Lent Season - What are you giving up?

Lent season is approaching. It is March 1st through April 13th this year, a 42-day span of time. Every year during Lent season, people give up a type of food or food product to which they attribute some wicked property. We all have vices - I don't know if food is what was intended or the best thing that one can come up with to atone or give up for six weeks. I do feel that if there is something sabotaging your efforts to lose or maintain your weight, and you are one to observe Lent and practice self-denial during this period, then this may be the right stimulus to get you going in the right direction!  

I have compiled a list of alternatives to the normal foods people give up for Lent, like sweets, sodas, desserts, etc. It's ALWAYS a good time to decrease your intake or to avoid those things! I wouldn't look at it in terms of "depriving" yourself -  I like to tell my clients that when you give up something, you may gain something in return that is ultimately more important to you.

1. Eating out - This will not only save your waist line, it will save you money! I know people are extremely busy and find it hard to squeeze in shopping and meal prep. Try something different - companies like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron offer healthy meals that aren't time consuming to cook and they deliver your ingredients. Also, you can try a grocery delivery service like Peapod, if grocery shopping is a problem.

2. Negativity - Negativity about yourself or your body translates into failure to accomplish your goals, so GIVE IT UP! Plus, negativity is contagious, and who needs that in their relationship or household? Try doing the opposite, and increase the positive messages that you say to others and about yourself.

3. Stress - Just like negativity, stress directly and directly affects our weight. Stress causes behaviors such as sleep deprivation, emotional eating, decreased activity, negative self-imagery, and it increases our internal inflammation, which can influence our weight. You can't necessarily "give up" whatever is causing the stress (i.e. job, boss, spouse, kids), but you can change how you respond to stress.

4. Television and/or excessive perusing on Social Media - Hmmmmmm. When you watch TV, or spend time on your smart phone looking at Facebook, you are SITTING, most likely. I have had so many people tell me that they can't fit in 20 minutes of activity, 3 days per week, yet they have no problems being able to watch at least an hour of TV a week (more like an hour a day) or spending 20 minutes a day on Facebook and Instagram. For people that snack or eat in front of the TV, this will help you in more ways than one!