Often, many of our eating habits are established during childhood, but that doesn’t mean that it’s ever to late to change them.
Healthy eating habits to lose weight doesn’t always mean a totally radical change to your eating habits.
Yes, it’s true that this can lead to short term weight loss, but for the long term goal, we need to be more aware of what we eat and make a conscious effort to eat the right foods.
So a good way to think about the foods we eat and an excellent way for permanently improvement, sometimes means a different approach and something I call the 3 ‘R’s (No, not Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic !), but Reflect, Replace and Reinforce …. Here’s what I mean !
REFLECT – Grab yourself a pen and paper, think about and jot down your specific eating habits, whether they are good OR bad and include what triggers those bad or unhealthy eating patterns.
REPLACE – This is obviously where you make a note of your bad eating habits and replace them with a healthier option. Making a conscious decision to eat healthier is a huge step and one that you know you can achieve.
REINFORCE – By doing these steps and taking action, you are reinforcing the change in a brand new healthy way of living and compounding your efforts for change.
Now, I know it’s all well and good saying Reflect, Replace and Reinforce, but how on earth, do you go about doing that ?
A plan is always good, so let’s set out some foundations for you, to get you off to a great start …
A Process For Healthy Eating Habits To Lose Weight
List Your Eating Habits – Yes, I know it’s boring, but keep yourself a food diary, just for a few days. Note everything you both eat AND drink along with the time of day.
This will help you realistically see your eating habits. You could discover that you often reach for a sweet treat, say mid-afternoon to give you a ‘pick-me-up’ during a lull in the daytime.
It’s also a good idea to note down how you were feeling at the time – Are you truly eating because you were hungry, tired, stressed !
Note Your Habits – Some of the things that can often lead to weight gain are:-
- Eating quickly (Slow down and enjoy your food – It won’t evaporate)
- Finishing everything on your plate (Eat until you’re full)
- Eating for the sake of eating (Are you really hungry, or just eating for the sake of eating ?)
- Standing up and eating (Are you a store cupboard nibbler ?)
- Skipping certain meals (maybe breakfast)
Monitor Your Eating Habits – So now you made a note of those bad eating habits, make sure you’ve also noted the cause.
If you see yourself doing lots of those things on the list above, it’s best to tackle just one or two of them at a time, otherwise you’ll surely get overwhelmed !
As well as the bad habits, it’s also a good idea to give yourself praise for the good eating behaviours too, such as eating fruit / vegetables, having low-fat or fat-free milk, drinking plenty of water.
Noticing good eating and drinking patterns is good for your self esteem too, as it’ll encourage more positive changes, further down the line.
What Are Your Emotional Triggers ?
We touched on this above, but by being more aware of where and when you are ‘triggered’ to eat, other than feelings of hunger and noting what our ’emotional state is, helps us to deal with the reasons for wanting to eat, just for the sake of eating.
I often get the munchies during an evening while watching TV and there are often lots of ‘Take Away’ ads running, designed to make you feel hungry, even though I’ve eaten my supper, less than 2 hours ago (I am often a little more tired during the evening and this could be the trigger for me) –
You have to sometimes switch off from the ‘external noise’ and influences of advertising and say to yourself that I have had my quota for today and don’t need any more intake, as that will lead to unnecessary weight gain !
I know it’s hard to do and the reasons are different for everyone, but by being aware, makes you more in control !
Replace Unhealthy Eating Habits With Healthy Ones – So once you’ve reflected on those bad eating habits, this is where you get to be a little creative … Try a few of these ideas to help you make big differences to your eating habits
- If you eat too fast when you’re alone, maybe invite a friend or neighbour over for dinner
- Try putting your fork down between bites and really enjoying each mouthful
- Finish eating when you’re full and not always when the plate is empty
- Having smaller dinner plates and weighing out food portions
- Eat when you’re hungry, rather than when tired, anxious, emotional, bored
- Plan your meals in advance, so you can plan for a healthy meal, rather than a quick unhealthy take-away
Reinforcing Your New, Healthy Eating Habits And Be Patient
Like any new habit, they take time to develop and it’s not a quick fix. If you find yourself slipping back, try and stop yourself as quickly as you can and again question why you may be going back to your old ways.
>Don’t beat yourself up over it, as that’s never a good thing and taking things a day at a time, means you will get there, plus you’ve got me right behind you, encouraging you on, every step of the way.
I hope you’ve found these ‘Health Eating Habits to Lose Weight’ useful and would love to know your thoughts on what your triggers are and maybe steps you’ve tried, which have helped lead towards a healthier lifestyle for you !
Got any comments about this article, I’d love to hear … Please leave me a message in the comments box below 🙂