It’s Ragnar RACE WEEK!!! I’m so nervous! Today is the day to start getting my list of things to pack written – sleeping bag and pad, headlamps, running clothes (3 sets), snacks, coolers, medications.
The other half of the stress is making arrangements for kids to be driven to soccer practice, soccer games, picked up from school etc. Sometimes the planning for the kids hardly makes taking time for myself worth it but we all need that time to do something fun and crazy. I’m not sure running a 200 mile relay race is fun and crazy but I’m about to find out! I’m sure at midnight when I have to wake up to run 4miles I’ll be questioning my sanity. 😜🤣😲
I was recently listening to a podcast about the Longevity Project, a documentary looking at centenarians around the world. One common theme is food is love, food is community. A lot of time is spent on acquiring and preparing food by the community and also consuming the food in a community setting.
I bring this up now because I mentioned to my husband that I was going to make a beefstew (kids favorite) on Wednesday for the kids to eat Thursday and Friday when they get home. He thinks I spoil them and should let them fend for themselves. While they wouldn’t starve and would find something to eat, I see it as a labor of love to have a good, nutritious meal for them to eat while I’m away.
In a different podcast, the interviewer speculated that at some point in the US, cooking and being in the kitchen was seen as a negative. You had advertisements from the food industry to get quick, prepared meals so that you didn’t have to slave in the kitchen. Cooking was made into a chore that we should all avoid.
I know I do not like to cook. I think mostly from a lack of confidence in the kitchen. Maybe one day I’ll take that summer long cooking class I’m dying to take.
So would you let the kids fend for themselves or would you make them something yummy to have in your absence? The stew is going to take me 30min to prep tops.
Have you ever tried to instill a new habit…and failed? (New Year’s resolutions anyone?!)
In reality, most of us have been in this disappointing situation, but rather than beating ourselves up, it’s far better to understand what it truly takes to form a new habit, so next time we can act from a position of knowledge, which will boost our chances of success.
First let’s examine the ‘truths’ we’ve been lead to believe, and see if they really stack up.
You’ve probably heard the saying that it takes 21 days to form a habit. It has become one of those meme-worthy ‘facts’ that we fully accept at face value, without ever wondering if it’s even true!
But did you know there is NO scientific data to back up the 21-day habit-forming claim?
It’s actually based on anecdotal evidence from the plastic surgery patients of one doctor, and the claim itself dates back to the 1950’s
You can read more about why that study lead us all in the wrong direction for decades in the article published by the University College London (UCL) entitled, “Busting the 21 days habit formation myth.”
Researchers at the University College London did a much more scientific study of the timing around habit formation that was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.
“Participants performed a self-chosen health-promoting dietary or activity behavior (e.g. drinking a glass of water) in response to a once-daily cue (e.g. after breakfast), and gave daily self-reports of how automatic (i.e. habitual) the behavior felt. Participants were tracked for 84 days.”
What Is the real answer to how long it takes to form new habits?
According to the UCL study, they found it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. But that it can vary widely based on the individual and their unique circumstances. For one person it took just 18 days, whereas another person didn’t manage to form a habit within the whole 84-day study, but was projected to do so after as long as 254 days.
So what does this all mean for us?
In a nutshell, to give ourselves a higher chance of success we need to reset those habit-forming expectations for a lot longer than 21 days!
Look at it this way. The 66 day average for instilling a new habit would mean our New Year’s Resolutions would start sticking around March 6th.
Most of us give up long before this date…but this clearly shows we need to stick with it.
So what can you do to stack the odds in your favor to form new habits?
There are four simple strategies we recommend, to succeed with your new habits in a way that not only produces stronger formed, longer lasting habits but also does it in less time!
1. SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
The Health Psychology Review wrote, “Habits are automatic behavioral responses to environmental cues, thought to develop through repetition of behavior in consistent contexts.”
If we give ourselves the right environments and triggers and place ourselves in the right set of circumstances, we can dramatically improve our chances for success.
For example, if you want to set a new habit of eating healthy food instead of fast food you need to tell the rest of the family so they’re all on board and have a plan of what you’re going to eat to replace that fast food in your diet.
Likewise, if you want to start working out in the morning before breakfast have your workout clothes laid out ready the night before so it becomes automatic to put them on, and workout.
2. GOOD OLD REPETITION
There is a good reason why studies focus on the amount of time it takes to form new habits, as persistence over a time period is a key element of creating repetition-forming behaviors.
