How to Kick Your Bad Eating Habits

bad eating habitsYou get your strength training and plenty of cardio. But maybe your weight loss has hit a plateau, or it’s not progressing as quickly as you expected. Why not? Perhaps because you haven’t changed your eating habits! After all, getting plenty of exercise is only one half of the weight-loss equation. Your diet plays a significant role in both your weight loss and your overall health.

But we all know this already—so why is it so difficult for us to make the right decisions about what we eat? We might say we’re too busy or too stressed, but the real reason is that we’ve gotten into unhealthy habits. Just like biting your nails or leaving the toilet seat up are troublesome habits to break, so are the patterns we create around food. And these patterns are even tougher to break because most of us have some emotional connection to our food.

If you’re thinking it’s time to rethink your eating habits, follow a few simple steps to ensure your success.

  1. Assess your diet—honestly. The first step in overcoming your bad habits is to figure out exactly what those habits are! Keep track of what you eat for a few weeks. A food journal is a handy tool for recording and reflecting on your dietary choices. After a couple weeks, take a look at what you’ve been eating. Identify patterns in what you eat—and when. Your habits may be tied to eating certain foods at specific times, such as chowing down on chips late at night, or hitting the drive thru for a burger on your busy nights.
  1. Figure out the “why” behind your food choices. Knowing why we eat what we do is even more important than knowing what we eat. You may discover that you always overeat on days when you’re stressed at work. Or that you “reward” yourself with extra dessert on gym days. Often our eating habits are tied to our emotions, and uncovering these connections is the secret to changing your habits. Awareness makes you better able to recognize decisions as you make them.
  1. Make realistic changes. As you revamp your diet, be reasonable with yourself. Make changes that you can actually sustain over the long term. Resolve to change one habit at a time. And you don’t always have to take something away; your new habit could be adding a fruit or vegetable to each meal. Ultimately you’ll feel more satisfied and less resentful, so you’ll be more likely to stick with your new eating habits over time.

Your diet plays a critical role not only in your weight loss, but also in your overall health. Breaking your bad eating habits means gaining more energy, improving your heart, and even sleeping better.

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