& 3 Healthy Eating Habits that Will Help Get You in Shape
By Nina Simons
In this day and age, it seems like we are always in a hurry. Whether we are rushing to our jobs, taking care of the kids, or generally feel overwhelmed with all our obligations, we often cannot find time for ourselves. Unfortunately, this hectic lifestyle leads to plenty of bad habits. Some take up smoking as a coping mechanism, others neglect exercise or taking care of their mental health, while there are also those that develop bad eating habits.
Sure, sometimes we simply don’t have time to sit down and have a proper, healthy meal. But, if this turns to an everyday thing, it can have detrimental consequences for our wellbeing. However, it’s never too late to turn things around. To help you out, we made a list of bad eating habits many of us develop and tips that should help you get rid of them as well as healthy habits that you should rely on to get in shape. Take a look below.
What are the bad eating habits to look out for and how can you get rid of them?
Unfortunately, it often happens that people are not aware of a certain bad habit that they’ve developed until they notice it affecting their life. It could be impacting your health by making you more fatigued or sick more easily; you could be losing weight rapidly or gaining extra pounds; maybe you are not getting enough sleep. All of these examples could be the result of bad eating habits.
Now, it’s time to learn to recognize these and do something about them. If you notice any of these in your daily routine, start taking steps toward improving and kicking these habits to the curb.
You skip meals
Perhaps you skip breakfast because you have a hard time getting up in the morning and after hitting snooze for the fifth time, you have to rush to your job. Maybe you’re in a hurry to finish an assignment or have a meeting that extends to your lunch hour and you choose to not have lunch to get everything done. On the other hand, maybe you get home too late, you’re too tired and decide to go straight to bed without having dinner. Various scenarios can lead to skipping meals, even if you don’t plan on that happening. However, that can lead to exhaustion, headaches, and various other issues during the day.
So, if you notice this happening often, you need to start preparing for your day in advance. For example, if you know that you like to sleep in and have to get to the office in a hurry, prepare your breakfast the evening before. From keeping prepared meals like a quesadilla in the freezer to leaving oats in the fridge overnight all the way to having a simple granola bar to eat during your commute, your options are countless. The same goes for lunch. Dedicate one day of the week to food prep and make enough meals to last you the whole week. Any leftovers can be your dinner. Set a reminder on your phone so that you don’t skip any meals – just 15 minutes a day can be enough to sit down and enjoy your food.
You eat straight from the bag or box
This might not seem like a big deal but how many times have you caught yourself eating cereal or crackers directly from the box and finishing it before you knew it? How about dipping your hand into a bag and snacking on chips or chocolate pieces? When the entire bag or box is in front of you, you will keep eating even though you are full.
You don’t want this, so check the nutrition label and take out a single-serving portion. That way, you will eat less as you are less likely to get up and get more food. Whenever you buy food in bulk, you should divide it into single-serving containers and then put it away in the pantry or fridge.
You are an emotional eater
Some people reach for food when they are in need of comfort. For example, if they’ve experienced a bad breakup, someone in their family died, or they lost their job. Then, stress and anxiety can also lead to turning to food as a coping mechanism. However, emotional eating is not always associated with negative feelings. People also eat to celebrate financial gain, a birth or wedding in the family, and so on. What is more, boredom is another common issue people deal with by finding a snack. On the other hand, there are also those people who tend to avoid food when stressed out, whether because they feel physically sick and cannot eat or because they are too preoccupied and completely forget about food.
If you’ve recognized your behavior in any of these scenarios, know that there are things you can do to prevent this from affecting your wellbeing. For example, look for recipes that will help you avoid stress eating. Then, try to stock up your home with healthy snacks and don’t buy unhealthy food that will only make you feel worse. Don’t allow yourself to order in or go to the store to get high-fat and high-sugar foods. If you are one of those individuals that can’t eat when stressed, set a reminder for yourself and eat the bare minimum that your body needs to keep on going. It might be tough but you have to do it for yourself.
You get distracted when eating
There are many ways how you can get distracted when eating. For instance, maybe you’re rushing to get your tasks done or you have to go somewhere, so you just want to be done with your meal. On the other hand, maybe you’re watching a TV show or are scrolling your social media feeds and not really paying attention to what you are eating and how much. This kind of behavior often leads to overeating and choosing food that is quick and convenient and not that healthy.
