Changing bad eating habits is never an easy task. You may have had these bad habits all your life. Making the changes to eat better is many times overwhelming. Its hard to change something that you like to do–even if the changes are for the better.
Some people are able to make major nutritional changes “cold turkey.” Some need to take baby steps. And, some fall somewhere in between the two extremes. Without a good plan, you won’t be successful making long-term changes to your eating habits.
Here are 7 tips to improve your eating habits:
1. Add whole, natural foods to your menu that you like. You are more likely to stay with a menu loaded with foods you like. Find whole, natural foods that you like and replace the foods that are bad for you and add fat to your body.
Whole, natural foods have one ingredient, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. And, they are nutritional and low-calorie.
2. If you eat a “cheat food” one day, its not the end of the world. Just get back on your menu track right away. If you stay with your nutrition program 90% of the time, you will do just fine.
3. A good tactic to use: challenge your accountability partner to “eat-no-bad-food days.” That way, you keep each other in check. Never try to do an exercise and nutrition plan by yourself. Personal trainers, spouses and workout buddies are good accountability partners.
4. List in your food journal items you will not eat/or severely limit like: sodas, sugary fruit juice drinks, candy, cookies, donuts, fried meats and fried foods, fast foods, foods in a box/bag, ketchup, mayonnaise, etc.
5. Next to that “bad food list,” write down healthy food items you will replace them with like: oatmeal, almonds, walnuts, low-fat dairy products, low-fat yogurt, fruits, veggies, unsweetened tea, salad greens, water, lean meats (baked, broiled or grilled), olive oil, cinnamon, mustard, etc. Remember, make a list of foods you like. This replacement tactic works well.
6. Starvation tactics never work long-term. It just slows the fat-burning process.
Your body relies on the nutrients in food for fuel. When you starve yourself, it senses the downward shift in your caloric intake and kicks into starvation mode. When this happens, your metabolism will slow down and your body will hold on to stored fat in order to conserve energy.
Lean muscle mass needs more energy to function than fat. Basically, the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn. If you continue to starve yourself, your body will feed on your lean muscle tissue and make it even harder for you to lose weight.
The weight lost from starvation diets always comes back. As soon as you start eating regularly again, you’ll regain all of the weight you lost, plus a few extra pounds. In the end, you’ll wind up heavier than you were before you started starving.
7. You may need professional help with an eating disorder. Its no shame to seek help.
It’s not uncommon for extremely calorie-restrictive dieters to struggle with depression, anger, indifference, memory loss, poor concentration, hallucinations and mood swings. Starvation can also increase your chances of suffering with eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia.
Changing bad eating habits should be part of your overall healthy lifestyle changes. Don’t give up! Make improvements day to day.