The Time Is Now
The dawn of British Summer Time always brings with it some positivity – the prospect of the evenings getting lighter and our vitamin D levels getting that much-needed boost.
But why stop there – why not use the clocks going forward as a spur to step things up a bit on your Fast Diet programme? A trigger for changing bad habits, and re-calibrating our health for spring.
Aristotle once said, ‘We are what we repeatedly do’ – and it makes perfect sense. If we let bad habits steer our course, we’ll go off track. If we cultivate good habits, we’ll remain on path towards our goals.
This can be easier or more difficult depending on what habits you are looking to make or break – a study at UCL found that it took 66 days to adopt the habit of eating fruit daily, while the habit of drinking a glass of water after breakfast took just 20 days to install. But whether the habit gets cemented quickly, or needs time to take hold, the important thing is to repeat, and repeat, and repeat.
Here are a few of Mimi’s key habit-changing ideas you can try to alter the way your body and your mind work:
1) Change the record
Try to change little things that help you recognise how you are in control of your day-to-day life. Don’t rely on autopilot. You have the power to choose. Perhaps it’ll be something small like turning left rather than right, or reading a book on your commute rather than checking your phone – but just think about how a small change can make a big difference when it comes to not turning on the TV when you sit down to dinner, or taking the stairs instead of the lift. Recognise each individual moment where you can improve something for yourself, rather than letting autopilot take you down the same old route.
2) Be specific
Vague plans fail. That’s just the way it goes. So make sure your plans aren’t vague. Don’t just decide to cut back on treats, decide exactly what you will cut out – ‘I won’t include chocolate in the weekly shop’; ‘I’ll have an apple rather than a mid-morning muffin’. Extend that to weight loss – how much exactly do you want to lose? And by what date? For what event? Make it specific – then you can make it happen.
3) Think carrots not sticks
If you go through a tough patch in your diet, or eat something you shouldn’t, what do you do? You probably, like most of us, take it out on yourself. But it happens. Don’t think about the blips. Instead, think about all you’ve achieved in your new way of eating. Rightfully be proud of your achievements – you deserve it.
4) Water, water everywhere
Get into the habit of drinking water. Have a glass before and after Fast Day meals, and generally whenever you feel hungry too – it really does help; a glass of water can stop you mistaking thirst for hunger. At the most basic level, drinking water keeps your mouth occupied when it would otherwise be anticipating a snack. At work it’ll have the added bonus of reminding you to stand up once in a while when you need to go to the bathroom!
So there you have it: modify your behaviour, make a commitment, write it down and have alternatives to hand. A bad habit can be a surprisingly fragile beast: fight it for a while and it will almost certainly disappear, like a shadow when you turn on the light.