Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Forming New Food and Lifestyle Habits...and Breaking Old Bad Ones #Healthy2020 #eatbetter #livebetter #healthychoices #changinghabits

Breaking bad habits and replacing them with healthy behaviors is never easy -- but it's so rewarding! In my continuing #Healthy2020 series, we're focusing on implementing healthy food and lifestyle habits. The Weekend Gourmet correspondent has some great tips to ensure you make changes that will stick for the long term. This article may contain affiliate links.

When it comes to breaking bad habits, the key is being able to stick to new habits you want to put in well as resisting the temptation to fall back into bad habits. On average, it takes around 66 days -- approximately two months -- to do something before it naturally becomes a habit, i.e., something you do every day without thinking about it. When you consider most people's zest for New Year's Resolutions begins to falter around the end of February, having the determination to see a positive behavior change for two full months could make all the difference!

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However, breaking an old habit can months -- or even years -- to fully break. What does this information teach us? When we seek to adopt new practices into our daily life, the key is patience and determination to see it through -- no matter which part of our lives we're wanting to change. In this article, we address two main areas of your life where you can form new habits pretty quickly. The best part? Doing so will help you live a healthier, happier life.

Food Habits

Are you a serial grazer, comfort eater, binge eater...or do you forget to eat and suddenly find yourself hungry at the end of the day? These negative eating habits are easy to fall into...and much harder to break. For some, it takes seeing a trained professional for them to effectively address their unhealthy eating habits...learning how to control their appetite and begin to make new, healthier eating habits.

A good start is to abstain from the so-called "diet culture." Yo-yo dieting and new dietary fads can wreak havoc on your body -- especially your digestive system. Learning what to eat, when to eat, and in what quantities can be very beneficial. After all, knowledge is vital! If you don't know what specific foods to eat; how to prepare balanced, nutritious meals; or how to fuel your body...chances are you'll quickly fall back into unhealthy eating habits.

Start by slowly introducing healthier foods to your daily diet. Try not to think of it as a "diet" -- which restricts certain foods groups. Doing so will only make you want those foods more. Develop a meal plan and see what healthy food swaps you can make to limit processed foods, high-fat, and high-sugar foods. This change will help you prepare healthier meals. Some people find that introducing a DIY 3-day juice cleanse can help get cravings under control and kickstart a more robust eating plan. Remember: if you fall back into old habits, tomorrow is a new day -- nothing is holding you back from starting again! Here are some helpful hints:

  • Start slowly
  • Make small healthier food swaps
  • Plan your meals in advance
  • Prepare healthier food choices, so you have something healthy on hand when you feel hungry
  • Don't be too hard on yourself if you fall back into new habits...simply try again
  • Educate yourself on how you can eat better within your budget, and make old habits a thing of the past

    Lifestyle Habits

    It can be so easy to fall into a routine. With work, family life, and everything else being an adult throws at us, it can be very easy to become complacent and keep doing the same things day after day. Before you know it, you've formed unhealthy lifestyle habits! Now is the time to begin the journey to break these negative habits and regain control over how you live your life. The key to forming new, better habits for yourself comes down this: how you're living your life and what you want to change. You have to be the change, or nothing else will help you succeed. Albert Einstein said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." So...if you keep doing the same things every day, nothing will change.

    Surround yourself with people who are rooting for your success -- ones who want to help you make positive changes and stick with them. Positive attitudes from yourself...and the people in your life...can go a long way to help you maintain momentum. Doing so will allow you to keep your new habits in place until you no longer realize you're doing it! It also makes sense to look for triggers that could lead you back down the path to undoing all your hard work! Places, people, or even driving home via a particular route can all be triggers. If something encourages a bad habit, let it go from your life. At the very least, try to limit contact if you don't want to cut people completely from your life.

    Stay active! This can be via exercise, taking up a hobby, or simply going in the backyard for some sunlight and fresh air. Boredom can increase the likelihood of old habits lingering. A part-time job, online course to learn something new, or literally anything that will stave off the boredom will help you kick a negative habit for good.

    Remember why you're making this change. Many people have several negative habits they need to change...or simply need to find a new focus in life. Keep your end goal in sight, and never change who you are to get there. Breaking bad habits doesn't mean you need to sacrifice who you are -- you simply need to change parts of your life that aren't working for you. You're good enough, and you should never lose sight of who you are -- no matter how difficult it is to break negative habits and form new ones.

    Breaking habits can be challenging, but having the right support system in place to help you break negative behaviors and form new ones can make all the difference in your life! The process isn't a's a marathon, and you should treat it as such.

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