If you tell yourself that forming your new habit IS going to take at least a couple of months, then you’ve given yourself the right realistic expectations from the start.
How we frame our expectations is one of the biggest motivators to either continue or stop anything in life that we are trying to accomplish…so why would forming habits be any different?
3. WHAT BEATS OUT MENTORSHIP FOR ACCOMPLISHING ANY GOAL?
Research by psychologist Robert Cialdini and Tim Church, MD shows that finding a buddy who can work with you is one of the best ways to accomplish change. This is a very healthy form of peer pressure, that can actually work better than even mentorships.
So grab yourself an accountability partner and improve your chances of success.
4. GET THE RIGHT MINDSET
The British Journal Of Social Psychology wrote an article entitled, “Beyond frequency: Habit as mental construct.”
Here’s an excerpt from the article, “A habit seems to be accompanied by an enduring cognitive orientation, which we refer to as “habitual mindset.”
This makes good sense, right? If we don’t have the right mindset towards accomplishing our new habit forming behaviors then how can we ever expect to accomplish them. Habit formation isn’t about repetition alone. If we don’t go in with a winning mindset, then we can’t expect the results we really want.
So what’s next?
Well, now that you know the truth…tap into these 4 winning strategies and GET EXCITED!
New success habits are literally around the corner for you. What would your life be like if in a couple of months you could have your biggest new habit goal impacting your future?
I believe the answer to that question is that habit formation is life changing in the short term, just not quite as short as those 21 days we once thought.
Good luck on your new habits and what you know you can accomplish.
- The Huffington Post – https://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-clear/forming-new-habits_b_5104807.html
- University College London – http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0908/09080401 & http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/bsh/2012/06/29/busting-the-21-days-habit-formation-myth/
- European Review Of Social Psychology Journal – https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14792779943000035 & https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ejsp.674
- British Journal Of Social Psychology – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1348/014466605X49122
- Health Psychology Review – https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17437199.2011.603640
- Inc. Magazine – https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/what-beats-a-mentor-an-accountability-partner.html
Happy Monday!!! I hope your day is going well! I’m recovering from a stomach bug or food poisoning. It wasn’t horrible but enough to make me feel poorly. I did spend some time this weekend meal prepping. I made my leek and cauliflower soup but I need to get my proteins together. I had never thought of it as having a choice of proteins and a choice of veges to mix and match until I saw this article! Then I thought – DOH – I’ve got to share this! This is how I meal prep!
The short story is to get cook 3-4 different proteins, 5-6 vegetables, 3-4 clean carbs, some healthy fats (avocado is my fav) and then mix and match these each day to keep it interesting!!! This helps to keep variety in your diet and keeps you from getting bored.
baked chicken breasts
raw baby carrots
mini bell peppers
sautéed brussels sprouts
steamed baby zucchini
bananas (not shown)
mixed berries (not shown)
baked sweet potatoes
oatmeal (not shown)
balsamic vinaigrette dressing
Check out Amanda’s article to see how she put all these together each day to make tasty but varied meals!
Kale and broccoli are two powerhouse vegetables! EAT your greens, people! I needed a new Kale recipe to add to my menu. If you are following autoimmune protocol, omit the hazelnuts and cheese.
Kale is loaded with fiber which aids in digestion. It is also high in iron, VitK, calcium and Vit K. Most of us deal with some level of inflammation in our bodies due to stress, lack of sleep, food intolerances and autoimmune disease. Kale is also high in Omega-3 fatty acid which is anti-inflammatory. Quercetin, a key ingredient found in the Beachbody Performance line, is found in large amounts in kale! It is a flavonoid that is thought to reduce inflammation following exercise, and support energy production by increasing mitochondria.
So try adding this new kale recipe to your menu plan!!! Comment below what you think of this recipe!
(This recipe first appeared on the Team Beachbody Blog) with photos by Kirsten Morningstar.
Fresh and crunchy, this isn’t an ordinary salad. It features thinly sliced ribbons of kale with an often overlooked vegetable, broccoli stems. The next time you use broccoli florets in a recipe, instead of discarding the stems, you’ll want to save them for this deeply satisfying salad. It’s topped with toasted hazelnuts and sharp manchego cheese. Sautéed leeks with lemon juice and olive oil create a rich dressing (and also tastes lovely as a sauce on fish).
Tip: After you slice the kale and before you add it to any other ingredients, squeeze it roughly in your hands as though you were crumpling a paper bag. This “massage” makes it more tender and easier to digest.
