Perople who observe Lent may use it as a time to give up bad habits and to cultivate new and healthier ones. They may start fitness programs, healthy eating plans or give up bad habits such as smoking. I have decided to “get up” rather than give up anything and get back to my 5 a.m. workout routine. No matter what you would like to change or improve, there is no better time than now to make adjustments to your routine. Here is a recipe for making your Springtide a springboard into swimsuit season.
— Pick your poison: Choose one or two bad habits you would like to change and start there. It could be your diet, smoking, your stress level or whatever makes you feel unhealthy. Write them down on a piece of paper and stick them on your bathroom mirror to remind you of what you are trying to give up.
— Set a time frame: Once you pick the habits you want to work on, set a time frame for giving them up. I use the 40 days prior to Easter because it is easy to remember. You can also choose another significant date such as your birthday, a special event or your family vacation as a target time frame.
— Out with bad: Once you figure out what you want to give up from your routine, find a healthy alternative to add. For example, trade 30 minutes online for 30 minutes of walking. Trade ice cream for low fat yogurt and a cigarette for a stick of gum.
— Transition is the key: If you are a die hard french fry eater, it might be difficult to quit cold turkey. Try cutting down to ordering the small fries and then graduate to the side salad. If you want to quit smoking or lose weight, talk to your health care provider or enroll in a program.
— Find a new fitness activity: Check out something new and different to do for your fitness activity. If you get bored with an activity, you’re far less likely to stick to it. It is still not too late to try the Lumber River 5K or SRMC Fun Run on March 3!
— Stay strong: Old habits are hard to break and new routines difficult to establish. Keep focused on the reasons you are doing it and keep your attitude positive.
Whether you call it Lent or Springtide, this 40-day season of renewal can benefit your health tremendously. If you can last through 40 days, it is likely that you can carry on the changes throughout the rest of the year and be healthier for it. If you like pancakes and marginal entertainment, please join me at Trinity Episcopal for Fat Tuesday.
— Kathy Hansen has over 20 years experience in the health and fitness field. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.