21 Days To Break a Habit?

When I was a kid, I read the magazine ‘American Girl’ religiously. Anyone else?

(I tried to find a photo, but I think I just gave my computer a virus…)

I’ll always remember one of the articles about how to break a bad habit. They talked a lot about how it takes 21 days to do so, which stuck in my mind. My bad habit at the time? Cracking my knuckles. I was determined to stop, and I gave myself 21 days to do it. It worked! I don’t remember how I broke the habit, but 21 days later, I was no longer a knuckle cracker. In fact, I can’t even crack my knuckles anymore. But I digress.

As of New Year’s Day, I have gone 21 days without binge eating- the longest stretch of time since I started binging in May of last year. It sounds like a short period of time- and it is- but for me, it feels like a huge accomplishment! Obviously, this doesn’t mean that I’ve completely broken this habit. Binge eating is a much larger problem than cracking knuckles, and it’s not something that’s ever going to completely ‘go away.’ And even though it’s only been 3 weeks, technically, I can say that I haven’t binged all year 🙂

Ironically, I found myself digging into a bag of cinnamon Cheerios today when I still hadn’t eaten lunch at 2:30. You know how they say you shouldn’t grocery shop when you’re hungry? Remember when I was asking for quick meal ideas I could bring when I don’t have time to make myself lunch? Uh, yeah, about that… I worked until 11:30 this morning, worked out after work, went grocery shopping, and then I had to wait until my sister got off work at 2:30 to pick me up. So why didn’t I pack a lunch? Don’t ask. (Spoiler alert- laziness!)

Anyway, I managed to limit myself to about a serving of the Cheerios (which are awesome, by the way.) Other eats for the day were the same breakfast I had yesterday, a pita pizza, the rest of my pumpkin kefir with more Cheerios, and the pumpkin-pudding-Vitatop creation I had yesterday. Not the healthiest day, but ordinarily almost skipping a meal would have sent me into a binge. Not today 🙂

No vegetables were eaten… until dinner!

Black Bean Burgers

(Adapted from The Daily Garnish)


  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder


  • Grind oats in food processor until chopped, but still slightly chunky.
  • Add carrots and process until chopped. Add 3/4 of the beans, yogurt and the spices, and process until mixed together.
  • Add mixture to a bowl and fold in the rest of the black beans.

  • Here comes the tricky part: I didn’t add pepitas like the original recipe calls for because I didn’t have them, so I think my mix was a little more moist than the original. Rather than shaping them into patties, I kind of just plopped the mix onto a aluminum-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake at 300 degrees for 40-50 minutes (mine had to bake for about 50.)


I’m going to freeze some of these and bring them to school on days I have to pack a lunch. I’ve never made my own burgers before, so this was exciting! It was really easy. I can’t believe I haven’t made these sooner!

For dinner, I roasted some broccoli and a whole sweet potato to serve along my burger. Tasty and filling… my favorite combination.

Have you overcome a bad habit? It can be a small problem or a serious one. I need to work on my cursing now…

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75 Responses to 21 Days To Break a Habit?

  1. Alaina says:

    I’ve always had the habit of biting my nails. I used to be much worse where I never let them grow long, but I’ve been able to actually grow out my nails.

    Yah, another recipe where I can use my food processor! 😛

  2. squigglefloey says:

    Girl, CONGRATS on those 3 weeks! That’s an eternity when it comes to habits! 🙂 You should be SOO proud!

  3. Jessica says:

    Congrats on making it three weeks! I love the idea of 21 days to break a habit, and I think it’s so true. When I decided to stop eating meat it was difficult the first few weeks, but now I don’t even crave meat. I’ve also been trying to cut back on Diet Coke this year. I’ve only had 2 cans all year! Last year I was drinking about 2 cans a day, so I’m happy with that. I think the longer I go without, the easier it gets.

    • I hardly even think about meat anymore- it totally is easier with time. I need to give up soda! When I was in high school, I gave it up totally for a year. I didn’t even miss it, but I had one after it had been a full year and still drink them!

