Investing in our health and wellness starts with our eating habits! Developing a good eating habit takes time and a lot of self-discipline but when we are able to accomplish it, the rest of our health goals become more manageable and attainable. Below are a few Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to developing a good eating habit.
Keep track of your eating habits
A couple of years ago, anyone who claims to be tracking what they eat would have been labeled as obsessive or someone with an eating disorder. Today, it’s a sensible thing to do if you want to live a healthier life. A food journal is just what you need to see good and bad eating patterns in your day-to-day meals. Think of it like keeping track of what you work on in the gym. Knowing the kinds of work out and exercise you do will allow you to see which muscle group you are overworking and then compensate.
Drink plenty of water
Water is an absolute must in any good healthy diet, not sodas, not juices, and not coffee. When you pair meals with water, it helps with digestion. You are able to chew your food more effectively and swallowing is a lot easier with water. Not only that, water is crucial for the body. Our cells need water in order to effectively function. Water is also used in regulating our body temperature. And water is needed to help flush out wastes and toxins that the body accumulates.
Eat at specific settings only
in our modern times with so many distractions, our mealtime is often done in front of a screen or the TV. We consider meals to be our downtime and so we also spend that time catching up on social media or maybe a few episodes of our favorite show. But this is the exact reason why many people develop such bad eating habits. Mealtime should be spent focusing on the food, appreciating its taste, texture, even smell. When we eat without distractions, we avoid overeating and we feel more satiated.
Watch your portion size
Sometimes, when we’ve had an especially stressful day or an intense workout, our immediate thought is to make up for it by eating a lot. However, we should try to fight this instinct as it is one reason why we tend to overeat. When you notice that you are especially hungry and about to eat. Give your stomach time to settle by drinking a glass of water. And when you start eating, try to eat slowly, giving your brain enough time to receive signals from the stomach that it’s already full. You avoid overeating and you’re not wasting leftover food.
Eat home-cooked as much as possible
Compared to takeout or fast food, a home-cooked meal is much preferable especially as part of your daily meal. It has fewer preservatives and more nutritious especially if you prepared it yourself. Preparing meals from home is also a good way to monitor what ingredients you are including, substituting unhealthy ones with more nutritious ingredients. Not only that, but home-cooked meals also save you money.
When we try to lose weight or at least control what we eat, we think that one way to do that would be to skip meals, especially breakfast. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Our body has evolved to protect itself against natural disasters such as famine. The moment we skip meals, it triggers our body to go into famine mode which means it will go into overdrive. You will notice you crave more food, specifically food that are high in calorie. This is the body’s way of preparing itself for lean times when food is scarce.
Eat too much sweet food/snacks
For thousands of years, as humans evolved, sweet foods were considered a luxury and only very rarely eaten. So when early humans encounter them, such as a fruit-bearing tree with ripe fruits, it is natural to eat as much as we can of it seeing as we might not get the chance for a long time. However, the modern age has afforded us easy access to such high-calorie food. However, our instinct to indulge is still there. Eating too much of it is one reason why obesity numbers are on the rise in almost every corner of the world.
Eat before going to bed
After a meal, it takes a couple of hours for the meal to be digested and broken down into smaller compounds. This is one reason why our blood sugar level increases a couple of hours after eating. When we eat right before going to bed, the sugar in our blood has nowhere to go since we are sedentary and not expending as much energy. So the body stores it as fats.
Be too strict with your food
While indulging in sweet and salty food is not ideal, it’s best for our morale and mental state when we allow ourselves to eat such food every once in a while. Becoming too strict with what you allow yourself to eat will not only make you miserable in the long run but you can develop an unhealthy eating habit down the road. Be kind to yourself especially if you’ve been eating healthy consistently and exercising regularly. A slice of pizza or a burger at your local fast food chain Montana once in a while is not going to undo all the hard work you’ve been doing.
Focus too much on weight
Being too focused on weight as a standard for health is not good practice. It’s like saying intelligence is only measured by how many books you can read in a month. Being healthy is more than just how much you weigh. It involves a lot of things such as optimal body function, strength, flexibility, and most of all mental state. While it is good practice to weigh yourself, only do it once or twice a month and use that number as only one factor towards your health goals.