For most of us the food we eat and the things we do have a symbolic meaning or have significance in our life. If we are making changes (and we are) then it will help if we make changes in other aspects of our life. When a friend of mine wanted to give up smoking he looked not at the cigarettes but where he smoked. At work it was always in the same place. In the evening it was at social occasions or with alcohol. Once that exercise was over he found giving up smoking relatively easy. He avoided those places where temptation would be at its height. Of course there were cravings in the quitting process and the odd setback but overall, breaking the habit and the symbolism helped him reach his goal of quitting smoking in 3 months. You will notice that this was a journey with a sensible timeline not a New Year’s resolution, broken in 2 days but rather a measured approach with goals and a review of habits.
We have formed habits from our infant years as we are taught by our parents and caregivers what type of foods to eat and where these foods are eaten. We will have learned our snack choices and exercise patterns early in life. We know that good habits are as easy to create as bad ones and if we practice bad habits then it is likely we will pass these habits onto our children as well. We are also our own children’s role models and we must teach good patterns early as they are difficult to pick up later.
We have busy schedules, busy lives and busy children. Our eating habits can change and our fast paced live styles often create habits of skipping meals, eating convenience and fast food and finishing your child’s plate, eating on the run whether you are hungry or not.
If we want to succeed in our goals we must plan a healthier lifestyle and diet.
The first place to consider making a change is at the supermarket. You need to find what works best for you. This is what I did and it has worked for me. My average spend at the supermarket was £120.00 a week. I struggled with this bill each week however the kids got what they wanted and I got what I wanted. It was a chore that was completed quickly and with little though. I bought the same foods every week, not once giving thought to planning a meal or to the ingredients. It was not quality food and had little nutrition and it may have said ‘healthy’ on the box but the box was probably the healthiest part. It is easy to tell someone to make changes but it’s much harder to action them ourselves, so take it one step at a time.
I recruited a close friend, and confided in them and was surprised at how much help it was just to tell them my goals. They were enthusiastic and helpful in breaking bad habits and making new habits feel great.
The supermarket overspend
I decided to go to the supermarket with £100.00 in my pocket, not a penny more and no credit card. The embarrassment when I got to the checkout and the bill was a £125.00! I had to put something back and I was mortified.
When I got home and told my friend, she laughed and asked did I have a shopping list. The answer was no, no shopping list. She then asked was I hungry when I went. The answer was yes, I went shopping right after work. I was hungry, tired and unprepared for the psychology of the supermarket.
The solution was to have a fixed time in the week. My friend suggested a Wednesday evening and I was to come home from work, eat, have a shower and be refreshed. This week I was to take £90.00 and a shopping list.
WOW! I followed these simple instructions and I completed my shop with money in my pocket (Wednesday was the day they reduced the prices in the supermarket I shopped in) and I felt really good about myself. I now had a planned shopping list that I was going to use to create nutritious food for my family and because I had planned, there was no wastage of food which in turn was continually saving me money.
I had broken an old habit and formed a new one that made me feel good about myself; I set a new goal of spending no more than £90.00 a week at the supermarket. As an added incentive I opened a savings account with a 7 day withdrawal limit and put £20.00 each week in it and spend £10.00 a week on a treat for myself and the kids.
It is these small changes, small wins that changed my life.
- Plan your shopping list
- A fixed time to go to the supermarket
- A weekly treat for myself or family just because I can
- Leave the credit card at home
- Open a savings account
Whatever your initial goals may be in aiming to make changes to your old habits and find healthier life choices for yourself and your family , take a few minutes to think about your own shopping habits. You may be surprised at the answers.