Sep286 ‘Healthy’ Eating Habits That Aren’t So Healthy

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: eating healthy is tough work. There is literally tons of information out there that can help you get closer to your goals, or detract you.

Certain ‘healthy’ habits that have been touted as good for you are not always such; these so called healthy habits can engrain bad habits. Fortunately, you’ve stumbled upon this blog post, and with it, a lifeboat that can guide you away from the tempest-driven sea of misinformation.

In this little guide, we are going to go over 6 not-so-healthy eating habits that are killing your health & fitness progress, and ways to avoid them.

 

#1. Eating All-Natural Products

Foods that are minimally processed are good. At least, they’re better than highly processed foods. You would think that “all natural” food stuffs are good then, right? The problem arises when we rely on this label and believe that because this is “all natural”, that it must be good, without looking at what is really inside the product.

All natural foods could still be highly processed, calorie-dense, and be loaded with high amounts of saturated fats and sugars. Just because something is natural doesn’t make it good; lightning is ‘natural’, but you wouldn’t want to be struck by it. The term “all natural” is a marketing term, and it allows companies to market their products as healthier.

“Just because something is natural doesn’t make it good; lightning is ‘natural’, but you wouldn’t want to be struck by it.”

Things to Watch Out For

  • All natural sugar. It’s still added sugar.
  • Long ingredient lists. This isn’t necessarily bad, but the less the better.
  • High sodium and/or saturated fat content. No nutrient is truly terrible, but these 2 are already loaded in most of the things we eat, so watch out for high amounts of these guys.

#2.  Dousing Food in Sauces

I like eggs. I like putting ketchup on my eggs. I like putting ketchup on other things too, like burgers and sandwiches, and I like using other condiments as well. Many of us like to add the savory, sweet, or spicy tang of sauces to our meals, but many of us also drown our foods in these sauces. Things like salad dressings, mayo, and other sauces a have a high caloric content and not much else to offer.

Eating that salad is great, but not when you drench it in ranch. Likewise, a giant glob of mayo can easily add 200 or more calories to that fresh turkey burger (or whatever you prefer to put mayo on).

Instead, try to never eat any dressings or sauces again.

Just kidding: try to be aware of how much you’re using, and take a look at the labels on the back. What is a serving size? How many calories are in it? Many sauce toppings or dressings can go a long way, so be frugal with the amount that you use. Also, try different alternatives like extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil for dressings, or using mashed avocado or a lighter sauce for sandwiches. There are many ways to eat healthy and still make food taste good, sometimes it just requires a bit of creativity.

#3. Using Too Big of a Plate

Nothing looks better than a full plate of delicious food, with the wafting smells rising from it, waiting to be devoured. Well, that big plate might be setting you back: larger portions means more calories, which you might not burn off. We tend to fill our plates (it’s something many of do), so the bigger the plate = the bigger the gut.

An easier way to still feel like you’re getting a full serving while eating less is to use smaller dishes. Instead of using that large bowl for your homemade chipotle-meat-salad, use a smaller one to keep the portions more reasonable. Even if you do get seconds, it’ll be with a smaller plate, instead of two large ones.

#4. Eating Too Fast

Many of us are guilty of this: eating our food too fast. Whether we do so unconsciously or because we are rushing, eating too fast can leave you feeling stressed and not as satiated as you’d like, and can cause you to overeat. Because of this, we tend to pick options that allow us to eat quickly without giving it much forethought.

Rather, take your time to eat your food. You don’t need much extra time, either; giving yourself an extra 5 minutes can allow you enough time to enjoy your food, and keep you from overeating. You’ll learn to tune into your ‘hungry’ and ‘satiated’ signals, instead of relying on a stomach-too-full signal. You’ll also reduce stress, because you won’t be rushing through a meal. If you really are in a hurry and don’t have time to sit down and eat, grab a healthier snack like a crunchy apple or some mixed nuts to munch on, and save the larger meal for a time when you can sit down and enjoy it.

#5. Cutting Out Entire Food Groups

Remember this: there are no bad foods, just improper amounts of it (except foods with trans fats, those are terrible). So when the diet you follow tells you to cut out an entire food group, be wary. Of course, the only time you should cut out a food group is if you have a legit medical condition and you’ve consulted with a registered dietician, and they tell you to cut out said food group. If however you are not allergic to gluten or dairy, are not diabetic, or not adverse to any particular food, why cut out an entire range of foods?

Cutting out entire food groups sets up a stigma around those foods, and labels them as “bad”. Remember, there are no bad foods, just improper amounts of it. Focus on the basics: eat lots of veggies, some fruits, lean protein sources, and some whole grains if you want. Dairy, if you want. Eating that occasional donut? Sure, just don’t overdo it.

#6 Eating Clean All. The. Time.

Similar to #5, trying to eat clean all the time can set you up to view certain foods as “dirty” or bad, and others as healthy. Then, one day when you eat a single cookie, you feel guilty about it, and your whole diet – and day – is ruined.

Instead, use the 80/20 rule: 80% of your food should be pretty clean (we’re talking broccoli, not bleach) and 20% can be reserved for more flexible food options. You can change the rule’s percentages, and make it 85/15, or 90/10; the idea is that the bulk of what you eat is traditionally healthy food, while still having a little wiggle room to go out to eat with friends, family, or just to enjoy life’s pleasures.


Try to avoid these common eating pitfalls, dominate your eating habits, and steer your nutritional progress in the right direction!