What you gain when you give up

Most mottos in life revolve around persevering. From motivational posters with slogans of praise to high school career counselors that encourage people to follow their dreams, our country is founded in the belief that never giving up will make us successful. That is all true. However, when it comes to making healthy choices, giving up, such as on bad habits, has never sounded so good!

People make resolutions or vows about food all the time. Winter, one of the most calorific times of the year to pack on the pounds, has a slew of opportunities to give up certain foods. Most famously is New Year’s Day, filled with resolutions to start the year off right with a diet or exercise program. This method works for some, but not all.

The religious, or those who just want to be a part of a period of repentance, choose Lent as another time to make resolutions. Lent, a Christian solemn observance period lasting six weeks ends on Easter Sunday. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer—through prayer, penance, repentance and almsgiving. It marks the death and resurrection of Jesus. For so many, it is a time to practice self-denial, thus, a time when people start diets or give up certain unhealthy foods.

No matter what your reasons are for giving up certain foods or bad habits, it’s important to know what you stand to gain. For starters, when one substitutes a bad habit or food with a good one, they find that their whole attitude begins to change. Cutting out the negative in one’s life provides a feeling of elation, achievement, empowerment and an overall sense of importance.

Common on the list of things to give up are fast food, sodas and sugary drinks and chocolate (though there are some benefits to maintaining a well-portioned chocolate relationship.) Below is a list of popular food items and the calories saved by giving them up.

Soda – Commonly referred to as the empty calorie beverage. Cut out one soda a day for a month and save about 4,500 calories. Your body may take a few days to adjust to lower sugar levels, but ultimately, it will thank you.

French Fries – So salty, so savory, so addictive! Giving up just an order a week will save diners about 540 calories.  But don’t stop there, when you ditch the whole meal, just once a week, you can save more than a thousand unwanted calories.

Fast Food – You want it fast and you want it fried, but do you really want those additional calories that are just waiting to go to your thighs? Cut out a meal, once a week for four weeks, and deny about 4,000 calories.

Ice Cream – It doesn’t matter what season it is, ice cream is delicious. But when cutting calories matters, recognizing how much sugar and unwanted fat is in that sweet, creamy treat might have you thinking twice. Giving up just one bowl of vanilla ice cream can save you about 230 calories. Add a few more calories the more topping-loaded your ice cream gets.

Cutting out drinks such as alcohol (127 calories per drink, per day) and specialty coffees (about 250 calories per day) helps you feel better and can improve your mood over time.

There are a host of other foods and drinks that people give up during certain times of the year. If you can, stick with your resolutions or periods of self-denial. You just may begin to the see a new you emerging!

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