If your resolutions to eat healthy are starting to falter, don’t get discouraged. Research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that it can take an average of 66 days to develop a good habit. Even though it can be hard and take conscious effort at first, the payoff of better health is worth it!
“If you get off-track and succumb to a craving, try to forgive yourself and get back on-track,” said Janet Ng PhD, a psychologist with Samaritan Weight Management Institute. “What makes people successful in the long term is their mindset.”
Dr. Ng reports that even people who are successful at managing their weight trip up occasionally, the difference is that they don’t spiral down.
“Cravings will fade with practice as you adjust to a healthier diet,” said Dr. Ng. “We find that people begin to desire the food they eat, so you may think your craving for something like soda will never go away, but it actually does in most cases.”
To help manage cravings, Dr. Ng shares these tips:
- Start small. Dr. Ng reports that small changes are easier to build into daily eating habits. Instead of making a drastic change like eliminating all processed foods, start small by eliminating one serving of processed food each day.
- Write down your purpose. Make a list of two or three reasons why you want to change your eating habits. When cravings hit, review the list so you can remember why you’re making the changes.
- Acknowledge a craving and move on. When a craving hits hard, don’t try to ignore it, advises Dr. Ng. “Step back and observe the craving without acting on it,” she said. “It will pass.”