10 Tips on how to change unhealthy eating habits
We are, by nature, creatures of habit and we easily get into set routines, set ways and, once something has become a habit, it can be a difficult thing to change. We know all about habits like biting our nails, fiddling with our hair or even smoking, but did you know that you can get into the habit of eating the wrong food, as well? Buying the same food, every week, is a natural habit to get into, even when that food is not good for you; it just becomes a habit that you really should break. Like all bad habits, an unhealthy eating habit can take a bit of effort to break, so here are ten tips on on how to change unhealthy eating habits:
1. Recognize that you have a bad food habit
Step one in breaking any habit is admitting that you have one. We don’t even think about habits and are, more often than not, completely unaware that we have them, so recognizing that you are regularly eating the wrong kind of foods and admitting to yourself that you are doing it, is the first step towards breaking that habit and start leading a healthier lifestyle.
2. Find the motivation
The next step is to find the motivation to break your habit, and that might not be the motivation that you expect. A smoker cannot be unaware that smoking is damaging their health, yet the motivation for smokers to stop is often not health, but their children or their friends. The motivation to eat more healthily can vary from person to person too. It could be to lose weight but, it could also be to become more active, to be able to walk upstairs, without becoming out of breath, or to take up a new sport or pastime. You just have to find the motivation that works for you.
3. Make a list of the benefits
Sit down and think hard about all the things that could be better, if you followed a better diet and make them personal to you. Instead of just writing down ‘I want to get fitter’, try writing something that is meaningful to you such as: ‘I’d like be able to play ball with my children.’
4. Take things one step at a time
Once you have decided that you want to change and you know why you want to change, you are ready to begin to take the steps and make that change. You don’t need to cut out all your bad eating habits in one go though; you are far more likely to succeed, if you do things one step at a time. If candy bars are your biggest problem, for example, then try cutting down, before you try cutting out.
5. Write down everything you eat
A good way to track what you eat is by writing everything down. It seems like a laborious task, but keeping a track will help you to monitor your progress and also, you might be shocked by exactly what you’re eating every day.
6. Substitute other things for food
If you always eat at certain points in the day, then try and replace the eating with another activity. We often eat, simply out of boredom, so taking up a hobby or an interest that will occupy your mind and your hands will take away the temptation to eat.
7. Change your routine
Changing your routine can help break bad eating habits too. If you always sit down in front of the TV after dinner and open a bar of chocolate, then try going for a walk instead. Try and isolate the times, when you are most likely to eat out of habit and do something different instead.
8. Find healthy alternatives
Replace some of the unhealthy foods that you eat during the day with something that’s good for you. You might find it hard to stop eating altogether at certain times during the day, so reach for some nuts, fruit or raw vegetables instead of candy or chocolate. It will be easier substituting that it will be to eat nothing at all.
9. Don’t give up, keep on moving
It won’t all be plain sailing and there will be slips. If you do slip up and give in into temptation, you haven’t failed; it’s just a minor setback. Don’t give up if it doesn’t work the first time, because breaking any habit is hard work, so expect some disappoints along the way. It’s OK to have a few failures along the way, as long as you keep on moving toward your goals.
10. Take it one day at a time
Try not thinking that you’ll never eat a candy bar again; just concentrate on not eating one today. The phrase like ‘never again’, can become a huge, unclimbable mountain in your mind, whereas just for today seems perfectly achievable.
Do you have some other tips on how to change unhealthy eating habits? Please feel free to share your healthy eating tips in the comment section below.
Stay happy and healthy!