustaining longterm changes for a lot of people. However, there's also a large amount of people who aren't getting access to these same rewards and these same permanent behavior and lifestyle changes that, you know, everybody else on social media seems to be getting. So that is definitely something interesting that I feel like we can definitely help in.

Chauntae Gold (02:33):

Now, before I get into some facts and statistics about the obesity epidemic that we're currently in, I want to preface this by saying that I am not a fan or I do not agree with the method of using fear as a motivation to get people to change. And if you follow me long enough, you know, that I have a lot of issues with current fad diets or, you know, marketing schemes out there that use fear to get people to change. So just, you know, know that this is not why I'm sharing this information. The information that I'm sharing now is just as, um, you know, I it's, it's just as like a favor, I feel like all of us need to be aware of where we are heading as a society, because I think just being aware can create maybe a different perspective on, you know, our own lives and the lives of the people that we love around us and in a perfect world, I would love to be in a society where we help each other, you know, make better decisions and encourage each other because that's not just about you or I as individuals, it's about, you know, helping the people around us that we love live longer and healthier lives.

Chauntae Gold (03:48):

So, so yeah, that's, uh, I, I, I want to preface that before I go into this information about the obesity epidemic. So about 30 years ago, back in 1990, only 15% of the population in most States were obese and now obesity exceeds 35% in nine States, 30% in 31 States and 25% in 48 States. Now, California, I'm going to use as an example because I am from California. So in California lands on, uh, you know, uh, the 29 is it's number 29. And back in 1990, we were at 9%. And now we are currently at 18.7%. So 18.7% of the population is currently obese. And West Virginia is in the lead at number one back in 1990, the obesity population was at 15% and now they are almost 40%. So as you can see, we're definitely in a rapid increase also sadly one out of six children and adolescents between the ages of two and 19 are overweight and obese.

Chauntae Gold (05:01):

And that's scary because you know, children and adolescents, they're, they're at risk for living with health conditions for the rest of their lives. If they don't get habits under control at an early age. And so I want to talk about why obesity is, is not good thing. You know, it's not just about obesity itself. It's about the health risks that are associated with obesity. So obviously type two diabetes, heart disease, stroke, uh, high rates of infertility and not to mention the extremely high annual costs of medical bills. All of those things together are drastically decreases your overall quality of life and those around you. 'Cause at the end of the day, it's again, like I said before, it's not just us, we're directly affecting the people around us. And the burden does often fall on our loved ones who have to take care of us.

Chauntae Gold (06:00):

So again, this is just information that I wanted to share, because this is again where, where society is heading. We are adopting lifestyle habits that are, that are killing us. We're not adopting life style habits that are helping us thrive in life. So with that being said, I want to talk about the first habit that I think all of us need to get rid of. And I have this written on my website on And that is the habits of the idea or expectation that permanent behavior change is fast and that we deserve immediate and fast results. I think that kind of mentality and that kind of expectation is extremely dangerous, especially when we enter, you know, a new exercise or diet program. And we think that, you know, this is going to be easy. You know, we're going to get results fast.

Chauntae Gold (07:02):

And I guess you can partly blame, uh, social media and marketing, you know, for, for making people believe that because they're, like I said earlier, there are definitely people out there who don't have people's best interests and who just want your money and we'll promise you those fast results. So they give you a cookie cutter diet and exercise plan. And, you know, you might experience those fast results at first, but as you know, life continues, then you start to realize that, you know what, this isn't sustainable and I'm going to go back to what I know. And so I think the first habit that all of us need to, to just completely get rid of is the idea that lifestyle changes is going to be easy and it's going to be immediate. So before I go any further, let's go ahead and define what exactly a habit is.

Chauntae Gold (07:55):

I've already used this word a ton of times. And as I said before, this word is commonly used within the health and fitness space. So let's clearly define what that means. Now, a habit is an automatic response to the same situation. It's a repeated behavior that happens over and over and over and often it's mindless and effortless, and there's certain contingencies that surround this behavior. Um, now I'm going to use hopefully a really common example. This is a habit that I do at least probably 10 to 15 times a day, but I, sometimes I go in my phone with the intention of doing something important. And then 10 minutes later, I'm on Instagram. And I'm like, how did I get here? I don't even remember doing that. I hope most of you can relate to that. If not, I'm embarrassed to even said that. Let's talk about how that even happens, right?

Chauntae Gold (08:56):

So there's like I said, there's usually contingencies surrounding a certain behavior. So in behavior analysis, we talk about an antecedent, a behavior and a consequence in layman's terms. That means a cue, a behavior and a reward that follows that behavior. And usually that reward is what keeps the behavior happening over and over and over. So with the Instagram story, for example, not the Instagram story, but for Instagram, for example, you open your phone. The cue is the little Instagram icon. The behavior is you clicking on the icon and the reward is being entertained by pretty pictures on Instagram. And the more times that you repeat that, the more times that you will probably do that because it, like I said before, it's effortless and it's instantly gratifying, right? So in terms of diet, you're going to apply the same concepts to food in your home.

Chauntae Gold (10:00):

I'm going to pick an easy example. So like cookies or chips, uh, let's just say you have cooked. Let's just say cookies. Let's say you have cookies in your cupboard. You're sitting at home, you're doing work. You're hungry or better yet. You're bored. Cause I'm sure most of us are bored with being quarantined for the past two months. Now you go to your cabinet, you open it, bam. You know the cookies are there saying, eat me. You go grab a cookie. And what happens when you eat that cookie, you are instantly satisfied either whatever you were feeling in that moment, maybe you were hungry. So you are instantly rewarded by tasting the delicious tastes of that cookie, or maybe you're stressed. And it provided you with a little bit of relief either way, you know, that that behavior, that action made you feel really good.

Chauntae Gold (10:54):

So the chances that you repeat that again in the future are really, really high. Now that is also a big reason why habits are so hard to break because like I said, it's effortless and the rewards are immediate. And then when you throw in other factors, like lack of sleep, dehydration, stress, you name it, then that will definitely influence your, your decisions and to gravitating towards things that are going to make you feel good or things that are going to, you know, relieve you from everything that you've been experiencing throughout the day. So this is where I think a lot of people get stuck, right, is, you know, their history of reinforcement, their past history of behaviors have, has worked for them up until this point, right? They know that. Not know, but they are pretty much guaranteed that if they act and make this decision that that requires not even thinking about it, just doing that.

Chauntae Gold (11:59):

They're going to constantly be rewarded and relieved. So when it comes to making better choices, you're almost fighting against your natural urges of what you, what you've learned, what you've been experiencing all of these years and with, you know, change comes intention and awareness, truly trying to make the right decisions in that very moment. Like you're no longer just mindlessly acting based on, you know, how you're feeling in that moment. You have to stop and really think, okay, you know, I have to, you know, I'm not going to eat the cookie this time. I'm going to eat the Apple or the veggies. And that in itself, you know, is not very satisfying at first, that's a lot of work, but it is not impossible to make better choices on a day to day basis. There are definitely tools and strategies that anybody can utilize in their day to day lifestyle to help them, you know, make better permanent decisions. So that is where I'm going to end this. And next time that I come on here, maybe I'll talk about how to establish healthy lifestyle habits. And how to make the environment work for you? Thank you so much for tuning in this was so much fun. I will talk to you guys next time.


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