  4. I remember reading the American-Girl Magazine! Congratulations girl!!!! Great job!

    I need to work on not touching my face — I just do it out of habit.

  5. AlisonM says:

    3 weeks is huge, congrats! Every week it gets easier, so you’re over the toughest bit 🙂

    I’ve recently had to stop crossing my legs (for PT). That was difficult as first, but like you with your knuckles, I was surprised how quickly it happened, and how easily it stuck.

  6. You go girl! That’s awesome. Knowing thyself is sooooooo important for overcoming binge eating (like when you said that skipping a meal would send you into a binge–me too! So I don’t do that anymore if I can help it!). Have you discovered any good books on the subject of emotional eating? I find that for me, I actually have to have my own eating “rules.” I know that the recovering anorexics hate that–rules around food–but thinking about it now, my ED is so much better now that I have healthy rules for myself. One example–I stop eating at 7:30 pm. Otherwise I would just keep putting food into my mouth because it’s there.

    • I’ve gotten some great book recommendations, but I haven’t actually read any of them yet. I think the best rule I have is that nothing is completely ‘off limits.’ The more I deny myself, the more I want to binge! I like your rule. I used to never be a night snacker, but lately I’ve been eating just because it’s around. I think I’ll try that. Thanks for the tip!

  7. im so happy for you!! i have heard about the 21 day thing i totally and firmly believe it in!

  8. Savvy says:

    Lady congratulations!! That’s really impressive and cereal is VERY easy to overdo. I find it takes at least two bowls to keep me satisfied, hahaha. I absolutely believe in the 21 day thing and I absolutely believe in you!

  9. I read American Girl for years! Love that magazine.

    Congrats on the three weeks! That’s a big step. I really believe in the 21 days to break a habit. It works!

  10. I’m a stress eater. Which, back in the day, lead to binge eating. I’m better, but I can tell you, even after the 21 days, it’s sometimes a struggle given the right trigger (for me, given the stress, it’s when I’m upset or overwhelmed). You just have to make sure and watch yourself a little closer when you sense a trigger happening.

    Either way, good job so far! And good luck with the cursing… I work with mostly men, so it’s become an issue for me, too. :p

  11. Monica says:

    Congrats on staying ahead of binge eating! Three weeks is a great accomplishment! Stay with it!

  12. divasrun says:

    Congrats on your accomplishment!

    I’ve got tons of bad habits I’m trying to break. A post will come soon addressing mine. =)

  13. Peggy says:

    I’m a nail biter. I’ve tried to quit cold turkey, but it just doesn’t work! So I’ve just come to terms with it. =)

  14. The habit I need to break is biting my nails! Totally starting the 21 day thing TODAY 🙂

  15. Kat says:

    I have a horrid night snacking problem. I guess you could call it binging. The other night I literally ate half the jar of peanut butter. I just sat there with a spoon and ate until I looked down and was like Oh crap! lol I had know idea how much I was even eating. But I only do that when Ninja isnt home. Good thing he isnt in the military or something lol

  16. emily says:

    Hahah, I totally read AG, too. Congrats on your healthful habits so far this year…that is something really to be proud of!

    And I made black bean burgers the other day, too. 🙂

  17. Good for you on the no binge eating! That’s a great accomplishment… it is one day at a time. I would LOVE to stop biting my nails because they are pretty gross 😦

  18. runyogarepeat says:

    Congrats! I loved American Girl dolls & the books…I think I have all the books somewhere still. I had the Felicity doll because we both had redhair.

  19. Congratulations on 21 days of success! Even one day is a step in the right direction…celebrate every accomplishment 🙂 And I absolutely LOVED American Girl Magazine. My grandmother ordered it for me every year, and I would read every page like it was the last thing I could read on Earth!

  20. greekmelie says:

    Only one serving? That’s huge! I don’t like cheerios, but if I manage to do that with popchips, I’ ll be a happy girl. In my case, the 21 have never worked. I have the bad habit of biting my nails. Every time I have a manicure I go on long stretches of not biting them, but the I go right back at it, especially in times of stress. And what is it with me that I can never drink only one drink??