As this can interfere with your weight loss journey or result in you gaining some unwanted extra pounds, you want to look for a way to prevent distracted eating from becoming a habit. Therefore, start paying attention to what you are eating and be mindful of each bite you take. Take in its smell, taste, and texture. Chew every bite thoroughly and really focus on the meal. Set the table and plate your food – avoid eating from the container the food came in. Furthermore, don’t eat in front of the TV and put your phone away.
You rely on ordering in
Regardless of whether you order lunch when you’re at work or dinner when at home, it can easily become a bad habit. With so many food delivery options available, it’s often more practical to order in than spend hours on meal prep. What is more, many of these food choices are full of fat and calories and come in large sizes.
Instead of ordering pizza and fast food all the time, consider not leaving preparing your food to the last minute. By dedicating one day per week to meal prep, as we said earlier, you can ensure you always have food at home that will be much healthier and ready to be eaten in no time. Alternatively, when you have no other option but to order in, opt for places that deliver healthy dishes. Luckily, there are more and more food delivery service companies that offer meals that are good for our wellbeing.
You might be drinking your calories
Another habit we often develop without realizing how bad it can be is opting for various drinks throughout the day that have more sugar and fat than we might think. For instance, frothy cappuccinos and flavored lattes are the go-to order of many people but drinks in coffee shops often contain more fat, sugar, and calories than entire meals. Plus, a soda for lunch and a glass of wine for dinner keep adding to the daily calorie intake.
To prevent this, you should check out the nutrition label for a drink before consuming it. Other than swapping soda for water and limiting your wine intake, you can also find low-calorie coffee alternatives, such as a small skim cappuccino.
Which healthy eating habits can you adopt to get in shape?
After you’ve noticed some of the bad eating habits you might have unconsciously picked up, you can start working on yourself. Soon enough, you’ll take our tips into account and they’ll turn into good habits. So, what are some other habits you can adopt that will get you in shape? Keep reading.
Come up with an eating schedule
We mentioned setting reminders on your phone so that you remember to eat. However, by working out an eating schedule that you will follow, you will never have to miss a meal. You should have at least three meals a day but it’s also recommended to add a few healthy snacks to your day. For instance, take a quick break from work to have a granola bar. On the other hand, you can also opt for a quality pre-workout blend and drink a shake before your daily workout. You can even have a light snack before going to bed. While this many meals a day might sound like a lot, portion control is vital so that you don’t overeat.
Learn more about the foods you need to eat
In case you have a goal when it comes to weight loss, it’s for the best to consult with a nutritionist who can give you specific details in terms of the foods you need according to your age, height, weight, and level of physical activity. They can also help you create a meal plan that you can follow. On the other hand, you can start planning your own meals by learning more about the foods you eat. Sure, you might not have a lot of free time but try to dedicate some to studying the nutritional values of the foods you choose for your meals. That way, you will know what foods contain and what to avoid. Moreover, you will also know how to portion your meals and prevent overeating. By calculating how many calories you need per day, you can divide them up into five or six meals that you will eat throughout the day.
Keep a food journal
Something that can help you keep track of all the calories you intake on a daily basis is having a food journal. List everything you eat and drink during the day. You can measure it in weight, volume, or number of items. Be as specific as possible when it comes to what you’ve consumed and the time of day. Other things to keep track of include who you were with when eating, what else you were doing, and how you were feeling. All of these details are important as they can help you (and potentially your doctor) figure out if you have some triggers that lead to eating. You will see whether you ate because you were bored or stressed out. You will see whether watching TV distracted you so that you ate more than you needed. What is more, while some people use yoga to recover from eating disorders, some people turn to food journals, so you can try it too.
Sometimes we develop habits without even realizing; however, when we do notice them and acknowledge they are bad for our health, it’s vital that we take the necessary steps to stop them from ruining our wellbeing. If your bad eating habits include any of the aforementioned, do your best to follow our tips and implement better practices so that you can be in shape and live your life to the fullest.