Tip: This recipe uses a simple technique to remove the skins from the hazelnuts. After a few minutes of toasting on a baking sheet in the oven, the skins easily rub off with a towel. It’s worth the extra step; removing the slightly bitter skins make the nuts sweeter.
Kale and Broccoli Matchstick Salad with Hazelnuts
Total Time: 34 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 19 min.
Yield: 4 servings, about ¾ cup each
¼ cup raw hazelnuts
1 lb. fresh kale, stems and ribs removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
3 broccoli stems, peeled, cut into matchstick-sized pieces (about 1 cup)
Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) (to taste; optional), divided use
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium leeks, whites and tender greens only, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
¼ cup shredded Manchego (or Pecorino Romano or Parmesan) cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Place hazelnuts on baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel to cool. Rub off skins and discard; coarsely chop nuts. Set aside.
3. Place kale and broccoli in a medium bowl. Season with salt if desired; mix well. Set aside.
4. To make dressing, heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
5. Add leeks; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender.
6. Add lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper if desired; mix well.
7. Top kale mixture with dressing, hazelnuts, and cheese; mix well.
Several of my friends have been asking about the new World Health Organization report that eating red meat increases your risk of cancer. Processed meat was rated a definite human carcinogen and red meat was rated a possible human carcinogen. If you want to read the original report, you can find it here.
What does this really mean for our day to day eating? If you’re vegetarian/vegan, you’re probably wagging your finger saying, “I told you so!” HA HA HA. Food recommendations from the WHO, the USDA, etc often have a political agenda. Statistics are often used and mis-used to confuse and befuddle the public. I try to find several trusted viewpoints and make my own conclusion. (If you want to skip to the punch line, scroll down to the bottom.)
I immediately went to Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s website. I have followed her nutrition advice in dealing with my autoimmune diseases for some time. She is known for her scientific research of autoimmunity and the autoimmune protocol nutrition plan. As expected, she already had an article posted with links to scientific research. If you want to read it, you can find the article at The Paleo Mom. She addresses the very legitimate concerns about eating processed meats and red meats. What the media will not tell you in the never-ending quest for attention-grabbing headlines is that studies also support that eating a diet rich in vegetables mitigates many of the negative effects of eating red meat. The rest can be decreased significantly by how you cook it. Also, the diet of the animal as well as it’s living conditions greatly influences the health benefits or detriments of red meat. The short of it is, know where you food comes from. If at all possible, buy from local farms that have pastured, 100% grass feed cows. I think research soundly indicates that processed meats are just bad for you and should be avoided.
Mark Sisson addresses some of the statistical analyses and the differences in the categories in his post on his blog, Mark’s Daily Apple. Oh gee how I hated statistics in graduate school. The media often uses statistics to confuse us and I think they often don’t understand the numbers! For example, the risk of colorectal cancer in the general population is 1.8%. There was a 17% increase in this risk by eating 100gm or about 1/4 pound of red meat each day. So now your actual risk is 2.1%, which is a 17% increase from 1.8%. If your risk had increased by 100%, then your actual risk would now be 3.6% i.e. doubled. So your actual risk of colorectal cancer is still relatively small. It’s worth minimizing for sure.
So, you don’t have time to read the literature yourself and you just want me to summarize it for you? Ok!
- Whenever possible, go for grass-fed, pastured beef. The meat will have anti-oxidant properties since these animals were eating grass rather than grains. They require much less antibiotics since they are healthier overall having eaten a diet their bodies were meant to eat. I buy a wonderful chuck roast pictured here and I cut it to make a beef stew. It has so much more flavor than grain-fed beef stew cubes that you can buy in the supermarket and it is healthier for you. I know those food labels are confusing so here’s a good article explaining the difference between grass-fed and pastured beef.
- Use gentler cooking methods to reduce production of carcinogens. Grilling season is over for us but next year, I will definitely be trying some marinades to reduce the carcinogens created in my grilled dinners.
- Eat your vegetables people! Nature gave us protection from the dark side of beef! Eat it! I have Kale, baby spinach, swiss chard in my breakfast shake everyday! One of my fav dishes is braised kale and carrots! If you want to try it, I use my pressure cooker but you can easily do this on the stove.
- If you deal with autoimmune disease as I do, you definitely want to be purchasing grass-fed, pastured beef. Since you want to eat foods which minimizes inflammation. Be sure to eat your leafy green vegetables at every meal!
I just started reading the book Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health by Denise Minger. I’m just in the first chapter but so far it is an engaging read. If you’ve read it or will read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!
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