Maybe you’re having another stab at that new year’s resolution, or you do this every year? As with resolutions, a crucial part of succeeding is not taking on too much. If you want to give up a food or activity you use for stress relief, you will need to make a contingency plan, because in the 46 days of lent, stress will come up.
Be ready. Positive replacement habits are key.
Here are some tips to make lent happen.
Help – I have cravings!
If you’re giving up food that you tend to overeat or drink, expect cravings. Once you know the causes, you can beat them. The most common causes are stress and nutrient deficiency. What really helps you when you feel stressed?
Make your diet nutrient rich
You can head off cravings in advance by making sure your body is fully stocked on all the nutrients it needs. For example, if you are craving salty foods like crisps, perhaps your body is deficient in sodium or minerals. Build those into your diet. If you’re craving caffeine, maybe you need more sleep or eating more slow-releasing energy foods like whole grains. I do like some chocolate in the afternoon, but I find eating sweeter vegetables like carrots and beets or snacking on fruit earlier in the day will help curb my cravings.
Say no in advance
Going out / social situations can be the hardest time to stick to a plan, and on the spur of the moment, it’s easy to forget or to say ‘to hell with it’. But you want to do it this year, even if it’s to prove to yourself that you can, try looking up the menu in advance. For most restaurants this is possible. You can make all your choices before you get there so that on the night, it’s easy! The hard choices are taken care of and you just have to say them out loud. It takes the pressure off, makes you much more likely to follow through. I guarantee you will feel good about yourself afterwards.
Drink for hunger
If you want eating less to be part of your lent, drink more water! The body can mistake dehydration for hunger so we end up eating more when all we need is a glass of water. Before you raid the presses, turn on the tap!
And if water isn’t you thing, add berries, lemon wedges, mint leaves or cucumber slices to jazz it up. Or try a herbal tea like Rooibos, peppermint or white tea. They might calm you or taste good into the bargain!
Get your accountability partner
No man or woman is an island. Many people are doing Lent, you are not on your own. If you tell other people what you’re doing for Lent you’re much more likely to stick to it. The workplace can be a great way to support colleagues with their Lent goals. Tell them what you’re giving up. Talk to them about the challenges, and how you feel about your new replacement habits.
Group support offers solutions that you might not have considered and extra encouragement to stick it out. To keep you going when you’re on your own, you could even keep a diary to write down your daily moods, body changes and emotions.
You can help yourself give up bad habits by filling your time and mind with good ones!
Crowding out / replacement habits are a great technique to utilize during Lent. Add in other things to push out the bad habits or bad foods.
Eat a handful of nuts instead of crisps, have stress relieving techniques at the ready. A five minute meditation wherever you work can have a big impact. Instead of scrolling on social media, you could take up a new hobby. Instead of sitting in front of the TV, get out and go for a walk: you’ll feel better for it!
Lent is your time to add in something new to your life. What do you want that to be?
It takes just 21 days to break a habit so there’s a good chance that by the time Easter comes along, you may not even want to bring back what you gave up for Lent. Whatever happens, you will have proved you can do it and you might feel better in your body overall.
With a positive support system, healthy choices and the right attitude, you’ll find that it’s not so bad giving something up. Whatever it is that you are giving up during Lent, you will, in the end, get more.
CCSL is a perfect partner that can encourage workplace wellness and stimulate employee engagement through its fully integrated Nutrition Matters wellness program.
Learn all about the Nutrition Matters at www.ccsl.ie/ccslnutritionmatters