When I talk to people about being healthy and eating well, the following problem often comes up. For a lot of us, we are able to keep up healthy habits during the day, but when it comes to evenings and weekends, all our good intentions go out the window. Whether it’s that takeaway, glass of wine (well let’s be honest, more like a bottle!) or bar of Galaxy chocolate, our evening and weekend habits can ruin any good work we do during the rest of the week! We’re trying a detox diet plan, we are tracking our calories and chatting to our friends – but our willpower just doesn’t cut it. Sound familiar?
These habits can be so ingrained it can feel like a huge task to change them. Also, I bet you really enjoy that pizza and chocolate right? For some of us, and I have certainly struggled with this one, it’s not so much takeaways and ready meals, it’s the continuous snacking while sitting in front of the TV. Before you know it you’ve actually eaten that full tube of Pringles, bag of popcorn and bar of dairy milk. Then you get that guilty feeling and promise yourself you’ll start again tomorrow. Urgh.
But, you can start to change those habits for the better, and it’s not about swearing off takeout or chocolate for the rest of your life. Here’s a few tips that might help you to find a better balance:
Write down the habits you have that don’t serve you. Most of these kind of issues are because habits have formed. You come home from work and find that nothing is in the fridge so you just have a frozen pizza for dinner. You sit in front of the TV and always have a glass of wine in your hand. Once you pop you just can’t stop (sound familiar?) Write all of these habits down.
Write down the ‘improved’ habits you’d like to develop in their place. For example, a good habit might be meal planning your dinners Monday to Thursday (which would help avoid the frozen pizza dinner issue). Another could be just drinking alcohol when it’s a social occasion.
Break each improved habit down. If meal planning is a habit you’d like to develop, work through the how. Look online for a downloadable meal planner. Decide which day of the week you will sit down and plan. When will you do the grocery shop?
Make one change a month. Start to work on one thing from your list of improved habits a month. Yes I said month. Some of the old habits you may have in place could have developed over years! Really focusing on one thing a month is the best way of making it stick.
Make the negative a positive. Rather than saying to yourself ‘I will not eat any takeaways on week nights’ try ‘I will plan healthy meals to eat Monday – Thursday night’ Just that little change in the way you think about it, can make something that sounds like you would be depriving yourself, into something that is more pro active.
Progress over perfection. Don’t expect everything to fall into place perfectly. Habits take time to change, just focus on one key thing a month. If you have a slip up that’s fine, it’s progress over perfection! Just get back into it and don’t allow it to be an excuse to fall of the wagon.
Keep it realistic. We might love the idea of going to the gym every day or eating a gourmet healthy home made vegetarian meal every night but let’s get real. a) Can you really see you living the rest of your life without a slice of cake? b) that would be a really boring existence, let’s face it! Keep it realistic and you won’t set yourself up for failure.
What habits do you have that don’t serve you? What new habits would you like to develop?
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