7 tips to break bad eating habits

In order to break bad habits, you have to avoid being “lead into temptation”. Figuring out what these triggers are and then severing all ties with them is the best way forward.

This is by no means easy – think about how long you have been eating this way. It’s probably been quite a while. We understand that this process can take some time.

The most important step is to make the decision to break the bad habit. Once your mind is on board, the rest is a little easier.

It might be an idea to track your progress for the first week. Each time the need or want to eat badly comes up – write down the situation, the trigger, the feeling – so that you can get a better idea of why you have been eating badly. This could help you to change your eating habits.

Here are some other tips to get you onto the healthy eating track:

Remove all temptation

Remove all the foods in your house that will tempt you to eat badly. Don’t think that your willpower is strong enough because sometimes this won’t be the case and you will end up tucking into the cheat food and more often than not land up berating yourself, which will make you feel even worse.

Choose what you drink carefully

It’s safe to assume that most of us overindulged over the festive season. By deciding to drink healthier options (with water being the best option) instead, you are choosing to be kinder to your body. Alcohol puts a strain on many organs, and also lowers inhibitions, which makes it that much harder to stick to resolutions or goals. If you choose to drink alcohol rather go for spirits like whiskey and vodka with water or soda, instead of heavily sugared drinks. It’s easy to convince yourself that the goals aren’t as important as you thought they were or that you will start again tomorrow. But, putting it off is not doing you any favours.

Plan meals and don’t eat on the run

As the saying goes, “if you fail to plan you plan to fail”. Planning is key, especially when it comes to forming new healthy eating habits. If your job keeps you on the move a lot – try and prepare meals that are easy to eat on the go. If you know that you will be getting home late and will be too tired to cook, rather get the dinner prep underway before you leave for work in the morning.

Sometimes you might be in the situation where you absolutely have to eat on the run – choosing a meal with 5g or less of carbs per 100g is best, but also take into consideration what the carbs are made of i.e. corn starch, wheat, etc. Even a bag or package of veggies or a sachet of soup can contain many nasties.

Don’t eat out of a box/ bag/ can – cook!

Don’t snack, rather eat three meals a day (or when you are hungry). Food out of a box, bag or can is designed to last. Therefore, these foods will more than likely contain something that will not be entirely beneficial for your body.

Read the labels of packaged foods well. You will soon educate yourself on how much sugar, preservatives, etc. go into the pre-packaged foods so that you will be even more resolved to avoid them.

By cooking or preparing all of your own meals, you will essentially avoid anything undesirable going into your body. You are in charge of what goes into your body - so make what you eat count. What you eat will dictate how you live the rest of your life.

Change your mindset

It’s important to approach this with the mindset that it’s not a quick fix diet, but rather a change in your overall lifestyle. Changing your mindset is very important when it comes to breaking a bad habit. If you feel like you are on a diet and that you are deprived, breaking a bad habit will not be easy. Look at it like a positive and healthy lifestyle change and focus on all the delicious foods that you can prepare and how good your body starts to feel when you eat these foods.

Map your relationship with food and navigate carefully

Try and figure out when you find the need to eat i.e. Do you eat when you are happy or sad? This would make you an emotional eater. Do you eat because it is supposed to be mealtime – because you have always eaten lunch at 1pm? Do you eat because you are bored? In all these instances you can replace food with something else. Going for a walk or a run or chatting to a friend could release the same endorphins that a piece of cake will do - and it will have a much more lasting effect. Finding something to take your mind off of food is also an idea – this can be anything from painting to writing or building a puzzle.

Eat mindfully

By using healthy ingredients you will be less likely to binge eat because you will be eliminating the foods that cause cravings in the first place. Don’t wait until you are beyond hungry to eat because this will make you want to eat all the wrong things. Don’t feel like you need to eat everything on your plate; enjoy your food, taste every mouthful and eat until you are satisfied.

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