Chocolate and Netflix, junk food binges and late-night snacking. We all have eating habits that we’re not proud of. Even with the best intentions these sneaky rituals return to our lives and we start repeating the same patterns. Here are some of the most common, careless eating habits that I see from clients and some quick fixes to break the cycle.
Drinking calories. The trend of green smoothies, kombucha and juice making can be incredibly healthy but only in moderation. We don’t need to consume these drinks every day. Tipping down huge glasses of liquid takes away our control of monitoring our fullness. Try reaching for whole fruit instead of juice and sparkling water or a herbal tea instead of a gigantic smoothie.
Eating in. Its’ all too easy to sit back on the couch and have someone make and deliver food right to our door. Even the healthiest meals may be causing trouble. Cooking our own food is always the best way to ensure we get a variety of nutrients. It keeps our calorie and portion sizes in check too. You never know how long food has been pre-prepared for or how many times it’s been reheated. Play it safe and plan some meals ahead of time.
Scoffing food. If you’re one of those people that inhales a block of chocolate before your brain even registers you grabbed it then this is a deal breaker. Eating quickly stops our stomach from signalling our brain that it’s full. It’s often related to emotional eating and long-developed habits. Try to recognise what triggers this behaviour. Serve yourself a small portion and sit down and eat it mindfully.
Distracted eating. We’re all guilty of scrolling through emails as we munch and crunch. Instead of focussing on your Instagram feed try and think about what you’re feeding yourself so you can enjoy every mouthful and register what you eat. Always stop and sit down and grab a glass of water to sip in-between bites.
Endless snacks. If you’re pantry and bench top is laden with snacks, then you’re in trouble. It doesn’t matter how healthy these snacks might be, if you’re a constant grazer then you’ll lose track of what you’re gobbling. Put your snacks out of reach and avoid being the person that snarfs down everyone’s leftovers. Enjoy three main meals and small, controlled snacks in-between.
Breakfast skipping. We’re all time poor and sometimes by the time you roll out of bed and try and get yourself and possibly others ready, good old breaky can be overlooked. Research has consistently shown that this is the meal that kickstarts our metabolism and always sets the scene for the day. Even if it’s only a few pieces of fruit and a glass of water do not miss this meal.
Behaviour change is hard. On average it takes a person 65 days to break a bad eating habit. Keep persisting with the change you want to make. Even if you have a setback stay motivated and try again. Use others to support you by asking them to hold you to account if they see you sliding and write your goals down. It’s best to take small steps and be kind to yourself along the way.
No one is perfect and even dietitians have been known to knock back too many wines or hoover hamburgers and chips. If you find yourself regularly swilling from the cereal box or devouring chocolate in bed it might be time to reassess those habits though. You often don’t break a bad habit. You simply replace it with a good one.