What better time for a fresh start than the first few weeks of spring. The shift to warmer weather and generous doses of sunshine makes this the perfect time of year to form new healthy habits.
The best way to slim down or just start getting your five servings of fruits and vegetable a day is to give your mind the support needed to break out of old patterns.
Studies show, for instance, that it is habit s, not cravings, that determine what you will eat when stressed out. So if you get accustomed to munching air-popped popcorn, for instance, you will choose that snack over potato chips after a bad day.
Here are the latest science-based fixes that you can use to chart your new path this weekend.
Seize the moment. Don’t miss great opportunities to do something new. Researchers from the University of San Francisco report that one of the best ways to disrupt old patterns is to take advantage of other big changes in your life. If you have just moved into a new home, started a new job or even a new relationship, you will have an easier time making other changes too, so go for it.
Create a safe environment. Of course you are serious about losing weight, but you are only human. Keeping pound cake in easy reach or leaving your favorite treats at eye-level in the pantry is asking for trouble. Research shows that people do a much better job of establishing new eating patterns when they are not constantly tempted by the foods they are trying to kick. If your kids or partner insist on loading up on Doritos, just ask them to tuck the bag out of site and refrain from snacking in front of you.
Repeat, repeat, repeat. The San Francisco team also advises that the best way to form a new habit is to engage in the new behavior over and over again. Scientists think it takes 15 to more than 250 days to form a new pattern. You have to stick with new behaviors and give change a chance.
Get away from it all. This weekend, pack up the car or hop on a train and take a mini-vacation. Lots of research shows that travel enhances quality of life, lowers stress, and—best of all—broadens our perspective on life making it easier for us to see ourselves differently and dump old behavior patterns.
Couple up. If your partner shares your desire to get in better shape, a new study shows the two of you will be much more successful if you decide to break old habits together. What a great testimony to the power of love.
About Fierce Fridays — Tips for Weekend Well-Being
We each cherish those precious days off at the end of the week, but increasingly those of us who are charter members of the sisterhood of the stressed and overworked are losing our Saturday and Sunday leisure time to weekend work and domestic duties.
To make sure that you do something every weekend that’s just for you, we’ll be sharing a little advice to make those 48 hours a great time to recharge your batteries, bring a little good news into your life, or discover a quick and easy way to improve your health.