Whether you are religious or not, lent is a great time to kick start your goals and lost resolutions from January. Amongst the top things to give up for lent are fast food, chocolate, sweets, coffee and fizzy drinks; social media is also creeping up the list of the most popular things to give up. These aspects of modern life can all be related to diet and exercise (which you probably vowed to do more of at New Year). There are a number of weeks until Good Friday, so how can you stay on track for lent this year?
Giving up things cold turkey is and will always be incredibly difficult, with alcohol being amongst some of the hardest things to give up. But lent is about giving things up cold turkey. In 2012 – 13, there were an estimated 1,008,850 admissions related to alcohol consumption where an alcohol-related disease, and although statistics are decreasing year by year (see here) over-drinking still remains a huge problem in the UK. Think about what you can gain if you stop or cut down on drinking; you can gain more energy, become more focused and gain a large amount of health benefits that decrease you risk of cancer and disease.
Too much sugar means extra calories, which causes fat to build up inside the body which can lead to heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes. The best way to get about this one is to ‘Sugar Swap’. Change 4 Life have some amazing tips about how to cut down on your sugar intake which are easy and fun for the whole family. It is amazing how much sugar can easily be consumed in just one day, Change 4 Life’s figures state that the highest contributors to added sugar in the diet of 4 – 10 year olds are:
- 30% from drinks (including 16% from soft drinks)
- 29% from cereal and cereal products (mainly from biscuits, cakes and breakfast cereals)
- 22% from sugar, preserves and confectionery
- 12% from milk and milk products
These figures are quite staggering, and they prove that sugar lies in most of our daily food products; so although you may not be able to cut it our of your diet completely for lent, you can cut it down by avoiding fizzy drinks, chocolate and sweets.
The internet / social media
Giving up social media for lent may sound silly to many people, but the idea of giving up your online profile for lent is becoming increasingly more popular. But I don’t believe that the problem lies with reading countless updates about “Becky’s new hub caps” or “Richard’s live tweets about The Voice”; looking at your favourite websites every half an hour makes you more sedentary. Instead of quitting Facebook, you should aim to just step outside more and see things through your own eyes, not through an Instagram filter. Giving up social media or the internet for lent should naturally make you more active; try stepping away from your computer and heading out for a walk, going for a swim, or playing squash with a friend (try and hold off on the ‘hashtag post swim selfies’ though).
One final thing…if the above are not aspects of your lifestyle that you do not wish to give up for lent, why not give up ‘giving up’. Set yourself a goal, get motivated and challenge yourself to try something new. So let us know what you’ve given up for lent this year via Facebook and twitter, we hope that this post can give you a little push in the right direction.