It’s February, and most of us have already struggled to keep our new year’s resolution. Only a few weeks ago we were eager to hit that gym, banish the booze or kick that terrible snacking habit for good. But the January blues can leave us lingering for that bottle of red at the weekend or craving that ‘well-deserved’ lunchtime chocolate bar, leaving our resolutions to crumble.
But with Easter well on it’s way, we’ve got a second chance to kick those habits to the curb. Lent, which runs from the 1st March right up until Easter Sunday, is a time where people traditionally fight the cravings and give up something which has a negative effect on their lives. Religious or not, why not use lent as the catalyst you need to change into a better you?
We understand that giving up your vices isn’t always as easy as it seems. That’s why we’ve put together a handy list of things you could give up for lent – and useful substitutes to help you to really follow through with it!
Chocolate is the ultimate diet demon. We all love it – but chocolate isn’t really as heavenly as our taste buds try to convince us. It’s high in saturated fat, sugar, and calorie content, doing more harm than good to our waistlines.
If you’ve tried and failed giving up chocolate for lent before (and don’t worry, we all have), why not try a healthier alternative? Most of us indulge in a bar of milk or white chocolate when the sugar cravings hit, but did you know dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is better for you? It has less carbs, positive health benefits and it’s more filling, making dark chocolate much less of a guilty pleasure.
If you’re feeling really dedicated and want to kick the cocoa habit altogether, dried fruits and nuts are the first things to get your hands on. They’re much healthier and can easily fill in the sugar void.
Using your car less
Adults of a working age in the UK spend an average of 9.5 hours a day sitting – which is quite a substantial amount of time to spend sedentary. This leads to unhealthy lifestyles, weight gain and many more problems later in life. So why not be more active and get moving over lent?
It’s hard to move more if you have an office job or work on a computer every day. But the one thing you can change is how you get there in the first place! If your work isn’t too far away, walking to work or investing in a bike to cycle will do wonders to your health. Did you know, that by walking just 2.7 miles a day, you will have walked 1000 miles in a year? Instead of hopping in the car to pop to the shop – walk! You’ll be amazed how refreshed it makes you feel.
Vegetarianism is a growing practice for the health conscious. It’s widely reported that eating too much red meat can be bad for us, raising our cholesterol and being chock full of harmful hormones which can increase our risk of some nasty diseases.
Giving up meat or even just cutting down can benefit your health, as well as clearing up your conscience on contributing to the 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions which are caused by animal agriculture.
But giving up meat can be a difficult task, especially when most of us consider meat as a staple part of our diet. Just making the move to eating more ethically sourced white meats can make the world of difference to both you and the environment, and if you’re determined to go full veggie – there’s loads of tasty alternatives!
The classic meat alternative is tofu, which can be fried up with all sort of tasty herbs and spices. And there’s more – think mushrooms, eggplants, lentils, beans, and potatoes. You’ll be surprised at how tasty and varied vegetarian food can really be. Look through my blog for recipes using Quorn which is a good alternative for meat.
2017 should be the year to finally kick the unhealthiest habit of them all. Not only does smoking seriously harm your health and severely increase your risk of several cancers, it also affects your ability to taste. Smoking makes the taste buds on your tongue less sensitive – and who wants to be missing out on a world full of tasty food?
If you need some help along the way, making the first switch to an e-cigarette is a step in a much healthier direction. A move that is widely reported as a key factor in smokers having success with quitting the habit. The difference between e-cigarettes and normal cigarettes is the missing ingredient tobacco – a cancer causing, harmful component. They’re overall much less toxic and safer to use, so ditch those cigarettes and buy an e-cig for lent instead.
Ditching your mobile before bed
Using your mobile phone or tablet before bed could be bad for you.
Research into the topic has shown that being exposed to the light given off by phones, laptops, or other gadgets, can prevent us from sleeping. The light prevents our brains releasing melatonin – the hormone which tells our body it’s time to hit the sheets, meaning it can take us much longer to nod off.
Starting to use your phone less in the evening could be just what you need for a better night’s sleep over lent. If you find it hard to cut out technology altogether, a good way to minimise damage is to dim the display to the lowest setting, or switching to a good book at least 30 minutes before bed to calm your mind. There’s even apps to help you take breaks from your phone, such as ‘Time Out’, which will help remind you when it’s time to switch that screen off for the night.
Now you have no excuse not to ditch your bad habits for lent! Use our handy tips and tricks over lent to become an all-round better, healthier you.