Thursday, September 1, 2016

September Challenge and Give Away: Making or Breaking a Habit


It's time for a September challenge! Comment on Facebook, Twitter, or this post with your September goal, and be entered to win a prize (it'll be awesome).

Some of my readers worked toward reducing their sugar intake as part of the August Sugar Challenge. Reducing sugar intake for a month is an awesome goal, but unfortunately researchers say that 31 days is not long enough to make or break a habit.

In 2009, researchers at the UK Heath Behaviour Research Centre found that it takes an average of 66 days to make or break a habit. This seems like a long time, but there are many practical things you can do.

I'll use reducing sugar intake as an example.
  • Remove triggers: 
    • For sugary foods and beverages, the most basic step you can take is to remove sweets from your house. Some practical ways to do this are:
      • Don't go to the grocery store hungry. Go after a meal, or eat a healthy snack with some protein and fat.
      • If you do want to have a few sweets in the house, put them out of sight.
  • Order water or unsweetened tea or coffee. Make it a habit. 
    • If you're used to the caffeine and you think unsweetened tea or coffee takes terrible, give it time. Try some different kinds of coffee or tea, and add milk or cream. 
  • Create a substitute:
    • Pick a healthy snack you like. 
      • Fruit, carrots, celery sticks, sliced green peppers--there's lots to choose from.
      • Keep these snacks where you can see them--on the counter, in the front of the refrigerator, etc.
      • Use some downtime to create individual portions so when you're busy you don't have to spend time preparing your snack. 
For my September challenge, I'm going to do is focus on my worst sugar habit--sweetened cereal. All the cereal I buy now has less than 9 grams of sugar per cup, but I often eat two or three bowls a day, and those bowls are usually more like one-and-a-half cups. So, I'm going to try to eat only one bowl of cereal per day. I'm also going to keep limiting my sweets, but instead of trying to abstain completely, I'm going to limit myself to 2-3 per week.

I'd love to here from those who are taking the challenge. What habit are you going to make or break? Eating five or more fruits and veggies a day? Working out 3 times a week for at least 20 minutes?

Comment on Facebook, Twitter, or below this post and be entered to win a sweet prize.

2 comments:

  1. With all of the obligations that September brings, my goal is to pack a healthy lunch and snacks M-F, and to limit cereal-for-dinner to fewer than 2 nights per week.

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    Replies
    1. Awesome goals! I eat cereal for dinner way too often.

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