We all have guilty pleasures that we may not be too proud of, but these habits have been with us for so long that they’re kind of like old friends. They may have gone awry and worn-out their welcome, but we just don’t have the heart to throw them under the bus and abandon them.
These are habits like junk food, smoking, binge drinking, and too much debt from overspending, just to name a few. The road to bad habit salvation is littered with the best intentions from New Year’s resolutions and broken promises due to trying to change our lifestyle through teeth-gritting abstinence.
Rather than absolute cold-turkey denial of some of the bad-boy mainstays of a lifestyle you’ve decided to dump, why not ease into your new, more responsible existence gradually? There are tools to help slowly wean you off the naughty stuff by replacing, rather than denying – why not give them a try?
Getting Some of the Junk out of Snacks and Fast Food
Our ancient human ancestors were grazing mammals. They didn’t sit down, at specified times, to eat. They were nibblers who constantly roamed the Ledi River Valley over 300,000 years ago, seeking nuts and berries and such to munch upon. So the desire for snacking is hardwired into our human DNA.
Now how these nuts and berries from the valleys of Ethiopia became Cheetos cheesy treats is a marketing success story carefully studied by every graduate of the Milton Friedman Chicago School of Economics, however, there are healthier alternatives to satisfy your atavistic snacking needs.
Next time you’re roaming supermarket aisles, searching for morsels to satisfy your oral overindulgence fixation, try taking a turn away from those shiny bags of empty carbohydrates and towards the nuts and almonds section of the store.
In-shell Pistachio nuts are a satisfying snack that is actually good for your heart and can even help you lose weight. The task of removing the nut from the shell will also slow down intake while providing an interesting chore not unlike pushing the buttons on a video game controller.
Whole, unsalted almonds are a wonderful snack treat and a winning combination of satiating fiber, protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that keep you feeling full. Coupled with a few sticks of protein-rich beef jerky to add the salt you may be missing from the almonds and you have the makings for some healthy, satisfying snack intake.
As for fast food, try at least just looking at some of the fresh fruit and salad offerings McDonald’s and the likes have these days. If you can skip the usual cheeseburger and fries just once – who knows? You may end up liking an Apple Pecan Chicken Salad.
Stop Smoking Cigarettes
There are alternatives to burning tobacco and inhaling it into your lungs for nicotine delivery. One is Nicorette gum that you just chew to get the nicotine. Another is the nicotine lozenge that you suck on like Lifesaver candy.
There’s also a new method of delivery in which an electronic device heats up a liquid to make it an aerosol and then this vapor is inhaled into the lungs. This method, commonly known as vaping, gives you the nicotine without all the harmful chemicals you get from tobacco.
If you decide to dump the ciggies and try vaping, you might want to check out one of the new sampler boxes, like ZampleBox’s vape juice box, to find out which vaping taste experience is best for you.
No More Bingeing
If you find you are drinking solely with the purpose of becoming completely drunk and incapacitated, then you need to get help with some sort of rehabilitation program like Alcoholics Anonymous.
But if that’s not the primary reason you intake alcohol, yet you sometimes feel that you drink too much, try using a HAMS Risk Table when you go out for drinks with friends. Little reminders like this can help moderate your drinking pattern and you’ll find you have a much more enjoyable evening out.
Cut the Spending
We live in a consumerist society where we are bombarded with media messages designed to breed anxiety within each of us. The more anxious we are about our position in society, the more we try to buy things to assuage this counterfeit longing for acceptance.
This profligate spending on gadgets we don’t need leads to debt that consumes us. The best way to wean yourself off this type of spending is to concentrate on something you really and truly need. Start saving for that particular item, and nothing else. Once you see your savings pile increase, you’ll find that there is much more satisfaction in that activity, than there could ever be in impulse buying.