This is a continuation of the previous post Easy Ways to Get Rid of the Bad Habits That Affect Your Health in which I shared 3 general techniques to change bad habits. This post is slightly different, but it can be complemented with the previous one. As the tittle suggests, the tips below are more focused on how to change bad eating habits. Changing eating habits isn’t easy though, so to make changes that stick you’ll want to use these tidbits of advice to cement your new way of fueling your body into place.
- Keep a record of the food you eat and what you drink for at least a week. This will help you constructively judge your eating habits and identify areas for change, as well as make you accountable for your food choices. Studies have shown this to be one of the vital components to successful diet changes and weight loss.
- Eat slowly so that you can allow your body the time to signal that you’re full and to be much more satisfied by the flavor of the food.
- No need to count calories and measure portion sizes. Be more concerned with making food choices that are in their most natural state (vegetables, fruits, grains, pulses, unprocessed meats and much more), and including a wide range of color and variety.
- It’s good to have a long-term plan of how you’d like to be feeding your body, but you’ll be most successful if you make small changes over time. For example, if you would like to be consuming more vegetables, start by preparing an array of raw vegetables that you have on hand to snack on and make this your main goal for the week. Then the following week, you may want to start creating some dinner recipes that are focused on more healthy ingredients. Little by little you will be building new habits that will stick.
- Drink water regularly throughout the day. Not only does water flush toxins and waste products out of the body, it also helps you feel more energetic, gets you thinking more clearly, improves the appearance of your skin and helps you to feel less hungry. If you’re not drinking around 8 glasses of water a day, make this one of your first diet changes to implement.
- Moderation is the key to any diet so don’t feel like you can never enjoy your favorite sugar-laden treat or enjoy the convenience of fast-food. Just don’t make it your regular routine. As well, use the concept of moderation and balance with portion sizes. Don’t fill your plate with a high-carb portion of pasta and only include a small serving of low-carb vegetables. Although carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, they are often over consumed and not conducive to your body’s optimum performance or in managing a healthy weight.
- Try not to be eating anything within 4 hours of going to sleep. Studies suggest that this simple dietary change is beneficial for the digestive system and in avoiding the high fat/high calorie snacking that often occurs after the last meal of the day.
- Learn to like the good sources of fat. Fat tends to get a bad reputation for being the main instigator of weight gain, but it’s really over-consumption (mainly over-consumption of high carbohydrate foods) that cause weight gain and sluggish body processes. Get well educated on the good sources of fat that are so vital to the nourishment of your body. Just a couple of excellent options are: nuts & seeds, plant oils, avocados, fish, peanut butter (with just peanuts) and tofu.
- Protein is an energy packed element of a balanced diet. It’s integral to the building of muscle and gives the body a great energy kick along with other healthful benefits, but there also seems to be a tad too much emphasis on the protein portion of the meal on the average plate, specifically when it comes to meat protein. It’s not the protein part of the meat that’s the problem though it’s what comes along with the protein, which means you should limit red meats and avoid all processed meats. No need to think about taking meat right out of your diet, especially if you enjoy it, but get familiar with consuming a healthy portion and eating the leanest cuts of unprocessed meat.
- Limit sugar and salt and recognize all the hidden sources of these health threats. Although it can be a given that consuming too much sugar and salt isn’t ideal, the biggest hurdle is being informed enough to realize all the places these veiled ingredients are hiding. For the most part, your food sources are going to start becoming more and more natural but there will still be opportunities for the sugar and salt to sneak their way into your meals without you even realizing it. Keep in mind that salt is commonly used to cure meats and to preserve canned foods and commonly referred to as sodium. The table below reveals some of the alternate terms for sugar:
Note: Ingredients that contain any of the above words in them can be considered a sugar product as well.
One last tip. Remember that accountability is key to changing bad habits, so find yourself someone who you know will help you stay on track.
Remember to leave your comments, questions, and suggestions.