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Changing Unhealthy Habits: A Silver Lining of COVID-19

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Changing Unhealthy Habits: A Silver Lining of COVID-19

Have you ever heard the old adage “When
life hands you lemons, make lemonade?” The spring of 2020 and the arrival of social
distancing has brought some sour changes to all of us. It’s important to
understand that change affects
everyone, and it is human nature to find change difficult. Humans are creatures of habit and much of
what we do daily—from brushing our teeth to driving to
work—happens without deep thought. When a change in routine occurs, it makes
our brains work harder to adapt and requires focus. So much so, that changing
old habits can be taxing on your mind and the desired change might be abandoned
before the habit sticks.

It’s easy to give up, but it’s also possible to use this
time of change as a springboard and form new habits. Ready to swap out unhealthy
habits for better ones? Let’s get started.

Eating at Home

Restaurant meals can be high in salt, sugar and fat. There are also more temptations to splurge with sugary desserts and high sodium condiments. On average people who cook at home, rather than eating out, consume 205 fewer calories per meal and tend to have healthier overall diets. Finding a healthy, well-balanced meal at a restaurant is still possible. Aim for a special occasion when you support your favorite healthy places. 

Mindful Shopping

This is a great time to break the habit of mindlessly grazing the store aisles for unnecessary, impulsive, expensive items. To maximize your time at the grocery store, embrace meal planning and keep a running grocery list. Now is a good time to go through old cookbooks and create a weekly or monthly meal plan. Consider any special nutrition needs for yourself and your family, then note which ingredients you already have on hand. Stock your pantry and freezer with the five food groups, as well as raw and unprocessed whole foods. An extra benefit is that these items may cost less than buying precooked and ready-to-eat products.

More Time to
Exercise

Now
is a good time to go through your abandoned exercise equipment and clean out
some old workout DVDs. Maybe you will rediscover your love of aerobic
kickboxing or Zumba. Maybe you’re finding you have more time to take advantage
of the surge of new YouTube exercise videos and free training available from Instagram
influencers.

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program, especially if you have been sedentary.

Me Time

A potential
benefit of staying close to home is escaping from the frantic pace of life for
a while. Adapting to a slower pace might mean more time for yourself (a.k.a. me
time) and for your family. To help form a new habit, try writing out a daily to
do list so you get the most out of your day. Personal goals might include learning new skills on the
latest technology so you can connect with loved ones, or decreasing screen time
altogether with a chance to enjoy a good book or creative home project.

Maybe you’re experimenting with some new recipes
from DaVita.com. Make sure to check out one of my favorites—making “lemonade from lemons.”

Lemonade or Limeade Base

References:

  1. https://sliceofkitchen.com/eating-out-vs-cooking-at-home-statistics/
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20057916
  3. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/renaissance-woman/201607/how-change-unhealthy-habits 

Visit DaVita.com and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

This article is for informational purposes only and
is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and
dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health
questions.

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