Making Lent Last

Why Giving Up What's Bad for You Should Last Longer Than 6 Weeks!
Lent is embraced by Christians and non-Christians alike. But whether you’ve giving up booze, takeaways, chocolate or something else entirely – chances are it’s because you usually overindulge in them! Going without something that is bad for you for 6 weeks is evidence that you can do without it for good, so whatever you’re giving up this lent – don’t give up on giving up!
Seasonal Switches and Health Holidays
Open a blank calendar and you’ll not find a month free from some sort of occasion that dictates a change to your eating, drinking or lifestyle. Whether it’s a tradition, celebration or religious holiday, there’s always something going on – and we’re always encouraged to jump on the band wagon thanks to endless torrents of media!
Lent: Time Well Spent?
Unlike many seasonal occasions, Lent is actually a time of abstinence. In stark contrast to the celebratory drinks and over-indulgence of most holidays, people partaking in lent choose something to go without for the next month or so.
But will abstaining from somethng for 40 days have any lasting benefits, especially when that time is sandwiched between Pancake Day and Easter?! In short, no! But all is not lost. Whatever the reason, if you manage to remove something from your life that you usually worry about, then that can only be a good thing. It could also give you the self-belief and motivation to form good habits that will last in the long-term!
10 Lent Resolutions That Have Staying Power
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular things given up for Lent, and how limiting these in the long-term can promote ongoing health and happiness.
1.Screen Time
Be it social media, Netflix or your work laptop, we could all do with less time spent staring at screens. Too much screen time can disturb sleep patterns, affect mood and can even be highly addictive.
Having regular time out from screens helps you to minimise these effects and remain in the real world!
2.Alcohol
If you’ve ever had a terrible hangover then you’ll know alcohol is bad for you. That’s why we get hangovers – to teach us not to drink that much again! Too much alcohol puts a strain on your liver and kidneys, not to mention dehydrates you and can negatively impact mood.
If you’re a fan of booze, aim to have most days of the week alcohol-free and try to avoid binge-drinking.
3.Chocolate
Chocolate lovers and comfort-eaters alike will know that sometimes there’s no problem that a bar of chocolate can’t solve! Trouble is, too much chocolate is bad for your teeth and your waistline.
The key here is to enjoy in moderation, a healthy lifestyle isn’t about living without every worldly pleasure, it’s about being sensible and using the not-so-good-for-you foods as a treat, rather than a staple!
4.Takeaways
Everyone’s guiltiest pleasure! Whatever your preferred takeaway, you can guarantee that it’s been made for maximum taste at the sacrifice of minimal nutritional value!
Without stating the obvious, most takeaways provide enough energy and harmful fat for the whole day, let alone one meal. Again, save takeaways for a treat rather than making them part of your routine.
5.Caffeine
Hectic modern lifestyles have made quality sleep almost an impossibility, and caffeine the shoulder to cry on. Getting more sleep and reducing your caffeine intake go hand-in-hand. Avoiding ridiculously high-caffeine energy drinks and replacing some cuppas with decaf tea or coffee will help to reduce your overall caffeine intake.
6.Meat
Eating less meat has been shown to have many benefits for your health and the planet, not to mention the animals. Consuming too much red or processed meat has been linked with increased risk of disease, including cancer.
Throw in the impact is has on the environment to raise animals for meat and there’s plenty of reasons to replace some of the meat in your diet with alternative proteins.
7.Sugar
Sugar is a non-nutrient. It’s added to masses of processed food to provide taste and flavour but offers no nutritive value other than heaps of empty calories.
Sugar is bad for your weight, your teeth, your gut and your mental health. Looking to lower your intake should be a lifelong priority.
 
8.Processed Food
More commonly known as junk food, processed food is made for our taste buds but not for our body! In it you’ll find sugar, trans-fats, allergens, synthetic ingredients and artificial ingredients.
All of these wreak havoc with our gut, which doesn’t recognise most of these things as they’re so far removed from their natural food source.
9.Negativity
A more creative concept this Lent is to give up – or rather avoid – negativity. It could be a certain person, group chat, website, friend circle or whatever gives you negative vibes.
Actively avoiding the situation will help you to stay positive and focus on matters more pressing, and worthwhile!
10.Superficiality
Whether it’s makeup, filters, false tan or eyelashes – learning to love the skin you’re in will always be a blessing. Not to mention the benefits of living life care-free and confident!
Save money, time and effort by leaving the glamorous garnishes for a special occasion and going au-natural day-to-day to #feelgoodNKD.
A Healthy Lifestyle isn’t Temporary, it’s a Priority!
New Year’s resolutions have been and gone, Lent will be over in a matter of weeks and the quest for a summer body will be long forgotten come Autumn - so the cycle continues! Whilst these things can be good motivators in the short-term, they don’t justify letting yourself go for the rest of the year! 
We want you to forget fad diets, quick fixes and temporary health kicks. Instead, focus on a healthy lifestyle – incorporating real food, more movement and the occasional treat into your everyday. Not only is this far easier and less stressful, but it’s also more sustainable in the long-term.

Author: Stephanie Masterman @NutriNoggin

Dated: 14/03/2019

References

  • JAMES, J. and CROSBIE, J. (1987). Somatic and Psychological Health Implications of Heavy Caffeine Use. Addiction, 82(5), pp.503-509.
  • Hadi, M. (2016). Processed meat as carcinogen: Time for health warning labels?. Journal of Cancer Policy, 8, p.9.
  • Brand, R. and Jendrzejewski, J. (2006). Effect of alcohol consumption on the skin. Alcohol, 39(2), p.112.
  • D Gulledge, B. (2012). Current Effect of Sedentary Screen Time on Child-Adolescent Health Outcomes. Journal of Nursing & Care, 01(02).

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