This Time of Year
This is the time of year where many families are adjusting or attempting to adjust to new schedules. This often happens with kids going back to school, but can also affect many industries and the people working in them. Even with pandemic regulations keeping many still at home, schedules are ever important. In fact, working from home can necessitate very clear boundaries and finessed time management.
So is it a good time to try a healthy new habit? If you're already adjusting, why not throw in something for yourself?
Myth vs Fact
Many self-help authors claim that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. This common misconception came from one doctor's observations of his patients, but was actually stated as the minimum amount of time needed to adjust.
Modern behavioral psychology had some actual research results to offer, and unfortunately the average is much longer - about 66 days. But never fear and never give up, it is possible to start new habits and form healthier routines. Just make sure to be patient with yourself!
Start Small or Go All Out?
Sometimes when you want to make big changes it's best to consult your physician first, especially for strenuous workout routines. Weight loss is a popular reason to make big changes, but dietary adjustments are also best made with the help of a dietitian. Alternative providers like acupuncturists and naturopaths can help with advice too, and they can also help you with digestion issues, food allergies, or other underlying causes of bloating and inflammation.
Starting small is generally advised, and with patience you can see big changes that typically last longer than extreme fad diets.
What to Try
The Whole 30 diet trend is a decent one to start with as it seeks to eliminate processed foods and get you eating more whole foods. That's really the core of it - eat whole foods only for 30 days.
Eliminating sugar can be a big step for people and is often quite difficult. Alternative sweeteners are not great for your body either though so try stevia or honey to sweeten your food and drink. Try replacing soda with sparkling water so you still get carbonation.
Find replacements for things you crave that you know aren't good for you. For example, if you're trying to cut back on coffee try tea. Green tea is loaded with anti-oxidants, but if you find it less satisfying then add something smart to address your cravings. Fatty coconut milk or creamy oat milk can help coffee drinkers who are used to cream because coffee has body to it, and cream adds some as well. But the above replacements can help satisfy that craving.
Smoothies can be a fun and tasty way to get more fruits and veggies in. A little kale or spinach can almost go unnoticed in a fruit smoothie (except for the color).
Drink enough water. Try to drink half your body weight in ounces. For example drink 50oz per day if you weight 100 lbs. Drinking enough water can help you regulate heart, kidney, and other organ function. It can also help regulate temperature, flush out bacteria from the bladder, cushion joints, and aid digestion according to this Harvard study.
Whatever you try, give yourself a few months of trying. If you fall off course, just love your self and get back on. Healthy habits are worth establishing, and now might be a good time to start.