The hardest part of changing your habits is giving up the things you love.
Whether you are quitting smoking, eating healthier, or fighting another bad habit. There are ways to lighten the blow.
For me, some of the hardest things to give up were candy, bread and soda. The trick to making the transition easier is to find healthier alternatives. I had to find things that I enjoyed eating that were also on the Paleo friendly food list.
Quitting soda but still crave carbonation? Can’t go wrong with sparkling water. Just make sure that the only ingredient on the label is water. Pick up some lemons, limes, cranberries and other fruit to infuse it with and then it will taste more like a fruit drink or soda. I used to drink 2-3 sodas per day. For me, it wasn’t about the taste – I needed the caffeine and the carbonation. I always wanted the soda but after I finished it, my mouth felt dirty from all of the sugar and syrup. Sparkling water is a great alternative. And believe it or not, now I am 4 weeks soda free!
Quitting smoking? But don’t want to use nicotine based quit aids? Try sucking on a hard candy when you are craving a cigarette. Cinnamon gum works well too. Having something in your mouth in place of a cigarette will help calm the craving.(Sucking on hard candy only makes quitting smoking a tiny fraction easier – they compare quitting smoking to sobering up from hard drugs. Its tough, regardless.)
Timing is also helpful. It is really hard to wake up one day and decide your going to quit something cold turkey (although, sometimes that is what it takes.) Try setting a goal for yourself – picking a date to be the last day you smoke a cigarette, the last time you bite your nails or the last time you enjoy a fast food meal. Mentally prepare yourself ahead of time.
When I decided to change my eating habits, it was a Friday night. I was feeling bloated and uncomfortable after dinner as I usually did, we must have eaten at a restaurant somewhere and I turned to my husband and said, “you know what? I don’t want to feel like this anymore.” The next day, we had our “last meal,” at Champs and went shopping for meat, fruit and vegetables. It takes a trigger sometimes to want to make the change and a trigger helps to make it easier to quit. You have to remember the reasons why you are changing.
I am not saying that my tips for quitting make it easy. Anyone who has ever quit any bad habit knows, it is NEVER EASY. But, there are ways to help alleviate some of the pain from quitting cold turkey, regardless of what you are quitting. For everything we love in life that is bad for our bodies, there is a healthier alternative. Sometimes you just have to get creative.