Giving up Ribena for Lent: The big benefits of a small change

Even the smallest changes can add up.
Two years ago for Lent I gave up drinking Ribena with meals. I think I must have taken up the Ribena habit when my children were young as it’s not something I’ve always drunk. I had it as a child, so there may have been a trip-down-memory-lane thing about it.

The change I made for Lent 2017 was to change what I drank with my evening meal. I swapped my glass of Ribena for a glass of tap water, which was at the time an unwelcome change, as the water tasted really bland after the sweet fruity taste of the squash. I didn’t like drinking water instead, but because I’d told people I was giving up Ribena (everyone else had given up something and I just did this to fit in, tbh) I stuck to it. And by the end of Lent 2017 I really didn’t miss it any longer. I haven’t drunk it since.

What have I saved?
I’ve added up what this tiny tweak to my drinking habits has meant in the two years since. Compared with my previous daily habit, this single change in the last 730 days has seen me:

Consume 7,300 fewer calories
Consume 1.68 kg less sugar
Save £104.58 on un-bought Ribena.

In fact, it seemed to be only me that was keeping the fruit squash drinking going in our house, as I haven’t bought Ribena since, and no-one has complained. Unless grudges are being secretly harboured, this one small change has been pretty painless all round.

Small changes are the easiest to make
It doesn’t have to be Lent to make a single habit change. You can do it any time. It takes approximately 66 repetitions of a behaviour for it to become a habit (though there is of course variation depending on the complexity of the habit), but I reckon my Ribena habit was kicked within the 40 days of Lent, because as far as I recall I didn’t want to take it up again and I have not missed it since. I’m happy with tap water with meals now.

What particular eating or drinking habit do you want to change?
Be as specific as possible so that you’re just focusing on this one change, and maximising your chances of success.
There’s much more on how to change unhelpful eating habits in my book “How to Retrain Your Appetite: Lose weight eating all your favourite foods”.

If you want to feel accountable for the habit change you decide to focus on, email me and tell me what habit you’re going to focus on changing at
And then let me know how you get on!

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