Is a diet makeover on your 2015 resolution list? Here are 12 common bad eating habits and how you can resolve to change them!
For most people, the New Year is the time to make big plans – which often include eating better, losing weight and getting in shape. And while those are all great goals to have, the problem is that they’re not quite specific enough. It takes more than just deciding what you’re going to do to make yourself over this year - you also need to figure out how you’re going to do it.
Your New Year Diet Makeover Step by Step
The first step forward in your New Year makeover is to actually take a look back, and figure out what has interfered with your success in the past. I’ll bet you made some promises to yourself at the beginning of 2014 … so, ask yourself, how did it go? Did you make the progress you hoped you would make? Or did you start out strong – only to see your old habits sneaking back up on you?
If your 2014 resolution to get into shape didn’t go quite as well as you hoped, here’s some advice for 2015 – take some time to really think about the specific bad eating habits that you know are interfering with your progress, and then make a plan for how you’ll tackle them. And, don’t plan to tackle all of your bad habits at once. Trying to make too many changes at one time is usually very difficult to do – and it’s even harder to keep it going.
Instead, decide on one or two habits that you want to work on, and allow some time for those new habits to get established. Once they become a part of your regular routine, you can start working on the next habit you want to change.
Not everyone’s list of bad habits is the same, but most lists include some of the dozen I’ve listed below. These are some of the most common bad eating habits – with suggestions for ways to change them.
12 Bad Eating Habits – And How to Change Them For Good
You skip meals
Skipping meals rarely helps with weight loss. Most people simply make up for a skipped meal by eating more at other meals. Breakfast is the most frequently skipped meal – usually because people say they’re too busy in the morning, or they’re just not hungry. A simple remedy is to have something quick and light but satisfying – such as an Herbalife ® Formula 1 shake, some yogurt or cottage cheese with some fruit, or a hard-boiled egg and a piece of fruit. If you just can’t face food first thing in the morning, try easing into it. Sip on your shake throughout the morning, or have your cottage cheese, yogurt or egg first, and then eat your fruit and hour or so later.
You eat too much
Eating quickly, eating when distracted or stressed, or skipping meals and getting overly hungry – all can lead to overeating. But the amount you eat is really determined by the amount of food that’s on your plate, so that’s where portion control really begins. When you eat at home, serve yourself in the kitchen, rather than putting serving dishes on the table – it’s easier to resist second helpings that way. Start by putting about 20% less food on your plate than you normally would. It’s an easy way to cut out some calories without feeling deprived. Use smaller plates, or even a bowl, to help you control portion size. When you eat out, you can split an entrée with a dining partner and order extra salad and veggies, or ask that part of your meal be set aside to take home before it’s served to you. Sometimes you can make a meal out of a few appetizers – the portions are usually small – but choose carefully, because some appetizer foods are often very high in calories.
You eat too fast
When you eat quickly, it’s also easy to eat too much. Eating in courses is one way to slow your pace. Taking smaller bites helps, too. If you’re eating food that needs to be cut up – like a piece of meat or chicken – cut as you go. Practice putting your utensils down periodically during the meal, stop to sip on water, or simply take a little break. Work towards making your meal last for 15 or 20 minutes.
You eat too much sugar
Read nutrition labels carefully for sugar content and, rather than buying pre-sweetened items like cereals or yogurt, buy unsweetened versions and sweeten them yourself – you’ll probably use a lot less sugar than the food manufacturers do. Start a habit of having fresh fruit for dessert rather than other sweets, and turn to spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves to add a sweet flavor to foods. If you’re getting most of your sugar in liquid form, switch from sugary sodas and fruity drinks to flavorful teas, or sparkling water with a few chunks of fresh fruit added for flavor.
You eat too much fat
Deep-fried foods, fatty meats, snack foods, sauces, dressings, and many desserts can dump huge amounts of fat and calories into your system. Use lean cuts of meat, eat more fish and poultry, and experiment with recipes so you can find other ways to prepare foods other than frying. Use low fat versions of salad dressings, cheese, milk, yogurt, mayonnaise and salad dressings (Link to video of low fat salad dressings) and season your foods with herbs, spices, lemon, onion and garlic rather than relying on high fat sauces, gravies and butter. Instead of rich desserts, satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit or an occasional scoop of sorbet.
You don’t drink enough water
When you don’t take in enough liquid, it can make you tired and irritable, and it can affect your exercise performance, too. Keeping a water bottle nearby will encourage you to drink, and many people find that it helps if they keep track of their intake, too. Make a habit of drinking a glass of water as soon as you get up in the morning. If you don’t like plain water, try mineral water or tea, such as Herbalife® Herbal Tea concentrate.
You don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables
Fresh fruits and veggies are perishable, and they do require some preparation, which are two reasons people don’t eat them as often as they should. This is where your freezer can be your best friend – loose pack fruits are easy to add to protein shakes, yogurt or hot cereal, and frozen vegetables can be tossed into soups, stews, curries, omelets and stir-fries. To cut down on preparation time, look for prewashed leafy greens and pre-cut vegetables, and easy-to-eat bananas, apples, pears, baby carrots and cherry tomatoes. Supermarket salad bars often have raw veggies that are washed and cut – which means you just need to take them home and cook.
You snack on the wrong foods
Snacking, done right, can help you control your overall calorie intake for the day by helping to keep your hunger in check. But many snack foods are high in fat and sugar, and don’t offer enough protein to satisfy hunger. A healthy snack combines some carbohydrate – in the form of whole grains, fruits or vegetables – coupled with some low fat protein. For snack suggestions, check out these 25 snacks for 150 calories or less.
You eat when you’re stressed
Stress eating usually has nothing to do with hunger and, most of the time, it doesn’t really make you feel better. Start by keeping a diary and make note of what triggers your stress eating – that way you can anticipate when it’s likely to happen. It’s important to find other ways to calm yourself – some deep breathing, drinking a cup of herbal tea, giving yourself a foot massage or taking a mind-clearing walk can all help.
You eat nearly every meal out
The more you eat out, the less control you have – portions are often larger than you need, foods might contain more fat, sugar and calories than you want, and servers typically try to ‘upsell’ and get you to order more than you want or need. Stick to your general eating plan and order accordingly. If you normally eat a salad with some protein for lunch, don’t even think about a sandwich or pasta. Some restaurants posts their calorie counts online – get familiar with them and decide ahead of time what you’ll have. Always get sauces and dressings on the side so you control the amount that you use. If your meal consists of meat, starch and vegetable, ask for double vegetables and skip the starch. And, start thinking about packing your own lunch or making dinner at home one or two nights per week.
You don’t read the nutrition facts
If you look at a food package, but don’t really study the nutrition facts panel, you may not always be making the best choice. The front of the package might tell you a food is “made with whole grain” or “low fat” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for you, or that it’s low in calories. Learn your way around the nutrition facts panel, and know that all the nutrition information that’s given is for a single serving – not the entire package. A cookie that’s low in fat might have a lot more sugar than its full-fat cousin – which means the low fat version may not save you many calories.
You don’t have a plan
Having a plan doesn’t necessarily mean that you know exactly what you’re going to eat at every meal or snack. But it does mean that you have a general idea of how your calories are distributed over the day, and what foods can be plugged into your plan to create a variety of meals. Meal plans are a huge help in keeping you on track because once you’ve got a plan in mind, you’re a bit more committed. Take a little extra time on the weekend to plan out both your meals and your shopping list for the week, or take a look at my meal plans for various calorie levels to get you started.
Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.
Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com