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It is often said that health is the culmination of series of habits.  A habit is defined as a settled or regular tendency or practice, and as you can see by the definition there is no mention of a good or a bad habit, in fact wether a habit is good or bad is largely dependant on perception.  However, the health conscious amongst us believe that regular exercise and a balanced diet of fresh food is key to our well being and longevity, and there are scores of research papers that show that these habits can have positive impact on nearly every aspect of our lives from lower incidence of major and minor illnesses to improved sex lives and lower stress levels.   

There are no consensus as to how long it takes to form a habit, some say days others say months, my belief is that habits are made or broken by doing or not something three times.  Why so short you may ask? Once is an accident, twice a coincidence, three times is the beginning of a habit.   By repeating something three times the synaptic pathways form and the likely hood of repeating it again are greatly increased. The other advantage of gaining a habit by repeating it three times is that you can form a good habit in a week if you chose to.  

If your looking to develop some healthy habits such as taking up exercise or eating better, decide when and where you will do it, write it down in your diary or put it in your phone, the act of physically marking it rather than making a mental note increases the muscular involvement of the decision increasing the likelihood that it will be accomplished.  Write a menu plan and buy the food, again you are increasing the commitment to make it happen.  When you shop only go to the aisles that sell the food on your list. Throw away all the food you no longer wish to eat rather than finishing it, if it isn’t in the house how can you eat it? Now is the only time to make a change!

Now you’ve developed these healthy habits there are natural times during the year where our momentum becomes threatened such as holidays or Christmas.  At these times our hard earned momentum is genuinely at risk, we are out of our natural environment and patterns so our hard earned habits are altered through no fault of our own.  In addition to this we are faced with the dilemma of worrying about every mouthful of food we eat or the effects of our inactivity during our hard earned breaks.  I have seen clients return from their holiday terrified of the effects of an ice cream or a few alcoholic drinks that their worry can cause a greater toxic effect that the food itself.  

With this in mind my advice is simple, you’ve worked hard for your break so the least that you owe yourself is to enjoy it guilt free, (I firmly believe the guilt is the biggest self inflicted hazard for health but that’s for another time) the key is to have the right strategy in place on your return to regain your habit as soon as possible.  Before you go away work out when your first exercise session should be and mark it in your dairy, book a session with a personal trainer and pay for it, nothing will get you back to exercising faster than the fear of losing that money, again plan your meals for the week you return. 

The great thing about re-establishing a habit is the longer it’s been in place the quicker you regain it, hard work is never wasted only deferred for the momentum to catch up. If you need some expert help and advice with your nutrition goals such as weight management, sports nutrition or you want to eat better for your health book an appointment today and plan to succeed! Call 01302 719917 email or click here to find out more. Consultations are available in person at Bawtry Natural Health, South Yorkshire or online.

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