10 Ways to Curb Your Bad Eating Habits
Hide Your Vices
This step seems fairly simple and obvious, having tempting foods sitting in front of you on a regular basis does not make it easy to avoid them. Foods that are easiest to reach for are the ones you’re more likely to take. Try to avoid buying these foods altogether, but if you must have them in the house, place them somewhere you will not see them often. Out of sight, out of mind! Replace these foods with healthy snack options so that when you are looking for something to snack on you are more likely to make the healthier choice.
Make Small, Manageable Changes
It can be a little overwhelming to completely revamp your diet all at once. This method can work for some people who are ‘all or nothing’ types, but if you’ve tried this method and failed you may want to rethink. Try making small changes, such as drinking more water one week, cutting out soft drinks the next, and including a vegetable in each meal the week afterward. These smaller changes are easier to adapt to, meaning you can use this method to gradually cut out each bad habit and replace them with new ones.
Write a Shopping List
Work off a meal plan if possible and look at what you already have at home so that you can make a list of foods you’ll need for the upcoming week. By using a shopping list you are less likely to waste money on excess food you don’t need and won’t find yourself strolling down aisles trying to remember what you needed. You’ll have all the ingredients on hand for your meals during the week meaning no last-minute dinner plans (which are usually unhealthy choices) because you don’t have ingredients.
Don’t Shop Hungry
This is a simple and effective tip. When you shop hungry, you’re more likely to buy items you are craving such as simple snacks and junk foods. Eating before you shop will make it easier to stick to your shopping list and make healthier choices.
Practice Mindful Eating
Eating while distracted, including while you are on the run or in your car, can cause you to mindlessly overeat as you do not allow yourself enough time to feel full. Instead, try eating at the table without distractions such as TV and practice eating slower and savouring the flavours of the food you are eating. This can help you to determine when you are actually full rather than just eating everything on your plate and can also lead to some great bonding time with family and/or friends.
Change Your Plate Size
It’s amazing how we can trick our mind with plate sizes! Placing your food on a smaller plate or bowl can make the same portion size appear a lot larger stopping you from adding more food and leaving you more satisfied with your meal.
Drink More Water and Avoid Sugary Drinks
Keeping hydrated throughout your day is important for staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. Drinking water can also help fill your stomach without the same calorie burden as a snack and can help tide you over until your next meal.
Calories from sugary drinks like soft drinks and juices easily add up. These are often referred to as empty calories because they generally contain no nutritional value. Instead of consuming excess calories in the form of a drink, try to limit yourself to drinking primarily water. By doing so, you can eat those calories rather than drinking them, leaving you more satisfied and helping you stick to your goals.
Don’t Eat Out of the Bag, Look at Portion Sizes
Have you ever actually measured out the portion size on a packet? You would probably be surprised how small the serving size actually is. You may think that you are doing the right thing by choosing a snack with a small amount of fat and carbohydrates, but instead of having 1 serving you end up eating 4. All those servings add up! Instead of eating straight from the box, bag or container, try measuring out a serving size and placing it in a separate bowl. This will help you understand how much a serving size actually is and stop you from mindlessly eating more servings than you intended.
Meal Plans and Prepped Food
Having a meal plan to follow and prepping your meals in advance are great ways to help you stick to your diet. When you come home at the end of a long day, you might be too tired to cook a healthy meal. Instead of ordering a pizza, why not pull out your already prepped healthy meal and microwave it? Try cooking extra servings of a meal, and place those extra servings in storage containers in the fridge or freezer. Some foods keep better than others, so keep this in mind when you are prepping.
What’s Your Trigger?
Lastly, look at WHY you are eating what you’re eating. Is it because you had a bad day so you feel like you deserve that chocolate? Using food as a coping mechanism does not benefit you in the long run, and can cause more problems than it solves. Start to be mindful of what triggers your bad eating habits, and try to use alternative coping methods. For example, after a rough day, try to get out in the fresh air for a walk or head to the gym and exercise. Both of these activities help to release endorphins which can make you feel much better afterward.
Finally, it’s good to remember that if you slip up on your diet and make a bad choice, it isn’t the end of the world. The day isn’t a write-off, and you haven’t failed. If you do end up eating something you probably shouldn’t have, accept it and move on. Don’t throw out your eating for the rest of the day. Each meal is an opportunity for you to make good choices. Nobody is perfect and eats clean 100% of the time, we’re all human!