  21. You go girl! Way to break the binge eating habit. Way to be! 🙂

  22. Congrats on the accomplishment! I’m sure it will sometimes continue to be a struggle, but it really is a big deal and you should be proud!

  23. Nice work this year 🙂 for more serious habits, I think it’s important to take it day by day to break them. For any habit, I just remind myself how much better off I’d be without it. Usually, that works, but I’m stubborn and think my willpower is kind of awesome. I gave up caffeine in September and haven’t had a drop since!

  24. Good job girly on the 3 weeks of breaking a habit success!
    One habit I have is shopping. Clothes/shoes/accessory habit. If you saw my closet you’d understand. I built this house and built my closet supersized just to house my habit. Well I haven’t been shopping since before Christmas! I’m trying to cut back because I am trying to cut back my hours at work too. If I don’t see it, I don’t need it, RIGHT!?

    • I love the fact that you built yourself a huge closet! But yeah, I need to stop buying so many clothes too. That’s my next goal! I don’t have a closet or dresser, so if I want my stuff to fit, I have to stop buying so many things. We can do it!!

  25. Lee says:

    Congrats on your accomplishment! That’s really great. And those bean burgers sound great too.

  26. Lisa says:

    My sister got AG magazine and we loved reading it! I was looking at those Cherrios at the store and wondering if they were good. I may have to try them!

    I stopped biting my nails when I was 13. It was huge for me! I haven’t done it since then. I started growing my nails as long as I possibly could to prove that I could do it. When I look back at those pics, they look so long and gross! But I still don’t bite now that they’re short

  27. bakebooks says:

    That is so amazing Kate – seriously…wow…3 weeks is a LONG time. Most times I’m lucky if I can get to 2 days….:(

  28. american girl! awesome.

    congrats on the 3 weeks – sounds like you’re on your way to an awesome year!

  29. Emily says:

    I loveeeeeeeeed American Girl! I was so obessed, I had three dolls 😡 I read all the series religiously.

    Great job on the not binge eating. I have only binged once this year, so I thought I was doing good… 21 days is a really big accomplishment! I think people might not understand who don’t binge, but it takes a lot of effort and restraint to get those emotions under control and not allow yourself to binge.

    And YUMMMM! I love black beans. I think I could live on rice and black beans forever.

  30. Congratulations! I’m very happy for you
    I’ve made burgers like these before except they had pumpkin puree. Bean burgers are the best!

  31. Gina says:

    Girl, congrats on your accomplishment! That’s a huge deal 🙂

    As for me, I REALLY need to stop biting my nails.

  32. That’s great news Kate! So happy for you!

    Those burgers look really good. I’ve never thought to add yogurt to the mix!

    My bad habit would def be knuckle cracking. Just reading the bit about how you stopped made me crack my knuckles!

  33. I have heard that 21 day thing too and I think it’s SO TRUE!

    I guess I have somewhat overcome my binge eating bad habits too 🙂 I don’t even remember the last time I stuffed myself silly… Oh wait, I do, Christmas! But other than that I don’t remember. I’ve become A LOT better lately at interpreting my bodies signals saying that I’m FULL!

    • Mine was New Year’s, although I was stuffed on Christmas too 🙂 I think listening to your body is so important. I am pretty much the master at eating when I’m full- I need to learn to listen to my fullness signals too!

  34. That’s so awesome!!! Congrats on going so long without binging!! 🙂 Keep up the good work!

  35. Erica D says:

    I’m working on the binge eating too! I’m glad we’re in this together 🙂

    When I was in elementary school, I had the bad habits of twirling AND chewing my hair! Ugh! I remember getting really excited when our classroom had a sub so my teacher wouldn’t be up in my grill about it.

  36. Pingback: Technical Difficulties | What Kate is Cooking

  37. elvalentino says:

    wow, black bean burgers that’s a new one for me.
    Did you think this up on your own? I’m gonna try it

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