Bad eating habits are the saboteurs of a healthy diet. Just as you’re following a healthy meal plan, they pop up when you’re feeling at your lowest (e.g. stressed, sad, angry, etc.) and destroy all the work you’ve done.
This can make it difficult to change to a healthier diet, so here are a couple tips to help you identify and change your unhealthy eating habits.
Skipping Breakfast Breakfast is the most important meal for a reason, but we often forget that between dropping off the kids at school and rushing to work. You’re body needs it to increase blood sugar levels and get your memory and cognitive skills working right. Skipping it leads to snacking, overeating and a disrupted metabolism.
The best time to have breakfast is in an hour of getting up, so start out with as oatmeal, natural yogurt, cereal, whole grain bread, muesli and fruit. Rushed mornings? Look for breakfasts that are easy to make and that you can take with you, such as a cup of yogurt and an energy bar.
Emotional Eating What is the first thing you do to help you deal with a break-up? Well, a lot of people would say that food is their source of comfort. This emotional eating happens when emotions drive you to eat even though you’re not hungry. When they do we look for comfort foods (e.g. pizza, ice cream, etc.) to deal with feelings of stress, sadness, anxiety, boredom and loneliness.
So when you see yourself reaching for that ice cream tub, stop and look for other means of dealing with your emotions that don’t involve food, like taking up a hobby, going to see a movie, exercising or speaking to a friend. If these don’t work start off with a healthier food alternative, like whole grain bread and fruit.
Distracted Eating Have you ever eaten while reading a newspaper, watching television, driving or using your computer? We’ve all done this without knowing how it affects us. All of these take away 2 important things, youre attention and memory. After eating it takes 20 minutes for your brain to tell your stomach it’s full, says the Harvard Health Blog.
If you don’t pay attention while you eat, you’re not processing that information. So you don’t remember how much you ate because it didn’t get stored in your memory, making it easier to eat more in those 20 minutes. So put aside an area just for eating that’s away from any distraction, such as turning off the TV when eating in the lounge.
Snacking at Night It’s 11 at night and you’re finishing a report for work and there it is, that unmistakable urge to eat. So you go to your cupboard, rummage through it and find a packet of potato chips which you then devour. This late night snacking is actually a very bad habit as going to bed after you eat means you will gain more weight because your body stores calories as fat at night.
If those hunger pangs won’t leave you alone at night reach for the right healthy snack such as frozen berries, crackers, multigrain pretzels, popcorn, Greek yogurt and dried figs.
So don’t let your bad eating habits get you down any longer, because now you know how to spot and change your own habits.
Dana Da Silva
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