Have you ever reached for candy or a chocolate bar and then realized you weren’t even hungry?
It’s just a habit!
Breaking bad habits is difficult, but when it comes to healthy eating habits, it can feel even harder.
We can easily slip into old routines, whether it’s comfort eating or bad meal planning, and this can play a significant role in our weight loss journey.
That spur-of-the-moment snack can quickly add a ton of calories to your day, pushing you into a calorie surplus without thinking.
Breaking these bad habits can help you reach your weight loss goals, but how do you do this?
Sometimes it’s about setting new habits that lead you to the healthier choice more often than not.
Here are some tips for returning to the driving seat to ensure we don’t fall into unhealthy eating habits.
Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time.
Ultimately most of your healthy eating habits come down to planning - and a lack of planning can totally derail your efforts. Good eating habits don't happen overnight and require some thought.
When we don’t have time to think about what to eat, we are usually so hungry that we grab the nearest, most accessible and most tasty thing to hand. This is usually a high-calorie meal that you consume in a hurry.
Take twenty minutes each weekend to think about breakfast, lunch, dinner and healthy, low-calorie snacks for the week. Grab a menu board to write down what you intend to eat daily so you can see it in the kitchen.
And if you are feeling really motivated, you can even meal prep, so if you’re hungry mid-week, you don’t have to think about cooking.
Yes, life will get in the way sometimes and throw a spanner in the works, but if you try to stick to the plan whenever possible, you’ll be on the right track.
Never go shopping when you’re hungry!
Unhealthy foods can spur bad eating habits. If we’re talking about eating habits, then it’s probably a good idea to mention shopping habits too.
To eat healthier, we must ensure we put healthy foods in our baskets, not high-calorie foods.
We all know what happens when we haven’t eaten for a while, and we decide to go to our weekly shop. We overspend on high-calorie items because- oddly enough- we want to eat them right now.
Pick the right moment and try to take your shopping trip just after one of your main meals. You are more likely to choose the low-cal options, and a lack of high-calorie food in your household means a lack of temptation. Adopting healthy eating habits starts in the kitchen.
And…go with a plan. Don’t just aimlessly wander around and pick up whatever you fancy. Know what you need to make meals (from your planning session) and stick to that list.
Don’t skip breakfast
One of the biggest myths in dieting history is that if you skip a meal, you’ll miss the calories.
In theory, this makes perfect sense.
Of course, unless you have the most tremendous willpower in the world, you are highly likely to be extremely hungry and snack on other items before lunch to compensate.
Breakfast doesn’t mean a colossal fry-up. Try and include some protein and even some vegetables if you can; this will fill you up with healthy, nutritious and low-calorie food and keep you full til lunch.
Eat at a set time each day
This might be difficult for those who lead hectic lives, juggling kids, work, and trying to fit in our social life around it.
However, rather than put added pressure on yourself, try to see it as trying to eat meals at a specific time each day.
Try to eat breakfast within an hour of waking. Lunch should be around five hours later, and dinner four or five hours after lunch. Staggering your meals in this way helps ease the craving for snacking.
Healthy snacks are a lifesaver
Losing weight means avoiding the "bad stuff" more often than not. No, you don’t have to cut them out entirely, but you do have to choose health over comfort the majority of the time.
If you cannot work in front of a computer, watch TV or play video games without the need to snack simultaneously, go for the healthy options.
A healthy diet doesn't mean you can't snack. It means you must adopt new eating habits and eat more nutritious foods.
- Related content: 9 low-calorie snacks that are delicious and health
Be aware of what you’re eating and when
It’s so easy to multitask regarding food consumption, and eating on the go is something we tend to do without giving it a second thought.
Give it some thought and be aware of what you’re eating.
One trick, especially when it comes to high-calorie food, is to take a breath to ask yourself what effect eating this particular item will have on your physical health. Don’t be afraid to question yourself; after all it’s who you are doing this for.
Get plenty of sleep
You may not have seen this one coming, but never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.
Men and women who sleep five hours or less a night are more likely to gain weight than those who sleep seven hours or more. Try to make sure you are getting a decent slumber.
- Related content: Sleep hygiene, what is it and how to improve it
Watch how much you put on your plate
Yes, dinner time is the most exciting meal of the day for most, but you’re not looking to break a world record for how much you can fit on your plate at one time.
If you have trouble breaking this habit, try using a smaller plate. Psychologically, this is a neat trick and one that soon becomes the norm.
- Related content: Tips for better portion control
akeaways are treats
Weight loss isn’t all doom and gloom. Eating is one of life’s pleasures and doesn’t have to be taken away from you just because you want to lose weight.
If you are in the habit of ordering “way too much” each time you have a takeaway, try to take a step back and ask yourself what you would like and how much you need.
Sharing a meal with a family member is better than eating it all yourself, and you’ll be able to enjoy it without the guilt of feeling too full afterward.
Just don’t order out too often.
Look after your mental health
To change eating habits for weight loss, you must look at other health aspects. Mental and physical health go hand-in-hand, and your emotions play a big part in how you eat.
If you’re particularly sad, stressed or just over-emotional. Again, this is where healthy snacking options will come into play.
If you’ve been clever with your shopping and have low-calorie treats in your cupboard, and you’re unable to resist, this should help limit the damage.
Don’t eat so quickly
Your brain needs time to catch up with what’s happening in your stomach. Take your time and allow some downtime after eating to ensure you’re not packing too much food and aiding indigestion. And drink water with your meal, as this will help you feel fuller and will help slow down your eating pace.
Ready to form some healthy habits?
Being mindful of what you eat and how you eat is essential if you want to take control of your weight. Sensible planning and taking a little time out to watch exactly what you’re consuming will go a long way in helping you towards your goals.
Changing eating habits for weight loss might not be as complicated as you think.
We're looking for small, repeatable steps that can be sustained over a period of time. A small lifestyle change can go a long way, and it will be soon that you realize that small changes can go a long way.
With healthy food, healthy meals, and a closer look at your calorie intake, you'll soon be heading in the right direction toward a healthy weight.
If you want an extra boost, then you should check out some of the benefits of including PhenQ in your routine, alongside a healthy diet and exercise.