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Spring into healthy habits

By Family Flavours - May 08,2022 - Last updated at May 08,2022

Photo courtesy of Family Flavours magazine

Most of us think we don’t have time to exercise or prepare healthy meals in advance. If that’s you, think again.

Pockets of time are tucked into our days and evenings that are wasted on unessential things we use to unwind. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d rather watch my favourite television show than cook veggies after a full day at work. I get it. I’d rather log onto my social media than log my food intake on my app (yes, there are apps for that and if you haven’t discovered them check them out as they are free and easy to use!).

Whether it’s food prep, logging your intake for the day or getting your steps in, there are a million ways to sneak these essentials into our busy schedules. I don’t care how busy we think we are. If we prioritise self-care, we will find ways to get things done even on the craziest of days. It does, however, take intentionality and persistence. It won’t just magically happen on its own and no one is going to keep you accountable and offer to free your schedule so you can take better care of yourself!

This is one area we desperate dieters need to learn to be selfish in. We seem in to be good at taking care of everyone else around us, but neglect to care for ourselves. Last night I reminded our 25-year-old to take his antibiotics before bedtime only to realise I had forgotten to take my own medication! This is a classic example of over-extending ourselves to our own detriment. I confess that I’m guilty of trying to put the oxygen mask on our children before putting it on myself even though they are now adults. Old habits die hard!


Five tips for building new habits


Making it non-negotiable: Set aside some essential self-care habits and decide ahead of time that they are non-negotiable. If someone else tries to sabotage your priorities, practice how you will firmly respond ahead of time. It might sound something like, “I’d love to do that for you, but it will have to wait until I’m done with my workout.”

Learning to speak up for yourself: Perhaps you need to practice saying, “Instead of meeting for lunch, can we go for a walk instead?” You could even learn to specify which places you can eat at where you already know that they offer healthier choices on their menu. Don’t feel guilty about speaking up because most of the time the people you’re with are also struggling to make better food choices.

Keeping it simple:  Be authentic but don’t feel like you have to over-explain yourself. If you’re trying to cut back on calories and your boss announces it’s time to celebrate another co-worker’s birthday, permit yourself to say “no, thank you”. Even if they insist, you can always tell them that you’ll take your portion to share with your family. Truth be said, no one really cares if you have any or not!

Distracting yourself: Most of the time, distractions are annoying and prevent us from accomplishing the task. But there are times when distractions can save us. When it comes to food cravings, we can distract our brain long enough for the cravings to pass. Usually, that takes about 20 minutes. Maybe you could use that time to allow yourself to check into your social media, call a friend or even listen to your favourite podcast. Whatever you do, don’t give in to the craving until at least 20 minutes pass. In my experience, I usually forget about those crispy potato chips if I engage my mind in something else.

Separating the work: Who said we have to do everything at once? Some of us don’t have long periods of time, but we certainly have a few minutes here and there. Sneak in small amounts of meal prep throughout the day and by the evening, you’ll have your dinner all ready to go. Peel that onion between your errands. Wash your greens and squeeze those lemons. Marinate that chicken overnight. By the time you are ready to eat, you will have had all the messy work done ahead of time and can enjoy putting together a healthy home-cooked meal.

Here’s to springing into a new season with a whole new set of tools to help us succeed! 


Reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine

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