So you’ve set out with the best intentions; you’ve prepared your pantry, you’ve started working on your weekly Meal Plans, you’ve scheduled in exercise for the week but is there something that’s sabotaging your success on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge?
Do you have a really strong sweet tooth or can’t stop at just one potato chip and have to eat the whole packet?
Many of us do and at certain times during the day these sneaky feelings for unhealthy food can appear. The afternoon always seems like a good idea for a choccie bar doesn’t it or straight after dinner once you’ve done the dishes? How about a packet of chips whilst watching a movie on the weekend?
Often our desire to choose unhealthy food options is all about the habits we’ve developed. If you eat something sweet most afternoons then your mind will start telling you that you need to have something sweet every afternoon. If you always eat chips when watching a movie then your mind will start questioning you if you sit down to watch one and you’re not holding a packet of salt & vinegar chips. If you always have a slice of cake with your tea or coffee then you’ve created a habit to have a slice or something similar every time you enjoy a cuppa.
Unhealthy food choices are often used as a reward – we’ve had a busy day or done a great exercise routine so deserve a piece of chocolate cake at the end of the day to relax. We’re enjoying a movie with the family so need something unhealthy to nibble on. Think about the Candy Bar at the cinema – it’s loaded with unhealthy food options that have us programmed to think we need this kind of food when we’re watching films.
Well how are you going to change these habits and make it easier to choose healthy food options most of the time? Here are some tips:
Change The Habit Slowly
If you normally eat some chocolate every afternoon around 3pm then try and go a day without having it. Maybe choose another sweet but healthy snack like the Mini Berry “Cheesecakes” from the current Challenge recipes for the first few days you’re trying to change your habit and then go a few days without anything sweet at this time at all – have some nuts or similar instead. Soon enough you will have created a new habit – having something healthy everyday at 3pm instead of chocolate.
Listen To Your Body
Really listen to your body and what it feels like – are you actually hungry? Do you really need a packet of chips or some lollies or is it just what you’d normally eat at this time of the day? Are you just feeling like something sweet to reward yourself – you deserve this? Maybe you could reward yourself with a healthier option.
Often if you just give yourself some time, the craving for unhealthy food options will pass. Give yourself 20 minutes and then after that time see if you actually even feel like that chocolate bar anymore. Make a cup of herbal tea (peppermint is great for cravings) as this can often satisfy you and your sweet desire will pass.
Reward Yourself Without Food
Rather than thinking I deserve a piece of chocolate cake after this great exercise session why not reward yourself with something that’s not food related e.g. a relaxing hot bath, some time to sit down and read your favourite magazine, book a manicure or pedicure for the end of week after you’ve had a successful time with the Challenge. It’s great to reward ourselves but it doesn’t always have to be with food.
Use The Healthy 28 Day Challenge Alternatives
Life is to be enjoyed and that’s why the 28 Day Challenges have been developed for busy mums with easy to prepare, simple recipes that offer a little taste of everything. So when you’re planning your weekly meal plans and you know you’re a sweet tooth or like something sweet in the afternoon, add some of the sweeter recipes into your plan.
There are a number of great sweet and savoury snack recipes in the upcoming Challenge, look out for: the Almond & Cacao Fudge or the Perfecto Hot Chocolate when you need a chocolate hit.
The Cheesy Broccoli & Spinach Muffins, Smoky Chickpeas or Chickpea Fries with Mint Sauce are all great snacks to make and enjoy rather than a packet of chips when watching a movie.
Make extras of the Coconut Treats, Raw Peanut Butter Pies, Spinach Balls, Blueberry & Cream Cheese Muffins or Almond Butter Granola Bites – all ideal to snack on when enjoying a cup of herbal tea.
Don’t deprive yourself of dessert if you love a sweet treat after dinner. There are plenty of healthy dessert options on the Challenge – search for your favourites from previous rounds like Clever Chocolate Mousse or try something new like the Mango & Coconut Panna Cotta.
The main thing to remember is to not beat yourself up if you’ve had an unhealthy food choice whilst on the Challenge. Just consider how eating the unhealthy option made you feel, did you feel guilty? disappointed? That’s ok, acknowledge those feelings and move on.
Then next time when you make a healthy choice when tempted with an unhealthy craving, acknowledge how you feel – satisfied? Pleased with yourself? Soon you’ll prefer those positive feelings and will be making healthy choices all the time.