Having a hard time resisting a bag of potato chips even if you had your lunch 5 minutes ago?
Do you feel the urge to get up in the middle of the night and have a piece of chocolate cake?
Do you skip meals only to go on an unnecessary eating spree to satisfy your hunger?
Most of us are guilty of having unhealthy eating habits.
Though our body is like a machine that needs fuel in order to work, it is important that we feed it with good quality fuel.
Having unhealthy eating habits has consequences and negative effects on our body, both short-term and long-term.
It can lead to:
- Nutrient deficiency
- Excessive weight gain
- Chronic diseases
- Cardiovascular disease
- Even cancer
It can also help increase your risk of developing health problems such as type2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and even gynecological problems such as infertility.
It’s time to kick your unhealthy eating habits to the curb. It may not be easy, but with these 5 tips, it will be possible.
5 tips to help your beat your unhealthy eating habits:
1. Reprogram your brain and change bad habits
Do your eyes light up when you see a picture of a juicy cheeseburger?
The culprit of this reaction is dopamine, a chemical in our brain that regulates the pleasure center. Somehow, it’s responsible for our loss of control over food, or other unhealthy habits, as it associates a feeling of happiness or pleasure.
Practicing mindfulness helps in the activation of prefrontal cortex and cooling down of the amygdala. This gives us space between the stimulus and response. When you see food as your stimulus, you will have the control of your response. Having the ability to think first before grabbing something unhealthy will eventually change your bad eating habits.
2. Make healthy food your treat
Do you indulge yourself with some ice cream after a hard day at work? Do you get that double cheeseburger for completing that task in a short period of time?
Most of us often associate rewards or treat with high-calorie food such as pizza, potato chips, cake, ice cream, etc. While it’s okay to treat yourself from time to time and indulge your cravings, associating these types of foods for every treat will form a bad eating habit. It won’t be a surprise that you would consume a whole pint of ice cream when you’re depressed or stressed so that you will feel better.
Since reward is crucial in every endeavor, swap your treats out with healthy food instead. If you feel down, instead of grabbing some unhealthy food, grab a healthy yogurt or a bowl of salad instead. In no time, you will not only feel good emotionally, but you will also feel great within your body. Check out some healthy snacks that are good to keep in your kitchen. Snack Foods That are healthier and tastier than store bought! or Nuts-and-seed-your-way-to-health!
3. Break your routine
In order to break your bad eating habits, you have to go down to its root first and recognize what type of eater you are and why you resort to this action.
If you are a mindless muncher, the one that mindlessly puts food in their mouth while watching television or playing on your mobile phone, identify what triggers this behavior. Make a constant effort to stop this behavior by removing all the distractions. Focus on your food and enjoy every bite until you are already full.
If you eat your way out of a bad mood, food may offer an immediate solution to turn your mood around, but it has a negative effect in the long run. Instead of grabbing something to eat when you’re bored, mad or depressed, deviate your attention to other things that make you feel better. Working out on an elliptical trainer will not only make you feel good afterward, it will also help you sweat out and burn more calories.
4. Keep the healthy stuff handy
It’s hard to resist a bag of potato chips when it’s conveniently within your reach, isn’t it?
It’s hard to say no to soda when you just have to open your refrigerator and there it is, isn’t it?
When unhealthy foods are everywhere, it’s hard to say no. Having them available will make it hard for you to break your unhealthy eating habits.
5. Pick something that is right for you
You are the captain of your own body. Knowing what’s good and bad for your body should lead you to your decisions and actions.
Same thing with the food that you select. Before putting it into your mouth, ask yourself first: Will this food give me the vitamins and nutrients that I need? Will this food not only appease my hunger but give me other health benefits as well? Does this food contain ingredients that will harm my body?
Habits, whatever type or forms they are in, start with a conscious decision. Decide to start eating healthy today.
Next time you go to the grocery stores, cross these foods off of your shopping list. Replace them with healthy alternatives instead such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, cereals, lean meat, etc. Start shopping at farmers markets and buy local and/or organically grown foods.
When you’re hungry and all of the food inside your kitchen or refrigerator are healthy foods, you would instantly reach out for that food. You wouldn’t go through the trouble of leaving your apartment for some pizza when there are fruits and vegetables available to silence your growling stomach.
We should always be mindful of the things that we put in our body. Start beating your unhealthy eating habits now for a healthier and happier you.
Do you have any suggestions or tips that helped you change bad eating habits?
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