Apr205 Easy Ways To Build Better Eating Habits

Leading a healthier lifestyle is simple: eat the right foods in the right amounts, stay physically active, sleep well, and reduce your stress. And while it may be simple, no one ever said it was easy.

Just like the saying “there is more than one way to skin a cat” goes, there are countless diets and programs that are designed to help get you to that “healthier” you. While those programs are not bad, many of them require big change like cutting out certain food groups or totally disrupting your eating habits. Changing habits is tough work; it’s best to make small changes over time that add up to something big. Well in this post, we are going to make it easy for you by explaining five simple ways to change eating habits for the better (without any gimmicky fad diets), that you can do right now without much hassle.

 

Slow it Down

A very simple way to curb poor eating habits is to slow down on eating your food, especially if you tend to suck up your food so fast that it would make James Dyson jealous.

Eating too fast can make it hard for you to feel full, and studies show that eating slowly can help curb hunger, because you give your body time to feel satiated. So eating slower can help curb over-eating, which in turn can help keep those extra pounds off. Slowing down the eating process can also reduce stress, because you are actually giving yourself time to breath in-between bites. Of course, this is only one part of weight loss, and this alone won’t help you lose a large amount of weight; but what it does the best is help build a better relationship with food.

Too often people scarf down their food, without really thinking about it; food just tastes good and there are more urgent things you could be doing, so you try to eat in a hurry. Rather, next time you eat, take an extra 5 minutes to eat your meal. While you are eating, try to chew slowly and truly appreciate the taste, what it does for you, and maybe even think about where it came from. You might learn to love foods that you otherwise thought tasted bad, like *ahem* vegetables.

 

Remove Distractions

As fun as it is to watch your favorite show or movie while eating, it may actually be hurting your goals. Anytime we watch TV, movies, or something on our phones, it serves as a distraction; while nothing is inherently wrong with that while we are eating, for some it may exacerbate the issue of eating too fast or it won’t allow you to truly appreciate your meal. That same focus you give to your show should be given to your food as well. Plus, if we are watching an exciting action movie, we might eat at the same pace as the film; fast and furious.

Again, it’s not inherently bad to be on your phone or watch TV while eating, but if you notice that your food disappears before you can even enjoy that TV show, try shutting off the electronics. Instead, try eating at the table with the only distraction being a good book or the company of a loved one.

 

Think Before You Eat

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you’re eyeing that doughnut, wanting to taste that succulent ring of power – although this ring won’t help you enslave all of middle earth. You’ve told yourself you’re limiting sweets, but this can’t hurt; after you eat it, you feel guilty about eating it. Well, you’re not alone, as many people tend to eat without thinking about it. Actually it’s part science as well: according to some experts, we crave fat, sugar, and salt (the things that junk food is usually comprised of) because it’s in our genes. Those nutrients were scarce back in the day, so when we taste it our body starts sending signals to stock up on it.

So that’s why junk food tastes so good, but how do you resist the craving to eat it? Well one way that might help is to ask yourself how you’re going to feel after you eat it. For example: instead of popping open that bag of chips, think about how it will make you feel after you’ve eaten it, what good it will actually do you, and other healthier options that will do more for you.

This is not to say that the occasional doughnut or cupcake is bad; but moderation is key. Staying consciously aware of what you’re putting into body instead of going off your initial reaction can help curb poor choices. You could also easily find better options that are just as tasty.

 

Meal Prepping

Almost everyone has heard of this tip: meal prepping. Unlike doomsday prepping, it does not involve any building of bunkers or hoarding of toilet paper. It’s also not just for bodybuilders or athletes; anyone who lives a busy lifestyle (pretty much everyone) can benefit from planning your meals. Simply planning 1 or 2 days ahead can really help you stay on track. It doesn’t have to be boring either: get creative and make something that is equally nutritious and enjoyable.

If you’re one to rather pay extra for convenience in order to save you the time, you can also buy prepared meals from meal prep companies. Unlike fast food, these businesses prepare meals for the busy person looking to eat healthy and nutritious food. Usually these meals are designed with an active lifestyle in mind. Depending on the company, you might pay weekly or monthly for a few days worth of ready-to-eat meals; just heat and eat! Check in your area for local meal prep companies if you want to go that route.

 

Make Healthy Eating a “Game”

This one, in my opinion, is the most fun. Instead of looking at eating healthy as a chore, try to change your perspective on the task.

If you’ve ever played a video-game, you might know that most games revolve around the character you play as. Besides making progress in the story, throughout the game you try to level up your character by gaining “experience points” or XP. You get XP from completing tasks or missions (e.g., slaying the occasional dragon or troll). Well, take that same concept and use it in real life: “level up” yourself by gaining XP from eating more veggies, decreasing sugar consumption, or tracking food in a journal. After so many points, you could even allow yourself to go up 1 level. You could also use this system for your workouts as well. Tally up all your points in a journal,  and when you look back at your progress I guarantee you’ll see a difference.

Doing this may sound a little weird, but sometimes you have to have a little fun, right? Making healthy changes into a game instead of seeing it as a chore is a mindset shift, one that will help you more than you think.

 

Final Word

There are countless other ways to try and change dietary habits, but these are easy enough that they shouldn’t cause you to pull your hair out, and should fit in any lifestyle. Overtime, these small changes will accumulate like a snowball and can help you make bigger changes later on. So give em’ a try!