Mardi Gras, the French for Fat Tuesday (also known as Shrove Tuesday and Pancake Day) is now over…and the first day of Lent begins today. Traditionally Pancake Day is the day we indulge ourselves with all the bad foods in the house (sugar, flour, eggs, fat, hence the pancakes – which I hope you all thoroughly partook of!), before beginning 40 days of fasting leading us to Easter. Whatever your religious beliefs may be, this is a good opportunity to give up something over this period. Usually this something is bad for us and something we are quite attached to. For myself, this is also the lead up to Spring, and this is a great time to start preparing myself for Spring/Summer. This is especially so as in a few weeks time I will be on holiday (hopefully in a bikini!), which will be shortly followed by my ‘Big’ birthday.
Thus I will be giving up something over this period. If you are going to be doing something similar, I would advise picking 1 thing to give up (not 5), and being realistic with yourself. Perhaps giving it up completely is not likely, but you could try giving it up during the week, or having 1 day a week where you allow yourself this little treat.
I am also a big believer that if you remove something from your diet or life, you need to replace it with a healthy habit. So if you are giving up chocolate, make sure you’re drinking 2-3l water a day; or if you stop eating junk food, you can walk an extra 15mins a day. If we remove something it can seem like a sacrifice and we focus on the deficit, but if you also include something healthy into your life, it gives you something positive to focus on!
And if you are having a day where you are struggling with your chocolate addiction – postpone the reward! Apparently, telling ourselves we will have it later, makes it more likely we can resist the temptation, than if we say we can never eat it at all (Tilbury Institute for Behavioural Economics Research in the Netherlands).