Today is day 7 of the 40 days of Lent during which many people aim to give up something, typically something they like and enjoy.
Yesterday we wrote about how to make giving something up easier:
4 Top tips for making lifestyle changes
Something else to think about is whether or not the things you try to give up or alter in your food routine are for lent of forever.
The reason people choose to give something up for lent is that they feel their consumption of the item in question, whether it be coffee, chocolate, cake or alcohol, is out of balance with where they'd like it to be, and they want to prove they can live without this thing in their life so they set out to avoid it completely for 40 days.
But while it might be useful to set a challenge like this and complete it, do the changes we make for 40 days have any lasting impact? Sometimes they do, but more often than not we return to the patterns of eating we were familiar with before lent began.
Would it not be better to moderate consumption of your chosen 'vices' in the long-term and avoid 40 days of feeling deprived and 325 days of feeling guilty because you've overindulged?
Here's a 3-step plan for ensuring balance and enjoyment of your food routine in the short, medium and long-term:
1) If you feel something is out of balance in your routine, gather together some accurate notes on how much you're eating and drinking, and how often
2) Decide what would be a more desirable balance of these items in relation to your health, energy and lifestyle priorities
3) Be specific about the timing and quantity of this revised balance. Understand what items you'll be eating, when you'll be eating them and how much of each item you'll be consuming
Choosing in advance what you'd like the balance of your food routine to look like is much easier than trying to second guess yourself in the middle of a busy day. If you have a clear plan, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to follow. Every decision on food and drink that you currently make can be put in the context of your chosen plan which will save you time and energy.