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Habits are tough to break. That can be so deeply ingrained to your subconscious that you may not even be aware that you are participating. But these may also be the very habits that are keeping you from reaching your weight loss goals. Studies say it takes about 21 days to create a new habit or to break an old one. So let’s start today!
The first step to breaking these habits is to realize that they are even occurring. It is a great idea to keep a food journal for a week or so and write down everything that you are eating. And then record when and where you are eating. From the tiniest bite in the morning to the midnight snack attack, write it all down and then review your journal at the end of the week. You may be shocked at how much you are consuming. Not only that but where and when you are eating can also make a big difference. Do you recognize any of the following bad habits in your food journal?
1. Eating in front of the TV: When we are multi-tasking, we may not even be consciously aware that we are eating at all, let alone what it even tastes like. Have you ever been watching TV while you eat dinner and look down and see that your plate is empty but you don’t remember eating everything? Make a conscious effort to sit down at the kitchen or dining room table to consume your meals. This works great to get the whole family together and talking.
2. Eating out of the bag: When you are eating out of a bag it is super easy to lose track of the portion size you are consuming. There is more in the bag and so you reach for more and more and more. Pretty soon the bag is empty. Has that happened to you? Check the bag for the estimated portion size and measure it out in a bowl or plate. Then you have a definite visual of when you should STOP eating.
3. Snacking right before bedtime: You should try to refrain from eating anything about 3-4 hours before you go to bed. The reason for this is that your body is working hard at digesting during the waking hours but when you go to sleep, the digestive system slows down considerably. This is also the reason why it is recommended that you eat your bigger meals in the beginning of the day. This gives your body more time to digest everything efficiently.
4. Eating out: Although convenient, eating out can be very tricky. The portion sizes at restaurants are typically double the size you should be eating. Besides, the person preparing the meal has no idea whether you are a five foot female or a 200 pound male bodybuilder. Both get the same portion size. When you cook at home, you are in total control of not only portion size but the amount and type of ingredients you use. Plus it’s more economical to eat at home.
5. Eating sugary foods at breakfast: Starting your day out with a sugar-high is a big mistake. This sets up a chain reaction that makes your body crave the sweet stuff all day. And this will be hard to resist. Don’t make it so hard on yourself. Instead, indulge in a yogurt parfait made with granola, yogurt, and fresh fruit. Make a vegetable omelette or a hearty bowl of oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts. See if you can reduce or eliminate the amount of sugar that you include in your coffee. A simple substitution will save you lots of empty calories as well as set you up for healthy eating for the rest of the day.
Try to break these habits one at a time. Be patient and soon your bad habit will be a thing of the past and you will be enjoying a more healthy lifestyle of eating.
write by Adrianne Bartrum